By Scott T. Sterling
After gorging on the immediate gratification of beats and drops prevalent in the world of big-room bangers, certain facets of EDM are slowly starting to go “one deeper.”
A phrase borne from DJ Dillon Francis’ comedic alter ego, DJ Hanzel, “one deeper” is a cheeky reference to digging further in the crates beyond the obvious hits to unearth music more obscure and ultimately more gratifying that exists on that mythical “next level” beyond the current zeitgeist.
While purist-approved techno won’t be replacing Beatport Top 10 hits on the main stage of EDM festivals anytime soon, more and more fans and artists alike are mining deeper into the myriad dimensions of electronic music for more curated sounds and genres; even Deadmau5 surprised many listeners with his recent album, While (1<2), which eschewed the smooth tension and release of previous releases to produce a much moodier and nuanced effort marked by minimalism, droning passages and restrained beats.
Going much further beneath the surface of modern dance music is where UK producer Scuba (born Paul Rose) exists, meticulously crafting his own ever-evolving sound that’s touched on deep house and classic techno after spending years helping build the original dubstep movement in England with his record label, Hotflush Recordings. The well-respected imprint has a stellar track record, and holds the distinction of issuing the first-ever releases from such notable artists as Joy Orbison and Mount Kimbie.
“I’ve been tentatively working on an album for about 18 months now, and I haven’t gotten any closer to finishing it, to be honest. Doing the Phenix EPs is a reflection of the different stuff I’ve been doing, and are a conscious step away from what I guess a lot of people know me for, which is kind of house-y, straight dance stuff,” Rose said during a recent phone interview. He’s just released the second of three proposed Phenix EPs, which aim to capture his latest take on underground sounds. “Obviously there’s a lot more than that in my catalog, but what I’ve released over the past couple of years, from the (2012) Personality album has been sort of like that. I’m repositioning, I suppose. It’s a good way to get some music out without having to release a formal album quite yet.
“I’ve changed my DJ set quite a lot over the past three or four months,” he continued. “I’m playing much harder, more techno and atmospheric beats, but pretty hard. It’s very reflective of the music I’ve been producing lately. I move around every year or so and change what I’m doing.”
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