Now that we've finally reached 2016, a point where this loosely-grouped scene we've been analyzing really started to come into its own, that means we're gonna be covering just about every Timedance release from that year as the label made due, and then some, on the promise of its first two releases of 2015--Batu's "Domino" b/w "Cardinal Theory" and L.SAE's "The West End As It Will Be." Released in March 2016, the Monolith EP was Batu's eighth twelve since his debut in 2013, but his most substantial release, featuring the weirdly catchy, spider-y title track and the swinging woodblock orchestra of mutant stepper "Reez," which was backed on the B2 with a Lee Gamble remix, no small feat for the label's third release. And while the whole affair is stuffed to the gills of "WTF is going on" moments that seem to be one of the animating drives behind both Batu and his peers' music, for me "Void" is the track that feels to have been the most influential when it comes to picking out certain recurring tropes that many of the producers share.
"Void" makes for an interesting counterexample to the kick-frenzy of yesterday's track, Ploy's "Sala One Five" while achieving a similar post-techno vibe with a quarter of the kick drums. Where the kicks on "Sala" are tight yet airy at the same time, there's really no other word to describe the half-time kicks that animate the track other than "thunderous." Despite its ~130 BPM pulse that allows it to blend effortlessly with everything from Pev's "Undulate" to Plastikman, the kick only hits on the one and three, but each hit contains a graduate thesis worth of sound design prowess. Sounding like the T-Rex stomps in Jurassic Park if they were animating ripples in three different tone pools, the oddly major key track might feature an unusually friendly melody--territory the producer would pursue through different means the following year on his Marius four-tracker for Hessle--the track instantly conjures up the sort of bowel-shaking bass antics that made dubstep a global phenomenon. However, much like Laksa and the other producers we've discussed so far, Batu always seems intent on achieving the thrill of 'the drop' while often stretching it out to run parallel with the song's duration. Still, its half-time thud puts this solidly in the murky 'stepper' end of the post-dubstep lexicon as off-beat hi-hats come in as if to flaunt the producer's techno bonafides while also making it mixable with just about anything in that BPM range that bangs as the echo-filled two's and four's clear the air for a post-Livity style polyrhythm. Storm clouds gradually gather on the horizon in the form of dense chord stabs and windy atmospherics while a woodblock hit comes in and out of the mix and high hats shuffle nervously before switching double time one the whole thing manages to somehow lift off. And while I would hesitate to solely credit Batu with pioneering this type of bass bobbler, the half-time thunder kicks have certainly grown in popularity, cropping up on later heaters such as Facta's "Something's Gotta Give" and Beneath's "Seeus." Whether heard once or a hundred times, "Void" always seems to reveal some new trick on each listen while showing how almost pop-friendly melodies could be weaved into a track's very rhythm with the most minimal of means. Get lost in the abyss.