Dam Mantle – We review

From the looks of things, young Glasgow based producer Dam Mantle has a busy time ahead of him. This is just his third EP, which will be hailed by a launch party at London’s Corsica Studios while the world and his wife natter away online. Hyperbole aside, it’s clear to see Tom Marshall is a talented herbert with a knack for making an addictive tune.

There are quite a few things which are apparent as lead track “We” starts. First off, Marshall has lifted the chord progression wholesale from Moby’s rave classic “Go!” (which in turn borrowed its hook from Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks theme). Recycling and reinventing old ideas has been integral part of dance music since the days of reggae versions, and in this instance he’s planted those classic notes in a gorgeous synth. The rest of the track that builds around it is astounding of its own accord, as heartfelt arpeggios rise and fall with mutant vocal groans. The beats come from the Addison Groove school of drum machines, albeit with more dubstep jerk than ghetto-tech propulsion. By the time eight and a half minutes has unfolded and the clock bells chime in, it would be a sour listener that hadn’t succumbed to the dulcet tones of this tune.

There’s no shortage of surprises across the rest of the EP,  which flirts between synthesised machinations and organic sources. Marshall has taken the formulaic ground rules of electronic music, and twisted them in line with his own ideas. It’s hard to avoid a comparison to Mount Kimbie purely in terms of the originality of ideas, even if the finished product is very different. Where Kimbie are all fluttery and fragile, Dam Mantle has a solidity to his sound which should see him win over hearts and minds on an almost instantaneous level.

Oliver Warwick