While Monument is normally associated with techno, the deep sounds that we so often try to find are not restricted to the genre. An excellent example of this is Myriad, the latest release on ASC’s Auxiliary imprint by London-based producer Sciama; four tracks rooted in modern drum and bass, yet influenced by the hypnotic groove of deep techno as well as the ambient sounds of Sciama’s previous works. It’s no surprise that the EP comes from Auxiliary, as the overall energy of the project mines a similar middle ground between the genres as the label’s Grey Area series of releases, with an additional aggressive edge provided by tough percussion and visceral low-end.
Forced Inward is a demonstration of the power of the production, as the mostly percussionless track of ethereal, slowly developing melodies is grounded by a rolling, sinuous bassline so crisp that it could carry a track by itself. The track fulfills its role as an intro, delineating the ideas on show for the rest of the duration of the EP, and goes beyond that, displaying a particularly fresh combination of melodicism, atmosphere and bassweight that Sciama would do well to explore further. Observe, the follow-up, gets rid of the elevating melodies and instead turns towards the subterranean, with a relentless kick driving ever downwards and the now-familiar bass frequencies morphed into something far more menacing.
The B-side is more focused on the rhythmic side of things, starting with The Lost Pleiad, with tense percussion rolling over an almost static bass rumble, bringing to mind scenes of a duel from a forgotten samurai movie. As the tension and tempo is cranked up, the track suddenly opens up halfway through, like a sword drawn from its sheath. The closer, Indignation is less dramatic, but perhaps the most intense track on the release, with metallic breaks that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Homemade Weapons release. The familiar bass drone is relegated to a distant textural moan for the first half of the track, making its return at the halfway mark particularly satisfying, especially with the accompanying skittering, urgent hats that leave the listener unsettled, yet wanting more.
Myriad is out on Sciama’s Bandcamp on the 19th of August.