Layer 8, the premiere 2methyl (formerly 2methylBulbe1ol) full-length by Nicolas Druoton, locates itself at the noisier end of the dubstep and drum'n'bass spectrums (the album title itself derives from the tech industry, the term a reference to “the human endpoint of a technology”). Aggressive and dark, it's one of those rambunctious breaks-based affairs that more often than not plays like a particularly intense seizure rendered into musical form. Even referring to it as drum'n'bass is rather off-the-mark, considering that it has little in common with the kind of genre-related material conceived with the dancefloor in mind; if anything, it would make more sense to speak of Layer 8 in the context of industrial, breakcore, or grindcore, whatever the genre-related differences, given the degree to which it exudes a similar kind of ferocity. The material's cybernetic tone is not only intimated by a representative track such as the nightmarish “Mainframe” but also the complex artwork provided by Okiko.
In essence, Layer 8 presents forty-two minutes of ultra-dense and sometimes claustrophobic instrumental atmospheres. Some tracks roar at a rapid clip while others grind slowly; regardless of the tempo, Druoton smothers the material in thick layers of grime and ooze, resulting in productions rich in cinematic suggestiveness. Beats flail throughout “Fragments,” their dizzy character bolstered by waves of electronic noise that swirl as incessantly, whereas “Lab” seethes and throbs with single-minded determination. Druoton deflects accusations of one-dimensionality by working subtle contrasts into the nine tracks, such that while one is powered by a steamrolling groove (“Stase”), another is more downtempo and dubstep-oriented by comparison (“Dive”); lo and behold, he even finds room for a few relatively calm episodes (see “Shelter”). All things considered, one might think of Layer 8 as Druoton's attempt to shift his music away from the club floor to zones more abstract and experimental in nature.