DFRNT: Fading – album review

DFRNT: Fading (Echodub)
Out Now

With a name like DFRNT its easy to assume a comparability to fellow vowel-dropping artists such as SBTRKT, but with further perusal it’s apparent that this is really where the similarity ends. DFRNT has a sonic home of his own that should be paid attention to.

‘Fading’ opens with Silent Witness, a lush dramatic landscape of atmos., reverbing FX, intermittent warm gloomy bass tones and slow-moving, blinkering harmonics. If we were being genre specific, and I’m not one to fly the flag for the importance of genres at all, then I’d be leaning towards calling this ambient chillwave.

The next few tracks have an ambient house feel. Soulful female vocals over 4/4 kicks, heavily reverberated sax loops and closed hi-hats. This is Cafe Del Mar for the dubstep generation. ‘That’s Interesting’ could be London Electricity-era liquid drum and bass if not for the slower beat pattern. In fact there is such a distinct Hospitality influence here it’s almost nostalgic.

We get to ‘Prism’ and the sound takes on more of a techno complexion. It’s still very ambient, not in a minimal way but in a reverb-knob-turned-up-to-the-top-notch way and in it’s overall pace and delivery. It’s wet and spacious, dark and skin-tingling. Here is where the album takes a turn away from soulful uplifting highs and moves into the grimy darker world of bass and snare driven dubstep. The pulsating bass and live sampled snare on ‘Our Little Secret’, the cocky clap that introduces ‘Cruise’ and the cold, contemplative keys, heart-beat kick, sharp stabs and eerie breathless vocal in ‘Suspended In The Deep’ take this side of the album to a creepy, ominous close.

The production on this release is exquisite and for people who enjoy the vibe and soul of ambient atmospheric house music as well as the darker undertones of post-dubstep it’s definitely something you should give a listen to. Some of the ancestors to music like this have laid dormant since the late 90s. Artists like DFRNT may just be ‘different’ enough to resurrect it.

Fading by DFRNT was released on Monday. To go alongside the album, DFRNT is also releasing a limited edition 12” picture-disk EP taking “El Spirito” from the album plus an additional two non-album tracks.

DFRNT’s website is here. DFRNT is also on Facebook, Twitter & Soundcloud.

All words by Rosie Craig. More Louder Than War features by Rosie can be found here. Rosie is also on Twitter as @rosielcraig<.>

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