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REVIEW: Skull N Tones ‘Blaze’

No one can be quite sure why but ever since the early days of the nu-electronic dance scene there’s been a number of artists who appear no longer just happy to express themselves by way of mix n’ blend. Or even in the studio. In fact, masks, gimmicks and elaborate aliases now almost go hand in hand with a scene that sometimes can become too overly concerned with the style as opposed to the substance.

Unfortunately the result of artists choosing to hide their identities in order to add some mystique or intrigue to their music can sometimes bring about a harsh realisation for the artist in question. As great as it must feel spinning to 5,000 plus whilst wearing your signature face covering, it takes a certain level of commitment to wear a mask or outfit when playing smaller, more intimate venues when you’re still expected to buy your own drinks at the bar.

So it’s refreshing that the New York duo known as Skull N Tones are confident enough in their sound and their style to do exactly that. Their music is sublimely crafted with a clear focus on the underground. Whilst the Skull N Tones sound pallet is largely made up of brash, brazen synths and whirring 808 drum loops there’s some striking ideas and concepts built into what is chiefly a trap style. Asides from the the more obvious musical influences such as reggae, dub and bashment there’s a wider range of culturally inspired elements running deep within their music. And non such more than on Skull N Tones latest digital release, Blaze.

Blaze exemplifies its creators ice-cold production prowess in a little over 3 minutes. The beat opens with shimmering pan-pipes whistling against a b-boy inspired lead vocal sample. It’s a stark accompaniment as the enchanting far-eastern melodies and raw percussive lines become intwined with the track’s off-kilter bass. As Blaze approaches it’s mid-point the beat takes a somewhat dramatic change of direction switching to half time and audaciously replacing its ancient eastern feel with something darker, occultist, possibly, as the track comes to a close.

About The Author

Dan Hudson Smith

London based electronic dance music blogger, supporter and biscuit enthusiast. Get me...

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