Ahead of the seventh edition of Bass Coast festival, THUMP is thrilled to premiere the inaugural Sub|div Selects EP. Before their local headlining sets at the fest in two weeks, survey these deep dancefloor dynamics from west coast producers who for over half a decade have anchored programming of the coast's flagship festival and the Victoria-based Subdivision crew's legendary club events. As the first of three compilations slated for release this summer from the new imprint, this four-track collection features fresh offerings from Sub|division crew helmsman Chris Long aka Monolithium alongside his Modern Math label-mates Sergio Levels and Michael Red, and Red's fellow Lighta! Crew brethren Daega Sound, Max Ulis and Self Evident.
Lead track "TJ" by Max Ulis and Sergio Levels starts with a soulful vocal house vibe. From there the track progresses into a driving percussive acid techno heater that picks up right where Sergio Levels (aka Sandro Petrillo, freshly relocated to Toronto from Calgary) left off in his recent remix of Isis Graham's "That Thang" on Substation Recordings. Here, the two producers' mutual affinity has yielded a seven-minute gem of a track sure to find a home in the crates and playlists of house and techno lovers alike.
Monolithium's tune "Conundrum" is a heady futuristic brew of classic '90s IDM sensibilities, with melancholy rave melodies washing over crisply cut and spacious breakbeats. Originally released on Modern Math in 2014, his aggressive techno track "Tantrumm VIP" gets a fierce instrumental grime reworking for 2015, from Max Ulis' sibling Ben Ulis aka Self Evident. In a blind listening test, those unfamiliar with the Dipped Recordings label head and resident of the Shockout! grime-dancehall events at Vancouver's Fox Cabaret, would be forgiven for thinking this sound is coming from an urban UK producer.
If "Tantrumm VIP" is a surprisingly harsh dystopian vision to come from such peaceful shores in BC, "Diver Down" is a deep dubstep match made in Sunshine Coast heaven. This stretch of steeply forested shore north of Vancouver is also home to both Michael Red and sibling co-producers Ben and Josh Searles aka Daega Sound, who collaborate well in representing a regional sound that evokes both the wet intimacy of the coast and the massive expansiveness of its mountainous shores. The outcome is less jazzily meandering than many Daega originals and less obscure than Red's recent solo output. As a result, this pairing traverses a more straightforward propulsive deep dubstep common ground that's a good entry point for unfamiliar listeners, and sure to please Lighta! Crew's seasoned fans alike.
"We have been as much about Lighta! as we are about showcasing Victoria's local talent," Long tells THUMP, "and in tandem with that, we share a kindred philosophy of sound with the Bass Coast community."
The connections do run deep. Bass Coast has hosted performances by both Sub|division founders Monolithium and Rhythmicon, and released a lovely treatment of Natasha Kmeto's "Deeply" by Rhythmicon and Atma on the festival's debut remix album in summer 2014. Sub|vision has hosted Bass Coast's Lighta! Crew headliners for club shows in Victoria over 15 times in the past five years. In that span, Sub|div has grown to an expanded membership including local talents En Noir, Transient, EMPlicit, Pax, Letr B, Jacques Porveau and Natron. "We've been blessed to be surrounded by people who are on the same wavelength. The current crew is large and thriving," says Long.