Alley Cat is a London-based expat of over 20 years and a drum & bass veteran for a minimum of that lengthy, in addition to co-head of ESP Agency and Kokeshi Records. She additionally simply began her personal radio present with KoolFM on RinseFM. If anybody is aware of how massive and dangerous and darkish London may be, it’s Alley Cat. With all her business credit and connections, Alley Cat’s music has all the time been decidedly private to her personal style and she or he’s identified for not following developments. In a world the place pop D&B and dancefloor are bringing within the crowds, Alley Cat is joyful to play her personal manner, and she or he nonetheless has loads of takers: prior to now yr alone she’s performed Let It Roll, Locus, Outlook UK, Ministry of Sound and Boomtown, simply to call the large ones, and can be taking part in subsequent weekend at Solar and Bass and XOYO later in autumn. D&B veteran is a little bit of an understatement.
Alley Cat’s final chronological launch was the 2015 digital re-release on Offshore Recordings of a 2009 two-sided vinyl single known as “Candy Spot”/”Radiate” together with her good pal, the sadly lately handed dubstep and breakbeat producer, Vaccine. 2012 was her precise most lately produced launch on the Kokeshi Kompilation album with the snappy dubstep-and-hip hop-infused monitor, “Don’t Edit Me.” Since then, she’s been targeted on all of the stuff listed above, but it surely appears she’s additionally been working away at her personal stuff lo these eleven years, via all of the modifications to the business, the pandemic and all the opposite massive, dangerous, darkish stuff in latest historical past. To say this EP title is apt can be an understatement.
All that political creator posturing apart, it’s doubtless Alley Cat named her EP Large Unhealthy Darkish Metropolis as extra of an homage, or a minimum of as a nod to the vibes on stated EP. Large, dangerous, deep and darkish additionally appears to completely describe the sound she’s created right here, with a heavy concentrate on deep bass sounds and deeper sound design. This isn’t the deep drum & bass that’s prevalent these days, however one thing extra clever and tribal, because the opening title monitor makes instantly clear. With what feels like metal drum samples and an analog tom and snare creating the primary drums, the beat is available in at intervals throughout the intro earlier than filling in the primary monitor with extra snappy snare ornamentations and a deep, darkish, primal bass observe to floor every phrase. Emotive and rolling, there’s the slightest throwback to early breakbeat however there’s a lot innovation right here by way of composition audiences would possibly miss it in the event that they blink.
Fortunately, the following monitor, “Building Tune” units the document straight on the place Alley’s favors lie by way of sound combos. A straight up and down, amen-filled breakbeat monitor of the very best order, right here the artist merges old style sounds, samples and vibes with trendy methods and sound design (and presumably slightly building noise from her personal home) to convey this oft-forgotten-nowadays fashion ahead to 2023. Nonetheless trippy, tribal and completely her personal, “Building Tune” can be cool to listen to combined with different genres, and provided that Alley self-describes her sound as “drum, bass, dubstep, no matter,” it doubtless can be sooner or later.
Our premiere for at the moment is the final monitor on Large Unhealthy Darkish Metropolis, known as “Might Day.” The amen, Venetian Snares-style snare enjoyable is much more entrance and heart on this monitor; the truth is it’s the primary function. Alley’s gone full ambient on this tune on the subject of the upper registers, with sine wave synths swelling out and in of the monitor because the construction is as soon as once more a backwards jungle/breakbeat combo that hearkens again to the inception of D&B. The heat of all these sounds put collectively is actually like nothing else being launched proper now, and it’s clear that’s what this artist needs. The OG heads will acknowledge all of the samples of D&B and digital yore, however youthful audiences will see this monitor for its innovation and clear manufacturing fashion. It’s actually all within the eye – or ear, on this case – of the beholder, and “Might Day” has one thing for each ear.
It appears an 11-year hiatus from manufacturing hasn’t dulled Alley Cat’s compositional senses, nor her sense of what she needs her sound to be. This artist is aware of what she’s about, each within the business and in her creative expression. The Large Unhealthy Darkish Metropolis tends to demand that of its artists, and in Alley Cat’s case, it’s a end result that’s positively well worth the time it took to create.
Large Unhealthy Darkish Metropolis releases tomorrow, September 1 on Armory, a brand new label out of Sacramento. Click on here to buy or stream beginning tomorrow and here for hyperlinks to Alley Cat’s different tasks.