Santa Barbara-based DJ and producer Underbelly has released his three-track EP “Ripple”. Most B-rate DJ/Producers can string together a bunch of tunes, make it sound like a chop shop and sell records. But very few can make listening to their music seem like a true journey due to their technical proficiency and music acumen.
“Ripple” unfolds and unfurls at its own hypnotic rate, letting the music and beats breath and gain life. Many people will delight in listening to the “You Suck at Producing,” web series producer forge his musical territory on this EP.
There are no hand-raising, glow-stick waiving breaks here. What you get is well-thought out, airy, elegantly glittering soundscapes – the kind that gets under your skin, permeates your blood stream, and possesses your being in a steady, subtle, yet gripping way.
These tracks are mid-tempo, accurate and deliciously rhythmical with plenty of layered vocal samples and shimmering pianos. Apart from the track, “The End”, on “Breather” and “Stingray”, Underbelly uses the voice samples more as a percussive instrument than a melody line, and the effect is refreshingly attractive to the ear.
Reverb and echo flows through the sprawling beat of “Stingray”, sculpting a surreal soundscape with plenty of spacy ambience. The sound effects, chilling sweeps and haunting voices come from all directions, adding color and sparks to the relentless bass groove that grips your soul.
Just listen to the surreal mix of “Breather” and the beaming mystical energy this track emits. It feels as though someone is calling you from your subconscious mind through a deep blue ocean of your imagination. The razor sharp mixing, the captivating track succession and the ethereal effects put you in a world that only someone as dedicated to sound as Underbelly, can build.
This release is unlike anything I have ever heard and reveals the genius in the mind of its creator. Yet at the same time the music is never overwhelming or heavy handed. There are a lot of subtle change-ups to keep you interested and Underbelly’s technique is impeccable. His productions sound more mature and cutting edge than many of his contemporaries – it’s smoother, more refined and more subtle.
Underbelly’s captivating rhythmic patterns, effected vocal samples and subtle melodies emerge during peaks to add to the growing intensity to each track. The result is a surprisingly listenable selection of songs. “Ripple” is not a fast-paced and banging electronic recording, but let this one play a few times and it will grab a hold of you and not let go!