Let's discuss Abstract Elements' Tenderness EP on MethLab
Russian Drum and Bass duo, Abstract Elements (Bop and Diagram) contribute their first EP to MethLab. They bring forth 4 tracks that all fall under a fresh Drum and Bass mantle, neatly fit in what they would like to call Buckweath Funk (ГРЕЧАФАНК): a dark left field relative of Neurofunk.
Yes, these tunes are quirky, techy, and even funny. They fall in line with their previous releases, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. Indeed, some of these tracks have been played in sets (from ГРЕЧАФАНК or associated artists) over 4 years ago. Fret not, these tunes have the timeless signature only Abstract Elements can pull of.
The EP packs quite a diverse palette, from rolling funk to straight mindfucks.
Tenderness opens the EP with classic techstep pads and atmosphere - Dissonant and slightly lo-fi. Glitched and snappy drums build-up the track to an entrancing riff in the drop.
Very smoothly, the buckwheat groove enters gabber-like terrain. This further intensifies the bleepy lick in an unnerving fashion. The second drop isn’t shy of trippy vibes either, adding 303-lines to the mix. Only Abstract Elements can pull off combining acid, gabber, microfunk and techstep. This track could be hit-or-miss in the club, but the vibes should be a total sweeper in an open minded crowd. Don’t expect me knowing how to dance to it though.
Fans of Abstract Elements should already know this track. Hitting off with a stepping groove and quirky pads, it drops into one hell of a roller (maybe even an anthem). The 'rubber-like' synth hooks perfectly to complement the wobbly bassline, stepping up the vibe. The track has a quite minimal build and although there is some nice little variation, don’t expect a lot of variety or a very different arrangement, although this doesn’t make the track bad in any sense since it clearly works. Buckwheat funk isn’t here for complexity, but about effective, quirky grooves.
With the third track, we enter dark roller terrain. From the intro on it’s clear that this track is going to be heavy. The break would perfectly fit in 2000-era tech step without sounding outdated.
With their signature glitchy sounds, Abstract Elements adds freshness into the mix. The drop is very reminiscent of the sound of Konflict, Bad Company, C4C and more. The modulated, gritty bassline gets alternated by the cool techy stabs we all love, while the groove never stops. Abstract Elements possess a strange signature, but they still successfully tailor their tunes for the dancefloor.
I've no idea what the track title is in reference to, but I can say this track establishes itself in microfunk territory. Lush pads, glitchy percussion, and an awesome bleepy synth line, until a ragga/jungle vocal sample pops the sweet flavored atmo-bubble and brings in a halftime beat. Full of quirky glitches, the drop continues an unstable groove. Noisy and lo-fi, this track easily distinguishes itself from the others and definitely has a minimal approach, but in a more textured fashion.
A few years of waiting for some of these tracks to be released was worth it. This EP ticks off the groove, quirk, glitch, and technical boxes. A lot of these ideas shouldn’t work conceptually, but the EP proves that hypothesis wrong. MethLab is a place for left field, brooding music and sonic experimentation - a perfect fit for this four-tracker. If you like weird and fresh sound, don’t refrain from this one.