ALL WORDS: B CHIDDY.
I got a special chance to review the latest release by one of Cape Town’s top Dnb Dj/Prodcucers: Phaze
The release is called New Wave Order and is being hailed as South Africa’s hottest Dnb original albums.
This is the MCBN review of New Wave Order.
NEW WAVE ORDER:
New Wave Order is the perfect introduction into Phaze’s album of the same name and shows Phaze’s determination to stake his claim on the South African Drum and Bass industry. The track is the perfect way to kick off the album with its big and atmospheric drops setting the tone for what’s to come throughout the album. It keeps the listener on the edge of their seat wanting more.
This is Phaze’s intention as he takes you on an audio journey to higher understanding of not only Phaze, but of Drum and Bass as a whole.
With dreamscape, phaze shows he’s unique grasp on the drum and bass genre through creating a track equally as seductive while listening on headphones at home or through the system at ITCFJ.. trust me, I’ve heard it on both. The atmospheric pad and build-ups take the listener into short and punchy neuro-funk leads, soulfully cross-sectioned by airy and melodic synth stabs. This juxtaposition of sounds is perfectly defined by the tracks title, fully immersing the listener in phazes unique production style.
One of the more introspective tracks on the album, Breathe sweeps the listener away inside its dripping wet vocal lead and melodic synth line. This follows perfectly from the previous track with the heavily side-chained lead giving the impression of the track breathing accompanied by lyrics such as “nothing is for certain” and “nothing makes no sense” taking the listener deeper inside an audio dream state.
With Kyoto setting the tone of a futuristic and neon light city, the airy and melodic nature of the previous two tracks is traded away for a darker and more rhythmic sound with slight vocal cuts aiding the transition. By teaming up with Phizisist, no stranger within the bass music arena of South Africa, Phaze has given us a track reminiscent of old 2 step and Garage classics, with its drum line being impossible to stay still to and a bassline so precise it could split atoms.
Such a production shows us not only Phaze’s range but also his impeccable ability to merge two styles of production together.
Llundudno is a track dripping with Phaze’s style with sharp melodic arpeggios, rolling drum lines and bouncy synthesizer leads being classic Phaze trade marks.
At this point in the album takes a more upbeat direction, with Llundudno being the perfect selection to transition into what is to come. For the non-Cape Tonians that did’t catch it… the track’s name fits perfectly with the overall vibe of the track, giving the listener visions of summer trips to the beach ending in hot summer nights somewhere in Long Street.
As the title suggests this track takes the listener into the darker more neuro-funk influenced portion of the album, and boy what a way to do it. Opening with a menacing and punchy drum line, progressing through a filtered sample of Emperor Palpatine. This finally gives way to a searing build and bassline Sub Focus himself would be proud of. All of this combined makes Darkside one of the biggest bangers on the album and one that is sure to be coming to a rave near you.
At this point the album takes an emotional turn for not only Phaze, but all within the Drum and Bass industry of South Africa. Underground features the late Kamashe’ whose tragic passing both shocked and saddened those who knew him. With the album being released in his honour, its fitting that the both Underground and Raptor embody Phaze and Kamashe’s collaborations. The jump style influenced drum line is expertly paired with the voice of UK based MC Coppa with the unique lead being something to behold and cutting through the track like a hot knife through butter.
This makes Underground a definite crowd shaker and secret weapon of any aspiring Drum and Bass DJ.
If you thought Underground would be the biggest track on the album, and I don’t blame you, but you’d be wrong.
Raptor… how do I do you justice?
Well…the chord progression starting the track off is something able to bring a tear to your eye, a fitting start to the final Kamashe’ feature on the album. This coupled with crunchy and fat melodic synthesizer lines and a sprinkling of raptor calls sets the scene for one of the biggest Dnb drops in South African history. The punchy rolling drumlines, provide the perfect palette for a bassline straight out of Jurassic Park 3 (The one where the raptors are wild as hell). If one was to hear this track with no context, they could easily assume it was something produced in the UK and for that reason I’m sure that in time it will become the flagship track for South African Dnb.
You’ll be remembered through your music. RIP Kamashe’.
With the track opening to a raining city somewhere in the world, the listener is taken into a dark place often described in Film Noir. The change up in style once again shows Phaze’s production range and keeps the listener guessing in terms of whats coming next.The merging of electro influence with Phaze’s production style can be heard through its 4 to the floor beat and crunching bassline.
Arcane is a word defined as “understood by few; mysterious or secret”. This describes not only one of the more intricate and complex tracks on the album, but in someway Phaze himself. The opening piano progression is one that fills the listener with feelings of hope and taking them out of any dark place they might be in. This piano gives way to a more synthesized sound of similar nature and glide of the liquid bassline wobbles and classic drumlines making Arcane one of the more classically Dnb tracks on the album.
Teaming up with Fearbace for Two Worlds, Phaze has given us not only a beautiful song but also one of the best collaborations between two artists I have ever heard. The song is the perfect metaphor of a bridge between two artists as well as a bridge between the listener and the producer. The stretched out and airy vocals and leads glide over a clear and percussive drum line easily taking the listener into another world, or state of being for that matter.
Half way through the track we even see a key change further reinforcing the notion of bridging the gap between two worlds as well as the introduction of Fearbace’s live guitar recording being making the track easy to get lost inside.
Ending off the album is an atmospheric and down-tempo track giving us 2:31 minutes of reflection over the album. If Phaze set out to take the listener on a journey towards what he calls the “New Wave Order”, skillfully conceptualized through the album art, he has done so masterfully. Through his unique style of production he has guided the listener to a higher understanding of Drum and Bass.
NWO is an achievement no one will soon forget. Not only does it put Phaze on the map, it puts South Africa on the map.
Buy this album whether you are a DNB enthusiast or not, you will not be let down.