Ascertain EP – Tephra & Arkoze – DISLTD032

Dispatch LTD are on a roll in 2017 – with releases from Kyrist, Cruk and Dub Head so far, they show no signs of slowing down. As you may know Dispatch LTD is that darker and deeper side of Dispatch and this next release on this prolific label is no different.

Deadly duo Tephra & Arkoze have steadily been creating a stir in the scene with their un-compromised brand of drum and bass. They have been around for a while with releases on Noisia’s Invisible Recordings and Basher’s Proximity Recordings to name a few, so these guys come onboard Dispatch with a good track record! People will be surprised to hear that this would be their debut release for Ant TC1’s label; with the quality and vibe of their tunes fitting perfectly with the Dispatch brand it was going to happen sooner or later.

What they have brought to Dispatch is a 4 track EP which shows off their production style and their engineering prowess. Normally producers who are clinical in their productions miss something in the vibe of the tune – they can be a bit too robotic and dull – but Tephra and Arkoze have the perfect balance between technical ability and music with soul.
I’ve met these guys and had a good chat with them in the past and they live and breathe drum and bass, and this shows through in this E.P.

A. This World – Tephra Arkoze Ft Survey

A really moody track with nice crisp drums, rolling hats and a bassline that you can vibe off. With some clever filter work on the midrange growly bass, this reminds me of some of the very early Virus releases.

B. Nighthawk

Setting the tone with eerie pads, what sounds like reversed samples and a deep punchy kick in the intro, this track is telling you that its going to be a moody head nodder. On the drop the filtered square bass hits and carries the vibe created in the intro accompanied by a sharp and cutting 2-step beat.

C. Ascertain Ft MC Fokus

Half step beats lead the way here, married to a mangled up bassline that absolutely thumps. Many layers of midrange growl keep the listener interested and I haven’t even mentioned the strong lyrical content by MC Fokus. The vocal goes well with the fabric of the track, intertwining with the percussion and sub perfectly.

D. Inside Out

Rounding the EP off nicely is this deep roller, starting with a dreamy pad, haunting vocal sounds and chopped up percussion with the grimey bass stab making an appearance to keep things moving. A subtle bass comes in on the drop with the rolling hats and layered click/snare sound, then the bandpassed growl of the midrange floats in and out of earshot. All the elements work with each other here, creating nothing overpowering and taking away from the other layers of sound. I should imagine this would sound really good on a big rig.

All in all this is not a bad debut on Dispatch and fits in perfectly with the Dispatch LTD output. I’m sure this is the first stage of a very fruitful relationship between the label and the duo. We await future releases with baited breath!