The land of electronic music can be a fairly daunting place – vast, varied and unknowable. In one corner you have your EDMers (David Guetta et al) who have come to represent a rather generic, though occasionally enjoyable, music form. When I say ‘occasionally’, I really mean on the occasion that you’ve had one or two jagerbombs too many. Elsewhere in electro-land lie the deep and brooding ones – Burial, Synkro and company – whose darkly poignant reinventions of the dub genre have been met with great approval from the public and critics alike.
Emerging Essex-based producer Irrelevant is just one such artist who is a dab hand at forging stunning and moving soundscapes through his exploration of the bass genre. ‘Little Figurines’ marks his second release via the Kokeshi record label and also marks a progression of his intriguing sound. Album opener ‘Reintroductions’ does what it says on the tin – it reintroduces the listener to Irrelevant’s haunting sound. Shifting between echoing vocal samples and moments of almost total silence, it sets the tone for the rest of this album – an album whose beauty lies in the wonderful interplay between sparse, ambient moments and the complex layers Irrelevant constructs within his tracks.
Stream Irrelevant – Little Figurines
The title track exemplifies this beautifully. Beginning with expertly woven strands of electronic glitches and almost inhuman calls, the track builds to a perfectly constructed close – combining melody-minded dubstep with Irrelevant’s trademark ‘melancholic electronica’ sound. Other album highlights include ‘Moments’, a sensationally simple track whose melody rises and falls like a gull on the breeze. The Compa remix of this track, which featured as a B-Side to the ‘Little Figurines’ single, is also most certainly worth a listen.
Irrelevant showcases everything that is so captivating about the fairly confusing dubstep genre. ‘Little Figurines’ is at times euphoric, with uplifting, rolling bass lines, and at others, deeply melancholic. This is a gem of an album, and with Irrelevant being dubbed (excuse the pun) as one of the building blocks for Kokeshi’s future, it really is an exciting time for the label and for electronic, dub music on the whole. 7.8/10