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Sour F4ce – Trainwreck EP Review

The Trainwreck EP, the debut release from Chris ‘Johan’ Platt AKA Sour F4ce on Chameleon Audio sees the Walsall resident unleashing a wide range of production techniques to create a variety of beautifully crafted tracks, taking in a variety of influences and putting out something that stands out amongst the Chameleon Audio catalogue as something that isn’t afraid to be a bit different.

The first track ‘Never Me’ lures you in with gorgeous atmospherics that ooze sophistication and serenity; deep chords and chopped vocals alongside clicking and pattering percussion that escalate before exploding into a cavalcade of smooth bass tones and perfectly produced drumwork. As it progresses an occasional much grittier edge emerges with slight rasps of animalistic distortion roughening the sound. It’s overwhelmingly deep though and the bass notes serve as a perfect canvas for the furious expression rapped out by the drums. Track one and already the bar has been set crazily high.

Number two is ‘Soweto’ and it’s rocking more intricate percussion but this time it’s all arranged around some crazy string sampling and floats along on another gorgeous cushion of deep, warm bass engineering. The strings give it a very high society, classical music sound that’s been revamped and revitalised with a contemporary twist via Sour F4ce’s wicked cutting and sampling while the percussion gives it the grimy edge you’d expect from Chameleon Audio, the bursts of claps and the rolling nature of the kicks just begging for some bars to get thrown down on top.

The title track is up next and ‘Trainwreck’ doesn’t disappoint although it’s a very different beast from what came before. It still drips atmosphere, but this time it’s dark, brooding and malevolent, its sparse intro leading into a bass laden, pulsing stepper of a rhythm that’s framed by the tinkling of chimes, the low rumble of thunder and eerie wolf howls. The low ends throb and roll with a serious menace to them, a grime infused war march that leaves your head nodding along as it hooks into your subconscious and a tickle of thick distortion cranks it up a notch in the final phases of the track before it switches into a bouncing beat that can only be described as a seriously gully rhythm. This one’s dark, nasty and beautifully produced.

‘Belltron’ takes us to number four and it’s appropriately named, as it’s a Voltron like fusion of a crazy bell and chime dominated lead, heavy duty blasts of distorted bass and frenzied claps. The rat-a-tat style of percussion gives the track a bit of energy despite the meandering vibe of the palpitating growls of bass that roll of the monstrous kick and the atmosphere as with ‘Trainwreck’ is again moody and dark. The kicks are the stand out element here, hugely twisted and distorted, they’re a ferocious presence and they dominate the landscape of this track.

‘Silent Service’ is the final track on offer here and it’s safe to say it’s my favourite of the lot. It channels a different vibe than the rest of the EP, more of a Deep Medi dubstep style of production than the obviously grimy stuff that preceded it. Sour F4ce’s mastery of deep bass lines is evident here as this one is a driving force that surges and flows with a subtle delicacy all the while accented by some touches of breezy synth work and by more of that gorgeous percussion that Chris so elegantly creates. This in turn is all offset by some big menacing chords that stake their claim over the last bar of every 8. Definitely a head turner and something that will be seeing a slew of plays from me.

Overall then, we see a delightful jaunt through a rich tapestry of tightly produced tracks that utilise modern production techniques while still tipping their hat to the classic attributes of grime; strings, booming kicks and thick sublow bass. The bass engineering that Chris is unleashing is really stand out, both due to the high quality but also the range of sounds he’s making and working with. A smashing debut.