Available on: Punch Drunk 12″

Fresh from a busy 2009 that included releases on Planet Mu, Formant and Berkane Sol, Shortstuff (one third of broken garage trio Blunted Robots with Brackles and Martin Kemp) starts the year teaming up with Bristol’s Hyetal on a fresh collaboration of bewildering colour and frenetic energy for Peverelist’s Punch Drunk label.

As the name suggests, A-side ‘Don’t Sleep’ is wired awake with jittering hyperactivity. Propelled by agitated kick drums shuffling in rhythmic seizure, its skewed rainbow synthesizer lines warp and bend with exuberance so frantic that it’s no surprise that serial synth-fetishists like Starkey and Gemmy have had the track on heavy rotation.

‘Ice Cream’ is a more restrained affair; the bleary-eyed morning after the hedonism of ‘Don’t Sleep’. The technicolor pads are still there, just reserved, draped loosely over a typically lolloping dubstep beat. Anchored by subtle flickers of yawning funk bass, the track’s gradual movement into a loose 8-bit groove sees everything start to sound uncannily like it was intended to soundtrack Mario Kart. Not a bad thing by any account.

Fresh as they sound, these tracks aren’t exactly a sonic revelation. Drawing heavily from other purveyors of Bristol’s heavily-digitized ‘Purple Sound’, the twisted synths, games-console glitches, and foundation of sub bass are all present. Yet Shortstuff and Hyetal have managed to impress a significant amount of their own essence on the sound with this joyously incongruent release. One part raucous, agitated 2-step, one part glowing, digital euphoria, this luminous opus takes the grey area where dubstep reaches the rest of electronic music and paints it a vivid shade of purple.

Mike Coleman



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