Alix Perez isn’t interested in the past. He constantly looks for ways to move forward – to explore new sonic territory, new ideas, new approaches. His Keep Hush showed that. 1985 Music is the testing ground for these new ideas, and their third compilation is their most diverse yet.
It has tempos you don’t expect, for one. Alix’s recent contributions at 140bpm on the Last Rites EP were some of my most memorable dubstep moments of 2019, and the handful of dubby cuts here represent emerging talents from that lane fully.
Drone knocks it out of the park for Bristol as usual on Blood Orange, pulsating, aggy bass propelled forward by rolling hats and snapping claps. There’s Lordel’s Relic, a two-note synth fluttering in the background growing into an angry snarl before sliding to nostalgic, rolling breaks. From international boarders, Cesco’s Bomba slaps into another dimension with a wubbing stomper of a melody, and over in Minneapolis, Ternion Sound emphasise the dub, delayed snares abound on Look No Further. They’re excellent demonstrations of ‘less is more’.
The other cuts are the dark, techy DnB angles that 1985 are known for. Funk drips off Alix’s Black Spirit, rim shots skipping around an unpredictable bassline at the heart. Bredren keeps things insanely stripped back on Only One, occasional percussion snaps and haunting vocals surrounding a monster, squelching bass. Lock Off closes it on a massive, bombastic banger note.
Then the piano appears. Guitar twangs and smooth licks slip their way in. They call and respond over crisp snares and buzzing bass on Machinedrum’s Braided Leaves. Autotuned vocals join the fray near the end for a halftime, Thundercat-like breakdown as the song fades out. It’s such an unexpectedly uplifting, soulful breath of fresh air that doesn’t sound like anything else 1985 have put out before. If Roy Ayers made a DnB collab, he might have made this.
Vol 3 is 1985 Music cementing their legacy as trendsetters of DnB’s future. Here’s to the next chapter.