Emma Rochford takes a listen to the latest drop from Grand Theft Audio Recordings.
Those already familiar with Manchester’s Grand Theft Audio Recordings know that this is a label in the business of putting out music with dancefloor energy. So, it should come as no surprise that this latest release from international drum and bass trio Sola, is jam packed full of heaters designed to make you move.
Having already had a string of high-profile drops on labels like Nuusic and Ram’s little sister Program, Sola (comprising of GTA’s head honchos Nothing To Lose and Echidna plus Brisbane producer Hanm) now team up with singer-songwriter Sammie Hall on ‘Dreaming EP.’ 5 tracks which take us on a journey through the full spectrum of DnB. Expect everything from liquid to neuro and even a smattering of hip hop thrown in for good measure.
Things get under way with the heart-rending ‘Close to You.’ It opens with forebodingly delicate keys (courtesy of Sussex’s Hypolar) before tussling with a weaving reese bass and downright creepy sonics which sound like the cry of something unspeakable lurking in the dark. It’s the type of intro that could be the soundtrack to a dark fairytale. Kind of like what we imagine a Hybrid Minds and Brothers Grimm collab would sound like. Maybe.
But it wouldn’t be a fairytale without a heroine. Luckily, Sammie’s elegant vocals shine through like a beacon in the darkness before the whole thing explodes into a feast of snappy breaks. Despite the irresistible energy, there’s still a menacing edge that lingers right on up to the last note. Don’t blame us if you need to sleep with the light on later.
‘Lost In The Moment’ switches things up entirely with an absolute synth fueled charge through frantic drums and a distorted, wobbly bassline. There’s more than a touch of oldskool videogame audio going on here with much of the melody coming from Sammie’s damn catchy vocals. Be warned, you’ll be humming this one for days to come.
Then the tempo is thrust back down into the blissed-out world of ‘Dreaming Of You.’ This cut is the musical equivalent of a group hug. The jazzy sax is pure sunshine whilst the drop of the low, rumbling bass is just heavy enough to warm your insides.
From the subtle static crackles to the hip hop switches, the whole thing has a beautifully vintage quality to it. Like a memory of summer holidays gone by. Something which Sammie’s airy vocals hammer home when they sing of ‘dreaming of better days’ and ‘drum and bass on the beach.’ We’re right there with them. The instrumental version included as a bonus track is a nice touch for when you’re in need of some real eyes closed, meditative feels.
Next up we have the deeper, darker ‘Another Lesson’. Featuring Bristol beatmaker Jfal, this flex is sure to have you rolling along to its warm sub and tidy drum work. The layers have been intricately crafted with atmospheric pads and wavy piano flourishes yet there’s still a beautiful simplicity that makes this one hit a little different.
In fact, the way ‘Another Lesson’ manages to wield its power over you, conducting you where it wants, just about makes it our favourite of the five tunes on offer.
And that leaves us with ‘Can’t Let You Go.’ Where do we start with this one? Loud and obnoxious, it isn’t here to make friends. The aggressive drums hit you like a jackhammer – an unashamed celebration of going absolutely mental when the adrenaline-fueled drop hits. It’s insane, abrasive but somehow a lot of fun.
At the risk of wheeling out the cliches, there really is something for everyone on this release. Although if you’re a bit of a genre snob, it’s likely that not all the tunes will appeal in equal measure. Not that Sola or Sammie seem to care much about that. This EP is clearly a declaration of their own love for every corner of Drum and Bass. Something they’ve proven they can produce with skill and precision.
It also needs to be said that Sammie’s luscious vocals are as integral to ‘Dreaming EP’ as anything else. They’re the unifying glue that ties the whole thing together and sit just as comfortably against a backdrop of liquid or neuro. It’s no surprise that she’s in high demand at the moment and we think we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in 2021.
Whether you’re looking for a tune to chill out to, vibe to or go absolutely wild to, you’ll find it on ‘Dreaming EP.’ Go grab it now.