The Weekly Buzz – 23/08/2021

Over recent years, it’s become more common to see record labels deliver new material month after month and hey, I’m not complaining! Yet there are still a few that aren’t so hyperactive and instead hibernate for a little while, before re-emerging with a new must cop release. LX One‘s Vantage Records has developed into such a label. Since launching mid 2019, Vantage Records have sporadically delivered some top shelf material from the likes of LX One himself, Welsh trio LSN and that huge ‘Last Train‘ EP by DJ Squarewave, but it’s only now that we get to consume new Vantage material for the first time in 2021! Contrary to the label’s teasing infrequency, it’s latest signing, Kodama, remains on an absolute tear regarding new releases. He’s featured on the likes of Infernal Sounds, Rarefied and LDH Records this year alone and each time the Barcelona based artist reveals something so refreshing and unforgettable. He continues to pull no punches with this latest release, ‘Ish‘ EP, as his unmistakeable melodic sound continues to evolve.

It’s the EP’s leading track ‘Ish’ that initially captured my attention. Unlike most of his productions, it reveals a much more aggressive side to Kodama. With his usual vibrant melodic work taking a back seat, abrasive fading wobbles and raucous mid-range sweeps deliver the meatiest tune of the EP, with those subtle eccentric samples adding to this darker Kodama flavour. However as the EP progresses, his familiar tones continue to find their way back to the forefront. Floating above heavy, bouncing double kicks, ‘Strays‘ introduces a brighter combination of light and breezy instrumentation which weaves it’s way into the following ‘Oshigata‘, a very soft and melodic track on the face of it, but boy are those subs pumpin’! The EP’s collaborative track, ‘Yurei‘, rounds off the record, featuring a producer previously unknown to myself, Dabbs. It’s a final dose of melancholia whereby a dry and sobering flute flutters by the side of soft and sullen piano chords, pulling the strings towards pensive finale. Those percs slap though!

When I see or hear the Kodama name, I (along with others I’m sure), expect to be absorbed by melody and ethereal tones, however upon each project, there always seems to be a fresh element to enjoy and this latest release is a shining example. From the aggressive to the melancholic, to the bright and the beautiful, I would say Kodama has reached a final form here, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be saying something similar upon his next inevitable masterpiece!

Ish‘ EP is out 20/08/2021 and available to download from the Vantage Records Bandcamp.

Check out Kodama on Soundcloud and Instagram.
Check out Vantage Records on Soundcloud and Instagram.