Dexta: Goomba Riddim / Vintage

Though Londoner Chris Royle is a co-founder of Diffrent Music, this recent Dexta release comes to us by way of none60, the label overseen by Silent Dust duo Dan Blishen (Zyon Base) and Andy Hobbs (Hobzee). The two-tracker is, in fact, Royle's third release for none60, and it's a good one. Dexta's, of course, associated with drum'n'bass but, like the scene's best producers, brings inordinately high levels of imagination and craft to his productions, so much that they generally transcend the genre. Many different styles thread their way into a typical Dexta track, and consequently it makes more sense to affix a more open-ended label like bass music to it than drum'n'bass specifically. Labels aside, the material's always fresh and innovative.

Illustrating the point grandly, the deep roller “Goomba Riddim” begins with a trippy intro of arcade-styled flurries, smears, and squelches before easing into a dynamic, bass-thumping pulse that Royle conjoins to a sing-song synth melody as the cut's primary earworm. Closer inspection of the arrangement reveals fleeting amen accents and a jungle groove buried so deeply it verges on subliminal; in fact, the element would probably be missed altogether if the lead melody didn't drop out ever so briefly to allow the track's skeleton to show itself. Its slightly harder and rather skittish partner “Vintage” opens with dizzying industrial-styled treatments (hammer blows and the like) before a bass-burning, double-time groove adds a lethal edge that's pushed even further when a barrage of popping snares and fulminating kick drums comes thundering in. Calling these incredible cuts drum'n'bass hardly does them justice, even if it's obviously part of the mix.

July 2017