Release date: 15th Jan 2016
Label: Darker Than Wax
Deep Shoq’s sophomore release with Darker Than Wax treads further into uptempo territory, with complex rhythms and minimal samples. Krystallise is a clean, concise EP that hits the ground running. Crisp production and innovative beats are the stars of these tracks, and they take you on a trip that will keep you coming back for seconds.
Opening with soulful vocal stabs and synth-chords, 'Wishful' builds on an anthemic handclap/snare driven beat, which erupts into a cyclic, face-melting breakdown. With some tastefully placed buildups and shattering drops, this track introduces us to the array of sounds that Deep Shoq introduces in this concise EP. Watch for the delicate, running hi-hat that carries the song to its close.
This album is worlds away from his work in Have Yourself A Flight and Life Of Swing, which was more of a warm, kick-and-bass stroll. At the same time, it still holds on to the relaxed soul melodies of his music, through the familiar synths that linger in the background of 'After Halftime'. Here in the midst of his technical beat we find smart breaks that give this track a wonderful ebb and flow. The sampled hook is a definite dip into the mainstream, though reeking of déja vu, works well with the clean-cut production.
But 'I’m Free' is my favorite track on the album. While his drum and bass-influenced technicality pushes the pulse further into more aggressive ground, Deep Shoq still manages to retain his laid-back vibe by keeping the kick further back in the mix. Add the atmospheric, reverb-washed sample and the warm bass line to counter the hyperactive hi hat, and you get the most immersive number on this EP.
'S.O.A.K.' is a journey in itself. It takes forays into different soundscapes then returns to its glitchy and immensely catchy melody. It’s no wonder this varied and in-your-face track has garnered over twenty-eight thousand plays on Soundcloud, twice that of all the other tracks’ combined.
While Krystallise doesn’t rework the wheel, it is a solid, consistent collection of songs brimming with texture and dexterity, a laudable work in Shoq's portfolio. Its familiar influences give it a range of accessibility, making it easy to listen to, while its intricacy keeps it fresh. Deep Shoq does not disappoint!
Deep Shoq's Krystallise is now available through Darker Than Wax.