From a previous post....
I believe I've found my favorite twelve of at least the first half of this year: Parris' melancholically stateside devastatingly frozen Your Kiss is Sour EP on Hemlock. And unlike a ton of other equally deserving releases, the UK press--oh, and Thump lol--have at least not been ignoring Parris, with write-ups in Fact, The Quietus, and ever The Wire! (Could they be inching back towards relevancy? Only time and the lack of boring-ass cover stars will tell. But the linked mix is a pretty great intro to much of the current vanguard of UK genre nomads.) Hell, Martin Clark did an interview with Parris back in 2013, back when his productions were more immaculate imitations of existing styles than all his own. Despite his rather shallow discography, the press line on the record has generally painted the producer as a child of the legendary club night FWD>>> at the famed Plastic People club as well as dubstep. He's also the founder of Soundman Chronicles, a label that has released records by artists like Facta, Wen, and Etch who are straddling the lines between grime, 2-Step, UKG, dubstep, d&b, broken beat, and much more. And sure Your Kiss is Sour at times sounds like a dubstep EP from an alternate timeline, one that could have also easily ended up on Punch Drunk, released alongside late dubstep classics like Bass Clef's "Ghost Kicks in the Spiral." But like so much else coming out of the UK right now, it's far more than the sum of its influences as Parris joins the likes of Batu, Lurka, Laksa, and many others who are seemingly done being confined to just one genre, intent on forging their own sound, content to be in a "weird no man's land" as Parris puts it.
Much like Bass Clef's infamous beatless dinner theater, Parris' title track, which takes up the entire A side, channels a similar open-hearted earnestness. "Your Kiss is Sour" reminds me of what those few minutes of when an airplane is able to obtain zero gravity must be like. I'd call the piece weightless, but the pulsating and colorfully layered staccatos provide both a rhythmic push-and-pull that moves the piece along while also supplying the track's central melodic motif, underpinned by a relentless sub bass note and snatches of vocals that gradually occupy the forefront of the mix. Without employing any of the tropes of Grime 2.0, Parris has managed to craft one of the most devastating releases in that genre's resurgence while also creating something wholly other. By the track's end, the listener isn't sure if the producer has ascended into the stratosphere or simply dissolved into a technicolor puddle. As the artist himself put it in discussion with Fact, "There’s barely anything going on in it. It’s about the space, innit. My music has always been sub heavy. It’s the influence of the dubstep sound, but I didn’t want to be dubstep." And if you're thinking, is he comparing himself to Miles Davis right now?--who famously said that it's not the notes you play, but the space in between--ask yourself this: shouldn't more musician be aspiring to channel Miles? Even on earlier releases like last year's Skeletal EP, while it employed a more conventional rhythmic framework, the tracks often felt like something was missing in the best sense possible, though not as realized as it does here.
Part of what makes this EP such a success is that in three meager tracks, Parris manages to tell a fully-realized story that many LPs fail to, collapsing under their own weight. Sure, he only has ten minutes, but the EP's narrative engine flows in such a way as to truly envelop the record in the producer's truly singular soundscape. "Flowering in Threes" is the closest the EP gets to familiar ground and even its raindrop melody and 3/4 time signature place it in foreign territory. A waltz seemingly written for androids, a meaty yet sparse woodblock-led beat gives the piece a much-needed heft as the sound of a broken Xerox machine cultivates the track's cosmic-machinic aesthetic. Owing much to its title, the melody gradually blossoms over the song's course, moving from a pensive motif to a muted esctasy before the machines finally succeed in discovering love, and overthrowing their human masters. Closing out the EP is the pensive "My Beautiful Fantasy," and it's missing the "dark" from its title for a reason. Recalling early Mr. Mitch is in its toy box-esque melody, this is a curious one, throbbing sub bass pairing with harmonics that wouldn't sound of a place on a certain Moleskin song. Soon a middle line enters the proceedings along with a delayed hi-hat hit, the producer achieving the most emotional heft with the least amount of elements. Barely clocking in at a total of ten minutes, I still am struggling to grasp just what I find so special about this EP, other than the fact that it feels unusually realized, the first real manifestation of Parris' "sound."