Real talk: I do not know if I would have begun this project if it wasn't for Lurka. I'm going to be brief today as I'm nannying and feel not well--NOT a fun combo--so we'll save our more in-depth profile of Lurka (aka Ben Tregaskes) for when we get to the track of his that made me stand up and take notice of both him and the wider scene he can be viewed as apart of (talking about "Beater" here, natch). A scene vet who's been releasing in the post-dubstep vein since 2011 courtesy with the "Return" b/w "Stabiliser" twelve for Box Clever, he's been continually drawn to exploring the more experimental fringes of his multi-genre approach to bass-informed dance music. Be it the mutant dancehall of "Full Clip" b/w "BR Greaze" via the esteemed Hotline label, the outré techno-aligned stompers of Holding / Nah So / KMT, or the house-informed melodic pulse of "Ritual Dingers," Lurka's output for other forward labels like Timedance, Black Acre, and his own Fringe White has been a compelling tug of war between his deep understanding and command of genre tropes and his own far weirder tendencies.
In my correspondence with longtime dubstep chronicler, producer, and A&R rep Martin Clark, while he was quick to note his general feeling of "meh" towards many of the records and producers we've covered so far, he also acknowledged being moved by standout tracks, noting "Beneath and Parris having made some killers, Lurka too. "Partials!!!!" And if you haven't pressed play below yet, you might think four exclamation marks are a bit excessive but keep in mind, "Partials" plays like a continuous string of exclamatory and revelatory ideas. Placed on the A side of the second EP he released for Bristol weirdo dance mainstay Black Acre, things start off considerably unassumingly with a gaseously ambient intro underpinned by a broken, swung beat. Moving through an ascending set of chord changes, things really kick into gear shortly after the one-minute mark as the track's principle groove sets about getting comfortable. Underpinned by a sixteenth-note, post-Livity percussive synth sequence and a UK Funky-nodding set of snare hits, it's the type of hard-knocking rhythm that Tregaskes smartly just lets ride as an undefined sonic negative space gets loaded up with ample vibes in the form of white noise and a metallic scrape. Here, at the 2:10 mark, is where "Partials" really pulls the rabbit out of its hat. While we've noted the repeatedly minimalist approach to melody and emphasis on vibe that unites much of the music we have already and will still discuss, Lurka seems to be borrowing a page out of the Joe school of out-of-nowhere, carvinalesque melodic left-turns--which at this point included belters "Studio Power On" and the merry go-round stylings of "Punters Step Out." Similar to the latter in particular, Lurka's bell-like pads seem to strike a melody that is both utterly leftfield while also sounding bizarrely familiar in the most off-kilter of ways. It's a true WTF moment and reflective of how this new school of producers seek to channel the rudeness of the dubstep drop in wholly new and unprecedented way. Much like Untold's perfectly-named "Stop What You're Doing," "Partials" dares the listener to ignore it, knowing that such an act is simply impossible as Lurka gradually mangles his topline before bringing it all back for one more go-round. The start of something truly exciting, this.
Oh, and "Mach" on the flip is no slouch either, deploying slightly more conventional melodic moves over a neck-breaking post-"Velez" beat.