Spotlight: Thelem – Informers EP (CHAPTERS004)

‘Spotlight’ is a recent addition to the blog where I review a release from the last few weeks that may have flown over the radar or didn’t make it onto the Weekly Buzz, but still feel it needs to be covered.

Having SØL feature back in September with ‘Fungi EP‘ on Kaarbanik Sound, this time we go stateside as Thelem is next to take the spotlight! 

Following his ‘Third Time Lucky‘ EP back in the summer, LA producer Thelem fires out more heat on his exclusive label ‘CHAPTERS‘ before the years end. Having risen through the ranks over the last half a decade on labels like Artikal Music and Innamind, he has recently been opting for the independent route by establishing his own imprint, opening up another avenue to release his finest, most sought after material. As one of my favourites, I’ve found Thelem has gradually perfected his craft to such a point, you can immediately recognise his productions going in blind. 
Exhibit A being the EP’s opener and title track ‘Informers‘. 

‘Informers’ is one of Thelem‘s more intense, atmospheric works, however all evidence still points to his instantly recognisable sound. Full of tension from the outset, the opening track is introduced through harsh intermittent percussive hits and dread filled drones that foreshadows the tracks intentions. The echoes of a brief intimidating vocal sample leads the track into its cinematic meditative journey through throbbing low end and that classic distorted Thelem mid range, full of attitude and grit that sits just on the right side of noisy. The lively sound palette that Thelem always establishes so well continues throughout this heavyweight roller creating such texture and personality, it’s hard to deny the tracks power.

Things get particularly cold on the following track ‘Choppah‘, my favourite of the three. A super icy lead synth fleshes out the intro as deep vibrations are teased in through occasional throbs of sub-bass, with the pressure constantly building up until to the drop. That crisp catchy melody continues after the mammoth drop, moulding itself around the chaos that has ensued at a ferocious pace and eventually developing into a more manic looping lead. Even with the pads and synths dropped, the super unique bass line takes centre stage, relentlessly sweeping back and forth. Again, it’s those little details that really completes the track; additions of eerie chuckles on the breaks and various click clacks filling the space, upon each listen there’s always something new to discover. 

If you’re already familiar with his work, then you’d know that no Thelem EP is complete without a half time face melter. I’ve always found that Thelem‘s sound is perfect for this tempo and the concluding track ‘Uno‘ only strengthens this belief . Coming in hot with plenty of bounce and rhythm, this is where the genres perfectly combine, from DnB influences to elements of Hip Hop, this is one is a serious half time banger with stacks of character.  

Informers‘ is a perfectly dark, powerful EP, one that’s probably Thelem’s most intense, emotive pieces of work to date. Naturally rowdy and robust, most of the time his productions are fairly audacious although never crossing the line. It’s the attitude and the right amount of brashness that really sets Thelem apart from the rest and ‘Informers‘ demonstrates this in its entirety.

CHAPTERS004 is out now and available digitally from the Chapters Bandcamp.

Check out Thelem on Soundcloud and Twitter.