It’s been a good two years since London-based electronic producer Reso (real name Alex Melia) released his impressive second album ‘Ricochet’ on Hospital Records, but he’s hardly been idle in the interim, producing a soundtrack for a VR-based Playstation 4 game amongst other activities. While he was initially associated with vast hulking mecha-styled dubstep, like many other producers of that genre Reso’s increasingly shifted more towards dark drum and bass, something that this latest 12” EP ‘Kodama’, the first release on his own RX0 label sees continuing. As with Reso’s preceding material, it’s the incredible drum programming and sense of vast scale that really impresses on these four new tracks.
Title track ‘Kodama’ opens this EP with what’s easily its most headstrong junglist moment as trailing ambient pads and liquid sounds give way to hammering timestretched breakbeats, the dark brooding bass progressions sending emotional chills down the spine as they build and shift beneath the onrush of snares and kicks. It isn’t long before glittering synth arpeggios emerge out of the darkness, merging with chilly background drones to create a vaguely prog-synth atmosphere reminiscent of Tangerine Dream crossed with an anime soundtrack.
If ‘Kodama’ offers up what’s easily the most epic junglist wander here, traversing just under eight minutes in length, ‘Fluid Mechanics’ changes the pace, dropping a slow swaggering hiphop beat beneath gaseous ambient synths and blurred soul keys, funky clavinet accents dripping at the very edges as distant horns and guitar bends echo through the woozy mix, the wavering off-centre beats introducing an unmistakeably post-J. Dilla feel.
On the flipside, ‘Tiberium’ flips the switch back towards darkstep drum and bass, as growling synths fuse themselves to a backbone of flexing tech-y breakbeats, the phased female soul vocals and twinkling keys that drape themselves over the sheeny production layers suggesting classic Metalheadz, before ‘Mantis’ closes this EP with another curveball as Reso sends snapping 4/4 house rhythms gliding beneath writhing swells of distorted sub-bass as sampled MC yells while razor-sharp synth-lines arc and buzz in the foreground, in what’s easily the most bassbin testing track here. Once again Reso proves himself to be a master of the art.