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Boddika/Joy Orbison – Froth/Mercy review

As fun as “Swims” was, when it arrived last month it almost felt like it had already passed its sell by date. Released through Boddika and Joy Orbison’s newly created Sunklowun imprint, “Froth” and “Mercy” arrive at just the right point to avoid the same fate. But as important as timing is in rescuing these tracks from the fad vacuum, they’re quite different; whilst “Swims” revelled in its throwaway nature, these productions have obviously had more time spent on them, something that Boddika himself has suggested.

“Froth” is the more overtly melodic of the two. Opening with a simple woodblock and kickdrum combo, it rejects the rhythmic syncopation of their solo work for a leaden clunk, leaving the tightly coiled washboard rattle of the midrange to inject the rack with, it must be said, some devastatingly effective groove. Breaking the track down with marble-smooth pads woven around its murmuring female vocal sample, it drops back in with a heaving thud.

“Mercy” on the other hand is a mechanical techno behemoth that practically heaves under the weight of its own unwieldy mass, audibly letting off steam as it goes. Despite the sticky low-end of “Swims” there’s nothing of the sort here, relying instead on sheer density to hammer its point home, packing all of the track’s considerable mass into a wiry, bouncing synth line which pulls in everything around it, white light included.

Although their sound as a duo is clearly still developing, to have created a record so distinctive on a second release is impressive. And for all the talk of “UK bass”, “Froth” and “Mercy” are techno tracks that have more in common with the Fachwerk stable and Skudge’s house-inspired approach to the genre than anything that has come from the UK’s axis of bass-leaning producers. Where this pair go, others follow – it’s only a matter of time.

Scott Wilson