No matter what your taste is in the D&B spectrum; liquid, neuro, jump up, experimental, et cetera, you just cannot beat Enei’s beats. His kicks are upsettingly clean, tempos perfectly spaced and his snares…well let’s just say they’re of the caliber that, upon hearing them, frustrated producers make and post memes about “garbage” snares on Facebook. Get ready for more of that on his new Sinking EP, out today on Critical, but with this release there’s even more to be astounded by/jealous of.
It’s one thing to know Enei will deliver excellent quality in his beats and snares but anyone who thinks they’ve come to expect a certain musical style from Enei will have to reconcile the crazy diversity in this EP. This is not your “typical” Enei, for those who’ve deigned to think there’s anything typical about him. With Sinking, he goes from foghorn to minimal to experimental to melodic and back again in just four tracks and he makes it seem like it’s just that simple.
The title track opens with a swell of amens and then launches into a phantom hardcore beat and a head-spinning buildup before dropping into a surprisingly neuro-and-foghorn-tinged stepper. Parts of this track are what some may think is classic Enei once it gets going: minimal, snappy beat, dark ambient synths and an eerie vocal sample but that intro and buildup put together with Enei’s usual madness “sinks” this track into a very different category. The track itself will probably be overshadowed by the heavy, Saw-meets-Dexter video he released today along with the EP but it’s definitely still musically notable.
With the title of “Ghost Boat,” fans might think the second track will have more foghorn fun but Enei surprises once again with a jazzy darkstep stinker, borrowing synths from early dark and techstep and leading the track with his extraordinary snares. Skanking may now commence in earnest.
The biggest surprise of the EP is the sensual, R&B-tinged and melodic “Get Closer” featuring Charli Brix. This track is composed like a pop track to highlight Brix’s beautiful vocals but to say it’s a typical liquid or pop D&B track is shortsighted. “Get Closer” again takes inspiration from the snare-heavy, pre-liquid tracks of the late 90s to create something that’s steppy but still very complex and interesting. Check the sinewave synths and phrase transitions offsetting the vox. Not your typical liquid vibe by any stretch.
Last comes “Dark Move,” the punchy, dark number that had to be a favorite with the A&R team at Critical. Lots of layering here, dark-as-hell sound design and throwback old school jungle elements so subtle they’re almost subliminial all make “Dark Move” a track that, while thoroughly modern, can be mixed with the classic darkstep, jungle or jumpup greats of any era.
In light of all this diversity and surprise styling, the coolest thing about Sinking may be the fact that it’s extremely smooth and listenable but at the same time covers a gallery of sounds and is quite complex in terms of composition and sound design, both track-to-track and as a whole. Skankers and chin-scratchers alike can rejoice; there will be at least one thing you can you can agree on at the D&B holiday parties: Enei’s smashed it once again.
Sinking is out on Critical Music today, December 16 and can be streamed or purchased by clicking here.