While Bristol-based electronic producer Jim Coles is best known for his bass music and electro-oriented productions as Om Unit, back in 2011 he released three download-only EPs consisting of footwork re-edits of jungle classics as Philip D. Kick, before he seemingly retired the alternate alias forever. Seven years on, this 12” EP on Astrophonica ‘Pathways’ sees Coles re-igniting the Philip D Kick alias with five new tracks that see him continuing to fuse footwork’s hyper-rhythmic structures with classic drum and bass and jungle elements, with consistently inspired results.
On the A-side, ‘In Formation’ kicks things straight out into sped-up double time ‘Amen’ breaks and stuttered vocal samples, before the beats drop out and a wiggly worm-style synth line rises to the front of mix, propelling things off on a rattling journey that calls to mind some meeting point between DJ Rashad and the Moving Shadow label, as the jiggling synth-line mutates into an acid 303 squelch against sheeny pads and airless sounding handclaps.
‘Work That’ meanwhile cuts up and scatters a vocal sample intoning the title phrase against jittery rolls of percussion, ‘Pacific 202’-esque synth washes and cascades of polyrhythmic snares that sound like aluminium cans, the pitched-up diva samples and stabbing melodic riffs sealing the direct lineage to classic warehouse rave along the lines of 2 Bad Mice and Playing With Knives.
Elsewhere, ‘Drown’ drops the pace slightly, jacking a Gangstarr vocal samples before building up a dense web of metallic batucada rhythms, only for the beats to evolve in a more Squarepusher-esque jungle direction against jazzy clavinet keys and dubbed-out effects, before ‘Vibe Off’ sees Coles collaborating with Chicago footwork figurehead DJ Spinn to fuse rapid-fire snare runs with bass-heavy tom drops, the second half wandering out into a curiously jazzy collision of shuffling breakbeats, chilly organ tones and chirping, pitched-up vocal snippets. Given that classic jungle and footwork are such obvious stylistic cousins, it’s surprising that more footwork practitioners (Machinedrum being an obvious exception) haven’t made the connection.