While the tempo on Subp Yao’s new Sum Output EP, out today on MethLab Recordings, is in the dubstep realm, fans shouldn’t expect anything that could be categorized as conventional dubstep. Just as experimental and weird as ever, Subp Yao plays with beat structure, bass and sound design like no one else in the game on this EP and in the meantime MethLab has gotten a hold of its title track and made one of its signature flawless fractal videos to go with it. A match made in heaven that will be sorely missed as MethLab closes its doors in February.
This is hardly the end for Sub Yao, however, and while Sum Output is technically nearly perfect, it’s clear he’s still just getting started. While the EP on the experimental tip, what’s fun about it is that it will still likely pull some crowds on the dancefloor. Trippy as it is, the title track, for example, has a chugging, almost rolling underbeat to it and actually changes tempos and goes from syncopated to straight beat about three-fourths of the way through. It may not be headbangable, but it’s definitely danceable
The EP opens with “Lock Off” which is a nice study in deep bass and may remind fans a bit of early Shades. Unlike Shades, however, there’s no hip hop vox samples contained herein, so the audience is made to really pay attention to all the sound design work. The vast number of layers in this track is actually staggering but, genius that he is, Subp Yao has also made this track feel very open by playing with the ambient space masterfully to achieve that effect.
The two wild cards in an EP full of wild cards are “Imatuk” and “Smoke Trees.” “Imatuk” is the most conventionally danceable and recognizable as 140 BPM probably out of all this EP’s tracks but the rolling deep bassline moves along without the beat quite often in the track, creating many more breaks than your average deep bass track while still allowing it to be steppy as hell. “Imatuk” will shock most listeners because it is, for all intents and purposes, a garage track. While a little slower than the average UKG, “Imatuk” has the snares and syncopation to make it likely a dancefloor favorite and a fun little throwback to the heyday of speed garage.
Sum Output is another winner for Subp Yao and holds a lot of surprises for those who thought he was staying with experimental bass music. While the deep bass, heart-stopping sound design breaks and messing around with all manner of samples and composition are still all there, Subp Yao clearly intended for this EP to be a dance EP and with that he’s more than succeeded.
Sum Output is out now on MethLab Recordings and can be purchased and streamed on Bandcamp or streamed on Spotify. Be sure to check out the beautifully trippy video for the title track, also on the EP’s Bandcamp page.