Alix Perez & Ivy Lab – Arkestra EP (Critical Music)

Plot twist: Ivy Lab and Alix Perez have collaborated for an EP.

Plot twist: It’s sick.

Arkestra opens with hauntingly melodic ‘Maiden’, feeling like lost synths meeting by chance in collusion of sound. The combined elements of this track are heart breaking and powerful. Two feelings almost impossible to convey together in dnb, yet here we have Ivy Lab and Alix Perez making it look easy. The bassline reminds us of this tracks nature. Let’s not get soppy, this is still drummers.

The bass in (the EP’s namesake) ‘Arkestra’ is the slap in the face after the heartbreak. The party phase. The get so fucked that you can’t feel it phase. Synths warp as the vocals echo ‘Do ya? Do ya?’. Daring. Teasing. The distorted drums and swirling synths come together to acknowledge each other before crashing into a rhythm that is trying too hard to be happy. This is a tune.

The Last Light’ greets us with something somewhere between a cry and a trumpet. Followed by drums and an inkling of a jazzy melody, eventually dropping into a vibey, artwork of sound. “She won’t let me go” rings round amongst sparkly piano-like sounds that melt into the vocals.

For me what makes this EP so special is that with these three tracks, if you take away the clever basslines and irrevocable drums, it would be a story of lost love conveyed through a tapestry of sounds. It isn’t until the bass hits you that you realise it ever left, and how much you missed it. Now you remember that there isn’t time to be sad. Not while Ivy Lab & Alix Perez are killing it

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That being said, I must admit up until this point I was hoping for something a little Sunday Crunk-ier.  This was delivered with ‘Tell Dem’. The aggressively jolting rhythm splits and cracks just before the shouted sample commences. “Tell Dem!” Someone is commanding, “Tell Dem!”. And you’ll want to. But you won’t know who to tell, or what you’re telling them. You’ll be too busy thrashing around to this tune. Starting out slow, each element creeps confidently into something more. Something you aren’t expecting but you should’ve been, because Ivy Lab are involved.

The title of ‘Stop it’ is how I feel about how jarring the intro to the track is. Maybe I am to blame for being someone who listens to music deafeningly loud but still, know your market. Complaints aside this is one of my favourites. The juxtaposition of the warpy bass against the tingling timbre of the synths works. And I mean really works. I love that these producers know that they don’t need to fuck with a typical discourse. I swear they could fart in unison and it would sound like chimes.

More chimes to follow when EP concludes with the digital bonus ‘No One Else’, which epitomises what we’ve been listening to for the past 5 tracks. Crescendos of sweet sounds swirling effortlessly amongst heavy basslines and jagged synths. Perez’ trademark liquid vibes mixed with Ivy Lab’s iconic sound is the perfect combination and I am just so happy that this collaboration happened. Featuring some of the most original tracks I’ve heard in a while, be sure to give this EP a listen.

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