While iBenji has been releasing for some time now, his new Blast Off EP with Shiru, out last Friday on Othercide, may be his first contact with the wider bass and D&B scene—and what an intro it is. The EP hits hard with sometime production partner Shiru on two of the tracks. Adhering to halftime but obviously influenced by and tinged with lots of other elements, it’s no wonder Othercide grabbed these two artists before they really blow up.
It’s an interesting combination of styles and techniques iBenji and Shiru use to create their unique style of halftime on this EP’s title track and their other collab track, “Shinobi.” Clearly in the halftime tempo wheelhouse, the feel of these tracks is so full of changeups, grinding, metallic synths and eerie ambient sound design that one could be forgiven for thinking these two tracks could easily be turned into a neurofunk/jumpup hybrid or that they’re slowed down dubstep. They could certainly hit the dancefloor as such.
There’s also a strong hip-hop vein in iBenji’s style, reflected once again on the title track featuring vocals by T3arz and on “Model 315.” The latter track is another intense mashup of metallic, techy and glitchy elements with a vocal sample creating the hip hop feel. It’s sort of like if you put Ivy Lab and elements of Noisia and old school BCUK into a blender and added some hip hop vox as seasoning. Finally with some really interesting beat changeups on closing track “Flow,” chopped up lyrical samples that do anything but flow and a load of spacey laser sounds for added punctuation, the EP end as it began: as a declaration that halftime doesn’t have to sound so halftimey.
The other declaration iBenji and Shiru are making with Blast Off is that they’re getting the dubstep, riddim and D&B worlds ready for their unique brand of mashup style and that they plan to remind these other genres just how diverse, fun and in this case danceable and head-scrambling halftime can be.