In a high level, high output ecosystem that is Dubstep, one that can feel a little saturated and overwhelming at times, it can be tricky to explicitly stand out from the crowd. Yet this is something that Barcelona based producer Kodama has achieved in a significantly short period of time. Dreamy soundscapes and colourful melodies have become synonymous with the Kodama name and his debut on one of my favourite imprints, Subaltern Records, testifies to the sound. ‘Cronauer‘ EP explores many areas of the Kodama sound but his signature elements assuredly sit front and centre throughout.
However before an intoxicating display of his radiant qualities, Kodama welcomes one of Dubstep’s most well known characters, LX One. The MC turned producer, turned label founder encourages Kodama into darker corners on this one, teasing out his aggressive side with any inhibitions left at the door. Big hits of gritty bass gets things moving with vigorous drums, before Kodama‘s unmistakeable flickering bells briefly offset the power. But for the most part, ‘Cronauer‘ is the EP’s sound-system missile that takes no prisoners. Doing a full 180, the following ‘Piranha Plant‘ is definitely one for the core Kodama fans. From the onset, he allows an array of wandering chimes and layered harmonies to effortlessly swim through a body of sub-zero waters, continuously building on itself for the duration. After more than a few listens however, the vinyl’s swan song ‘Dorsia‘ must go down as my favourite on the EP. Although Kodama lays out another arrangement of bright chimes and energy fuelled bells, there’s something darker lurking here, something ominous, bolstered by dominant 808’s, wistful tones and a knockout second drop. This one feels particularly moving and contemplative, something I find myself purposely rooting for recently.
For the digital crew, like a refreshing palette cleanser, Kodama drops two more of his invigorating cuts for digital exclusives, now a regular component to Subaltern‘s releases. ‘Il Tempo è Oro‘ welcomes Italian vocalist Shenza to work his silky flow over Kodama‘s hip-hop swinging production, before seeing off the EP with the laid back ‘Crookshanks‘. Another relaxed, whimsical tune with accents of the far east. One that sends you away in a mellow, satisfied state, as does the majority of Kodama‘s creations.
As a producer who’s snuck up on me over the last year or so, one who’s music simply falls into my hands like a hot comforting mug of cocoa, Kodama‘s ‘Cronauer‘ EP will keep me warm through the forthcoming winter. Though his sound is distinct and lucid, it can be moulded into whichever shape he so chooses, which is why, in a short period of time, he finds himself on the likes of Rarefied, FatKidOnFire, Eat My Beat and now the prolific Subaltern Records.
SUBALT026 is out this Friday (9th October) and is available on vinyl from the Subaltern Records store.