While he’s perhaps best known to many listeners as a member of Perth-based noise / experimental rock band Injured Ninja, last year’s ‘Transmissions’ EP saw Jake Steele going solo to explore territory more informed by dubstep, industrial-edged hiphop and abstract electronic influences. Six months on, this second download-only EP, aptly titled ‘Responses’ sees Steele shifting the gears up several notches and offering up four new tracks that take their influence far more from darkstep drum and bass. ‘Covert Strike’ sends the listener hurtling straight into the centre of the action as dark bass synths buzz and growl amidst a furious storm of rolling Amen breaks, the combination of drilling snares and unpredictably bendy electronics calling to mind some meeting point between Klute’s brooding, sculpted landscapes and The Teknoist’s more breakcore-centred junglist aesthetic.
‘Revolt’s meanwhile sees eerie background synth atmospherics heightening the sense of tension before a fierce backbone of breakbeats locks into place, almost calling to mind the whirling blades of some helicopter gunship as sinister chorale samples inject a sense of underlying doom, shortly before the entire track suddenly uncoils into a series of cavernous sub-bass drops. If the aforementioned track offers up one of the only overt nods to dubstep here, ‘Bedlam’ sees Steele dropping heavily manipulated scrap metal samples in amongst the writhing synth lines and jackhammering percussion, the sense of relentlessly grinding rhythmic warfare evoking the ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’-esque battle mech of the cover art wading into pitched battle against an oncoming horde of robotic drones. All up, ‘Responses’ offers up a descent into dark cyber-jungle that’s as invigorating as it is menacing.