Mikal – Immaterial EP Review

Every now and then, there’s one of those releases that everyone’s looking forward to, and thats arrival is motioned by a circulating enthused and indefinable buzz. Mikal’s Immaterial EP has certainly been one of those releases. There’s an inherent interest around Mikal, over the past few years he’s become a reputable figure in drum and bass circles, releasing tune after tune of technical brilliance and innovative flair. Subsequently, the built excitement around his tunes makes for pre-releases with the power to really make you want a listen. The sense of want not dissimilar to the desire for a bacon sandwich (in most peoples case) on a hanging Saturday morning, why? Because you know that it’s going to be special.

Mikal’s Immaterial EP dropped today (16/12/13) on Metalheadz and is a release that in no way disappoints. Mikal has not stopped short of engineering tunes of creative excellence; his undeniable talent clearly projected through his ability to craft music of energy evoking and mood altering intensity. Opener ‘Status Low’ sees the collaboration of two of our favourite artists, Mikal and Break, and this tune undeniably sets the precedent. By no means their first release together, elements of both artists’ signature flow come together to form a tune that is structurally well-defined, and comprised of a drumbeat so powerful it imprisons the listener in a frenzy of militant melody. While the warmth of the sub provides a deceptive, tranquil undertone, the mid-bass transfigures in a manner perilously hypnotising in its ability to rouse feelings of total conformity to the dark nature of this tune.

‘Killa Soundboy’ is a tune that evokes a precisely maneuvered restless energy primarily through the layered and recurring moody vocal. The vocal is finely balanced, enabling belligerent atmospherics and the power of a wholly consuming sub to draw you in, whilst synchronously putting you on edge. Title track ‘Immaterial’ differs in nature, incorporating a distant, echoed and longing vocal, with the most achingly beautiful of piano pieces. This is a tune that amalgamates melancholy with a definite nod to jungle. Tribal drums and an unforgiving bass line, it almost seems strange to be simultaneously pulled in by harsh and ethereal, but the result is a tune that’s truly mesmerising.

‘Clear’ a collaboration with Nymfo sees the nostalgic ambiance of the previous tune almost entirely forgone. The sound scape in this one is powered by bursts of break-led intensity. An intriguing tune, elating pads offer illusory solitude from abrasive and entirely engrossing mid-level frequencies. The result is an utterly compelling collaboration. The closing tune, ‘Strictly Rockers,’ a digital exclusive, sees similarly sinister vibes. Forewarning vocals awash amongst a rumbling bass line, distort the mind, all the while percussive rattles and mid-range synth stabs deepen the ominous nature of this tune.

Mikal delivers a masterfully engineered odyssey that dark nature incorporates an undertone of that classic Metalheadz sound. Twisted into a futuristic slice of pure brilliance, the feel of the EP elucidates clearly as to why since first appearing on the Headz roster on the prestigious The Genesis EP back in 2011 and with a (hopefully) soon to come album on the label, this is a pairing that works so well.

Highly recommend buying this one, it’s available on vinyl and in digital format, head over to the Metalheadz store!

For more Mikal info head over to his Facebook, Soundcloud and Twitter pages 🙂