2016 saw the debut of a number of producers whose sound clearly aligned them with the axis of producers and labels we've discussed so far and to close out that breakthrough year for the new school of bass bobblers, we'll be taking a look at two in particular: Via Maris and Forest Drive West. While both entities are still very much still developing their voices as producers--though Forest Drive's more trad techno leanings has resulted in their releasing six twelves since 2016 compared to Via Maris' two with both putting out an early and seemingly obligatory release via Ytivil Dnuos.
Based in Bristol, I admittedly have not been able to dig up much info on the B. Burke at the center of the project. The inaugural release on Alex Digard's Mechanical Reproductions label that is also associated with the city's Tape-Echo collective, which reports on the many exciting things going on in town, the Credentials twelve announced Burke as a voice to listen to as he turned in two crafty, slinky funkified rollers. Also, despite being only two releases in, Mechanical Reproductions has already become a buy-on-sight label following that blistering Bad Tracking twelve (http://www.zurkonic.com/for-a-song/bad-tracking-xp-3). Writing in RA at the time of the twelve's release, Angus Finlayson used one of my favorite descriptors to capture the spirit of the city in 2016, writing that "the style of the moment is post-Livity techno, though the mood—solemn, dubwise—is eternal. " Meanwhile, writing about the Mechanical Reproductions label, Digard speaks about the label being a natural outgrowth of Tape-Echo's seven years in existence at that point, noting that "what's the point unless the music is any good?" He then details how a "zip of tracks popped up on the email from a new producer and Bristol resident, Via Maris...It's Via Maris' first release (although you wouldn't know it) and he has come through with two fractured techno cuts with a mean swing to them, they also pack quite a punch on the dance floor."
And if there were two words that perfectly capture the allure of "Credentials," it's that mean swing that's heard from the jump as a series of interlocking rhythmic sequences banged out on pots and logs are tied together by that staggered triplet bass kick pattern that so often is found in place of techno's more staid and constricting 4X4 pulse. That said, once the initial opening minute build dies down as windswept rave horns blast their song to the skies before all the competing percussive lines hit the mix with laser precision as a forward technoid thump is paried with projectile-like snare hit on the two and four to create a yummy mixture of earthen swing and subzero propulsion. It's a track that by no means was created in a vacuum, carrying the unmistakable influence of Burke's Bristol peers while remaining something wholly singular and its own. On the B-side. "Glimpse" takes the organic UKG rollage of "Credentials" down a few BPM while adding flourishes of exoticism in the hand drum patterns and trilling wood flute that becomes the song's signature siren call. While Burke's follow-up on Ytivil Dnuos doesn't quite pack the same punch of feeling like four songs in one, we're still eagerly waiting to see what emerges from his studio next.