Elysium/Special – Smokey Bubblin’ B

The UK-based producer delivers two intense tracks in which live sounds add an interesting sense of depth and remind us how long we’ve been waiting for a good night out

Warm chords and distant audience jubilation begins Smokey Bubblin’ B’s Elysium. A sense of sultry heat  from the keys meshed with anticipation as we move swiftly into heavy, skeletal percussion. That rare sound of relaxed momentum often only accessible through Drum and Bass takes over. The keys continuing to push a laid back sequence whilst percussion whirs at a high speed. As the melody melts away, Smokey Bubblin’ B introduces the listener to the track’s rougher side, a solid bassline taking the place of the tranquil keys, injecting a galvanising energy alongside the percussion. Things stay incredibly tight with hammering, chopped-up samples and breaks happening at breakneck speed before alternating between crowds baying at warming piano chords and stodgy bass-y beats.

The artist chooses a more evidently sample-based route on Special. Whereas the previous track was more stripped back in its tone, this one bursts into life with a pitched-up soulful snippet. Descending tom drums add a beautiful nostalgic sheen, also building up into more intense percussion. Though this track is a little more melodically-focused, at two separate points smoke clears from in front of us and we find ourselves in Elephant and Castle’s club Ministry. With a droning note creating an atmosphere of anticipation, an MC calls on the crowd to make some noise. It is a spectacle so enshrined in the mind’s of club-goers that you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a rip of a live set. Before the hype drops for too long, a tractor beam of bass submerges everything, before it and reinvigorated percussion begin to smash their heads together. 

One could listen to the two recent tracks from Smokey Bubblin’ B and enjoy them on a purely energy-based level. Both are tightly wound and provide head-rattling bass and percussion for listeners to dance to. But the artist utilises the sounds of a live event to pump the tracks full of a unique energy. On Elysium, those keys feel a little warmer as we hear cheers reach up to the sky at what sounds like an incredible festival, and on Special the beat explodes into life partly because of the preceding call to arms from the MC at the Ministry night. 

https://smokeybubblinb.bandcamp.com/album/elysium-special

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