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Drums of Death Blue Waves EP Review

EP. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

The Scottish producer has excelled himself on this refreshing set.

Matthew Bennett 2012

Life is a theatre of decisions: some beguiling, some numbing. So it’s refreshing to hear Drums of Death unleashing direct, binary dance beats and ditching his more thespian take on techno we witnessed on his album, Generation Hexed, back in 2010.

The Blue Waves EP sees Scottish producer Colin Bailey wipe the mascara from his eyes and get back to basics. These four tracks conjure the spirits of rave and the pumping blood of Detroit’s synth-wiggy ghettos.

Opener Life in the Machine finds him completely indulging his circuit boards. It’s a call to arms for ones and zeros, and the resultant bleepy rave is extremely infectious. Halcyonic melodies are swept away by white washes of crescendo and large bass drops. It’s not new, it’s definitely not clever… but it’s certainly big.

Let No Shadow Fall Upon You takes an even bolder step into the past as an unadulterated rave storm breaks. A skipping piano line builds to a fluffy female vocal that could easily be mistaken for living in the plastic palace of a Twice as Nice or Club Kinetic cassette box from 1994, if it wasn’t for a fidget bassline that incongruously belongs to 2009.

But it’s Waves City that is his most dazzling, adept and revivalist offering. In clear homage to Detroit’s Underground Resistance and specifically the Galaxy 2 Galaxy project, Bailey’s excelled himself here, albeit through pastiche.  

Structurally and melodically engaging like the whites of a man’s eyes, Waves City teases out moments and progresses through key interchanges of ideas. A Balearic piano melody gradually gives way to a full lysergic keyboard workout, showing that if Drums of Death is a voodoo master, then he’s clearly invoked the living sprit of Mike "Mad" Banks.

Even voodoo masters, it seems, are compelled by working in cycles; and despite his reincarnation of classic Detroit tracks, the quality of Blue Waves suggests Bailey’s got a renewed hunger to shake our bodies hard through his dark arts of computer programming. And we’re more than happy to comply.

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