Now if you’re like me and been buying dnb for years you will know Phantom Audio have been around for an age. Their first release was a track called Phantom Force, and this well and truly put Phantom Audio (Digital & Spirit) – the artists and label – on the map… not bad for a first release! Fast forward to the present day, Phantom Audio the label has had a bit of a resurgence). With Label owners Digital and Spirit being so prolific with their solo projects they have teamed up again for their new Vision EP on Phantom Audio.With Digital and Spirit’s collaborations you know you will be getting reggae influenced, sub heavy drum and bass, tracks that nod back to the 90’s dark dnb sound.
The title track “Vision” starts off with a sound which is reminiscent of the Sonar VIP by Ed Rush and Optical then a distinctive string riff feeds in with a white noise riser cutting in and out. Some 2 stepish drums kick in after 32 bars accompanied with a deep and mid range bass riff to keep the intro going towards the drop; everything then cuts out leaving the bass to pump through on its own. You can hear the modulation and effects passing in and out of the riff to keep the listener interested and on their toes until the drums come back in heavier on the drop. This track wouldn’t have gone amiss being played at the legendary Metalheadz nights at the Blue Note and Hanover Grand. Vision has elements of Photek, Ed Rush & Optical, Boymerang, MetalHeadz and 90’s drum and bass with that Phantom Audio Sound that makes you feel sightly nostalgic.
Track B, entitled Heaven, carries on that nostalgic vibe, with the sound pallet taken from 90’s drum and bass. We open with dreamy pads and atmospheres that hark back to those early Metalheadz releases. This time there is a classic drum break serving as the backbone of the track (think Champion Sound to get an idea about the break) with a cheeky recognisable vocal sample thrown in for good measure. The bass riff that comes in on the drop is devastating: a mixture of modulated, filtered reece and classic 808 sub do the damage.This will definitely get the rewind on the dance floor. As the breaks and bass move the track along to the middle break your ears pick up the classic chopped up “Hoover” (Mentasm) sample giving it that rave feel.
Next up we have Square One. This starts off with a futuristic sci-fi pad and atmosphere, then the trademark Phantom Audio chopped up stuttering breaks come in building nicely into the drop. This quite reminds me of an early Phantom Audio classic – Remote Control; nice thumping and deep subby bass with a few classic breaks chopped and mangled into something quite devastating. The “Amen Break” runs this after the second drop. Classic vibes in this track – it wouldn’t sound out of place in 2001 and definitely doesn’t sound out of place here and now!
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Lastly we have a dubbed out affair in Stage Fright.
This track could easily be mistaken for an Exit release, a slight break (no pun intended) from the relentless vibe the the EP has show so far. In Stage Fright the kick drum and filtered Reece bass run things. It’s got a minimal feel to it, but does have drums and percussion that wouldn’t be amiss on your tearout tracks; because how the hats and breaks have been used they are not on the forefront to drive this track along. That job belongs to the kick and bass.
So there you have it. The first Phantom Audio EP in what seems like years, and it was worth the wait. We here at In-Reach cannot wait on what else will be coming out from these guys in the near future.
While we are at it, look out for Digital’s new project “Trident Code” which has already released one EP on his label Function Records. Trident Code consists of Digital, Horrific James (Horrific Recordings) and Flava (RudeFM.com).
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