Dauntless – Muzzle EP
Words by Mat Taylor
Commercial Suicide, as it’s name suggests, is a label that thrives on pushing the underground, non commercial sounds that keep drum and bass going. While certain tracks will get in to the charts and get played at your local gym or Yates’, tracks on this label generally don’t. They get played at drum and bass events or listened to by unlikely but highly respected musical tyrannosaurs like John Maher of the Buzzcocks. Klute himself was/is in a punk band called ‘The Stupids’ and the DIY ethics that built that genre are often echoed by our own. Hailing from Sydney over in that Australia, Dauntless is the next artist to be given the Commercial Suicide treatment and this five track EP is glorious, rolling DnB perfection.
EP opener and title track ‘Muzzle’ is minimal bassline filth, a screwface inducing bomb that bangs harder than your mother. Reminiscent of early Break and some of Klute’s own dancefloor driven stuff, this is a grunting, no nonsense bastard of a tune that goes straight for your jugular. Behind the bass and the drums are some unsettling ambient chords that drift around in the background, ensuring the atmosphere remains dark throughout. Probably one to mix rather than open with given the simple and short intro, but this will damage any dancefloor irreparably.
Next up is ‘EM Pulse’, which is basically some form of sinister magic. Another simple but ferocious tune that feels like it’s building to an intense crescendo as the filter on the bassline controls the flow of distorted noise throughout the track. The breakdown is typically sparse; one of those ‘eye of the storm’ moments we are all so familiar with. There are even what appear to be seagull noises, which in my opinion is never a bad thing. The second drop is just as powerful as the first as we are sent hurtling back to 2001 when Bad Company ruled and tunes did exactly what they said on the tin.
On the other hand, ‘Fate’ is a minimal and restrained track compared to the rest on this album, it’s knocking, round bassline creating the kind of hypnotic effect that has you dancing and staring at the lights whether you’re altered or not. The sample in the middle reminds us of the importance of observing karma’s inescapable reach, as the words ‘you can’t escape fate’ echo through until the second drop descends. Like Noisia and Teebee’s ‘Time Stops’, this tune has the potential to grow as an understated classic that will become a staple of many warm up or early sets. Then we get ‘Late Resolve’, a greasy, low end stepper with a sting in its tail. The bassline that kicks in after the drop is round, wobbly and downright weird – just how we like it. Dauntless has made an EP that stands proudly among some of Commercial Suicide’s best releases and although all of the tunes are constructed around the same dark, menacing vibe, the EP is quite varied.
The final track ‘Regrets’ is reminiscent of some of the best Survival and Silent Witness tunes. It rolls hard but doesn’t go over the top into screaming, peak time compilation album territory. Chaotic acid synths with reverb float around the ever evolving percussion until the breakdown announces itself. The second drop is fantastic, making this another one you might want to play for a while, rather than mixing out straight away. The dark, rolling bassline doesn’t change but the acid synths are allowed to squelch and wiggle their way over the top, making this a DnB track that nods towards acid techno as well as the hard rolling sound we love Commercial Suicide for.
There’s very little to criticise about this EP and Dauntless is clearly a producer to watch if he’s capable of making beats like this. Like everything that has come out on this incredible label, the ‘Muzzle’ EP is unashamed, underground drum and bass for the diehard fans who know what they like, as well as what they don’t. Trust your instincts on this one. Commercial Suicide has always been one of those rare but brilliant ‘buy on sight’ labels. Nothing has changed.
The Muzzle EP is out now, and you can pick it up direct from Suicide by clicking here, or from all of the other usual outlets.