Everyone pretty much agrees that 2020 has been a major bummer for bass music events the world over. Only a few small festivals took place in Eastern Europe over the summer and most parts of the US now projecting no events well into 2021 and even maybe 2022. We wouldn’t call it a silver lining necessarily, but the lack of events and the need of artists to create have led to a stark increase in production of music and music-related content across all genres. The result has been that 2020 may hold the record for both quantity and quality of releases. Artists and labels have been really stepping it up and music-starved fans have been eating it up.
In the bass world, we’ve seen a wide range of new breakthrough artists shooting to the top without needing to tour and labels increasing their distro by almost double. Everyone’s favorite zombie-based neuro label Eatbrain has kept their release schedule fairly consistent but the drops lately feel like they’re rapid fire because of the level of quality they’ve been producing. From Tobax’s Frenemies EP and Chris.Su’s now legendary “Mudhorn” single in July right up through Smooth’s “Black Streak”/”Rougher” dual single closing out September, there’s a lot to cover in the land of neuro over the past two months, so we thought it would be fun to look at all these yummy Eatbrain releases right now. Come along for the heavy bass ride!
MNDSCP – Plot Hole EP
The last Eatbrain release we looked at in depth here at Bassrush was Chris.Su’s “Mudhorn”/”The Light,” so from that chunky, steppy fun Eatbrain entered the lush landscape of MNDSCP in late July. It’s maybe not fair to say that Plot Hole was career-defining for the Hungarian artist, but pretty much all his releases are seminal in some way because his style shifts with each one and he brings in a whole new world of bass every time.
Plot Hole is full of strong synth sounds as we’ve come to expect from MNDSCP but they’re sort of softer, more full-bodied sounds with lots of static around them and a bit of a rounder melody. A fun, distorted sine wave effect makes it all quite emotive in the EP’s title track while “Cabin Fever,” “Hardwired” and EP Closer “Bad Batch” all hearken back to the heady days of techstep with an updated take full of fast snares and MNDSCP lushness.
Burr Oak – Roots of Evil EP
The beginning of August saw the Roots of Evil EP by Burr Oak on Eatbrain. The French power duo comprised of The Clamps and Opsen is always kind of a wildcard; we never really know what they’re going to pull out next and Roots of Evil was no exception. The title track starts out with some heavy distortion bass synths, late 90s-era darkstep/techstep amens and a surprise Pendulum-style vocal interlude. “Mongoose” goes the opposite direction right into the belly of the modern neruro beast with fast snares and growling synths. “Dryads” is glitchy and stompy with yet another gooey melodic center break. Lastly, “Skint” shuts down the whole release with multiple sets of tornado snares, some ravey ambient sound design and a surprising old school jump up beat sequence after the break. Surprises abound as usual on this Burr Oak release and this one is worth multiple listens to really figure it all out.
Redpill – Mosh Pit EP
It’s been a while since there’s been a dedicated EP release from Redpill but this drop in late August reminded the neuro world why it’s always worth it to track this talented Frenchman. With it being his first dedicated EP release in some time, Mosh Pit was heavily anticipated and did not disappoint. The title track sets the tone for the whole chugging, snare-heavy neuro wonderland that is this EP. The collab track with Magteude, “Air Strike,” brought that “mosh pit” vibe to a fever pitch. There’s no escape from those whip-smart snares and punishing synths but what self-respecting neuro head would want to escape?
L 33 – Time Attack EP
In early September the Bulgarian neuro powerhouse that is L 33 returned to Eatbrain after just over a year since his The Door EP, also on Eatbrain. There’s a race car with Eatbrain teeth in its grill on the Time Attack album art and that’s pretty much all one needs to know about the vibes on this EP. Fast, tough, intense and might actually eat you, L 33 is back in rare form and hasn’t missed one extremely heavy breakbeat.
Gydra and Inward, Hanzo & Randie – Wipe
This little single got a lot of traction in the neuro world and beyond for its punishingly fast snares and an innovative fade synth that actually sounds like a window being “wiped”. If you think that tracks with no lyrics can’t have literal names, just listen to some neuro. “Wipe” sort of toggles back and forth between being largely minimal (those cyclone snares make it sound more full) and having a lush, classical music-inspired melody that the once prominent beat structure ends up carrying until the track finishes. “Wipe” is one of those tracks that reveals itself more and more as one listens to it, which is one of the reasons why both IHR and Gydra are earning such an inter-genre cult following of late.
Smooth – Black Streak/Rougher
We’re almost up to date now with Smooth’s latest two-track single release on Eatbrain and it’s yet another one where the majority of the neuro-loving public have been left with their jaws on the floor. “Black Streak” is a cinematically-designed thrill ride that could rival any action movie on the market in terms inciting a racing pulse. The massive wall of static and synth that hits after the first break is what one might imagine it feels like to be hit on the head with a hive of metallic bees. “Rougher,” meanwhile, is a surprise shot of cheek from Smooth, as it incorporates some fun hip hop vox samples in the breaks as well as a lot of amens and old school techstep samples. It’s great against this backdrop or insane modern neuro to drop in some early roots and see how they play together. Good on Smooth for always keeping the “fun” in neurofunk.
Liveon – Stutter EP
Just released October 9, the Stutter EP might have been a bit of a surprise. While Liveon has heretofore been a Titan label favorite, his glitchy, heavy style lines up perfectly with Eatbrain’s vibe. After he participated in the last Divergence compilation with his dancefloor devastator “Basso Ostinato,” it was only a matter of time before the scene saw a solo release from Liveon on Eatbrain.
True to its name, the Stutter EP provides all the glitchy, stuttering beats and crunchy synths any self-respecting neuro head could ask for. From the old school beats and vibes of “Glueball” to the surprising jump up vibes of the title track to the collab track “Total Chaos” with Chris.Su that certainly lives up to its name, Liveon proved he can show up and amp up that neuro intensity with the best in the biz.
So that’s all the greatness released on everyone’s favorite zombiephile label thus far. It doesn’t end there, however. Coming up quick on October 23 Eatbrain will also see a massive LP release from Gydra called Snake Monastery and following quickly behind on November 6 will be one of Eatbrain’s epic compilation EPs. Called Variation In Production, it will feature all VIP mixes from Jade, Aggressor Bunx, Dub Elements, Redpill, Smooth, L 33, MNDSCP and Zombie Cats so keep an eye an ears on the Eatbrain website for those two mega releases. If you think you’re up to date with this list, just remember each artist who releases on Eatbrain also does a set for the Eatbrain Podcast about a week later. Neuroheads are already losing their minds about Smooth’s set which just dropped and the Liveon one coming up will likely be no different.