London-based electronic producer Charlie Fieber has been releasing tracks under his Fracture alias since 2006, and he’s spent the ensuing decade and half amassing an impressively large backcatalogue of 12” releases under the pseudonym on labels including Metalheadz, Exit and his own Astrophonica imprint. While Fracture’s roots lie in drum and bass, he’s increasingly shifted towards more footwork / juke-centred sounds, something that this latest four track 12” EP ‘Big Up The Ladies’ (which arrives on the heels of his recent excellent ‘Gradients Vol. 2’ compilation) sees continuing.
Title track ‘Big Up The Ladies’ kicks things open with a rush of icy synth stutters and ragga vocal samples before rapid fire footwork snare rolls lock into position against bouncing bass drops and dark distorted synths, the bright melodies that play off the rhythmic groove calling to mind early UK rave more than anything else, particularly as ‘Amen’ breaks intertwine with sweet female backing vocal shoutouts to the soundboy.
After a hyperspeed turntable spinback, it’s straight into ‘Percussion Sweet’, which kicks the rattling footwork pace up a few notches before sending evil distorted rave synths snarling against eerily blurred out female vocal samples and bleeping electronics, the resulting juke / junglist hybrid sitting somewhere between DJ Rashad and Doc Scott.
On the flipside, ‘Verhoeven’ opts for a coldly futuristic electro feel as bubbling bass synth sequences dart against powering kickdrums and snares, the eerily flickering phased synth arpeggios that enter halfway through introducing a sense of ominous atmosphere as vast distorted rave stabs howl through the mix against skittering acid squelches.
If there’s a slight Prodigy goes juke feel to the aforementioned track, ‘Sci-Fi Tramp’ tosses some dubstep elements into the equation, as sub-bass wobbles arc against coldly robotic synth sequences, the hammering snare rolls and dubbed-out kicks battling for space against the frenetically pulsing electronics. An inspired EP that sees Fracture throwing some fresh UK twists into his footwork-fuelled excursions.