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Joaan – Nocturnality/Out of Slang review

After a brief period of inactivity midway through 2011, it’s good to see 7even back on fine form again. At the point when dubstep was well and truly exploding in everyone’s ears, the French imprint stood as one of the first trustworthy bastions of the techno bass music crossover, with a strong contingent of loyal artists on the roster.

Joaan represents a less regular fixture on the label, having released just one twelve last year while spending more time focusing on his breakbeat driven Maelstrom alias. Returning to the fray with this uncomplicated two-tracker, the shimmering, technoid style of 7even is furthered amply through pleasingly varied cuts.

Continuing that hot trend of 2011, “Nocturnality” sees Joaan applying dubstep and garage signifiers to a steady house beat. He’s certainly not the first to have a go, but he pulls it off with flair. The key hook is the mid 90s organ synth, here played out with a mournful quality that lets it echo around fellow pads for an altogether deep and engaging track. The broken rhythms are applied subtly, making this more akin to a straight house cut with a cheeky kink woven into it.

“Out Of Slang” on the flip plots a more familiar trajectory for industrial-strength dub styles. The space in the track is palpable, with the punchy bassline taking all the glory while the beat patiently waits its turn to get stuck in. The mid-range percussion gets tossed about and filtered with such careless abandon as to make it seem an afterthought, until the build up comes snaking in from out of nowhere to inject some danger into the track. A nail-scraping tone comes rising into the mix and you brace yourself for a mammoth drop, only to be yanked back down into the bassy depths of the track. It’s a teaser that may leave many wanting for more, but for those appreciate the restrained principles of real dub music, “Out Of Slang” is a masterful execution.

Oli Warwick