Trace – Opaque EP [CNVX]

Trace’s return to Drum & Bass production over the last year has been most welcome. While his work as an A&R / label boss for both jungle-focussed imprint 117 and legendary techstep label DSCI4 has been thoroughly on point, his brand of no-nonsense rolling darkness has been thoroughly lacking from the scene until the surprising drop of the Zone EP last year. Clearly Trace is back on it with gusto, and this year we’ve got four new cuts courtesy of Kid Drama’s CNVX.

If ever it was possible for a release to sound both retro and futuristic, Trace’s productions here do. Stylistically they’re not dissimilar to his legendary output in the heyday of the late 90s techstep explosion, and they definitely hark back to that slightly forgotten sound…but at the same time the ethos of that material always drew on sci-fi for an ethereal, futuristic sonic palette, which definitely feels more than present here. Combine that with the razor sharp production available in 2019 and you’re back to the future in a big way.

For anyone sick of the ever-so-slightly-ADD hyperactivity of modern neurofunk, the Opaque EP is the perfect antithesis. Rolling breaks inject the funk, dark bass riffs give the tunes their weight, and the focus is very much a less-is-more aesthetic; groove and progression over endless variations and switchups. We don’t know what Trace has been listening to but maybe there’s a techno influence in the song writing creeping in here? Either way this is a delicious collection of techstep grooves, and a cracking take on a vintage sound. Hit up the CNVX Bandcamp to grab it straight from the source now…

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