Seba – Stasis/Inner World
Words by Ant Christou
It’s been a while since I last tackled the review of a fresh release and in that time, something special has infiltrated the promo list. Codenamed SECOPS025 this top secret piece of breakbeat technology comes straight from one of the finest labels in drum and bass, Seba’s Secret Operations.
You may not have noticed, but over here at One Hour One DJ, we really, really like Seba (and if you don’t go and listen to ‘Jungle Music’ and then come back!). His music channels a rugged authenticity that’s often lacking in the overwhelming tidal wave of content that is abundant today and his versatility knows no bounds; from luscious smooth rolling liquid tinged with flawlessly crafted breaks to his rumbling and sub heavy thrashing amen workouts, he’s not an artist who is known to disappoint.
The latest hush hush project from the Secret Operations camp comes directly from the enigmatic boss himself, two cutting edge pieces of music, both experimental in nature and brilliant in execution, and together forming the first release for the label of 2017. The first, ‘Stasis’ is an evolution of what started out as a Native Instruments Maschine experiment. Featuring a variety of expertly tailored drum and break patterns triggered in sequence across a soundscape of cosmic proportions, this is a testament to the power of simple elements combined to make something much more than the sum of its parts. It harkens back to an earlier style of engineering, just breaks, pads, subtle sampling and a carefully fabricated sub bass but the modern production techniques invigorate it and turn it into a gorgeously intricate bit of music. It’s flawlessly put together and fluidly evolves and transforms almost ceaselessly. In fact, if you didn’t know its roots as a collection of individually triggered parts you’d be none the wiser as it comes together like a conscious stream of thought put into action. Part deep euphoric roller, part drumfunk workout this is one that will really take you away.
For the flip we get ‘Inner World.’ It’s been lying dormant for a long time, a project some thought would never see the light of day, but Seba’s dug into the vaults and finished it up just in time for the start of the New Year. It immediately channels an early Metalheadz vibe: dark, menacing, and gritty, haunted by psychedelically warped and echoed vocals. Booming rolls of low end engineering quake with every hit of the kick and the percussion is crisp and technical, skittering and dancing around the other elements, weaving its way through the track and every so often culminating in a massively satisfying drum fill. This is basement music, no doubt about it, best served cold with dim lighting, a couple of strobes, low ceilings and a metric tonne of moody energy.
This release is one for the heads and those with an ear for production. The quality of the craftsmanship, the precision of the arrangement and the uncompromising vision are certain to satisfy even the most critical of beard stroking, head nodding, disapproving junglists. But who are we kidding, you knew from the start this was going to be good and so did we. Secret Operations have not disappointed.
Considering we’re not even a week into 2017, it’s looking like a very promising year for music…