De-Evolution Part 1 is a new EP released by The Upbeats last Friday on Vision Recordings. You might remember Disposable Media featuring The Upbeats’ collaboration with Noisia – titled “Dead Limit” – in September of last year, and when I heard about De-Evolution Part 1 on Noisia’s Twitter feed I headed over to the nearest Spotify stream. Generally I’m more familiar with Noisia’s music than that of The Upbeats, but the quality of the material featured on Dead Limit piqued my interest enough to listen to De-Evolution Part 1 anyway. Happily, the five-track EP is 25 minutes of varied and energetic drum and bass, and you never get the feeling that any of the tracks really outstay their welcome.
De-Evolution Part 1 – Dr. Kink and Pharoah
De-Evolution Part 1 opens with Dr. Kink and an almighty 45-second intro that is successful in building anticipation for the initial beat drop. Fast hi-hats, steady snares and escalating tones are then introduced and lead up to some vicious synths and big beats. The track isn’t insanely speedy or busy but it gets its hooks in fairly successfully and throws in more buildups and “epic intro” reuse later in the song. I admit that Dr. Kink doesn’t really have a huge amount of variety but it’s still catchy enough to serve as background music for whatever you happen to be doing.
The second track “Pharaoh” is a collaboration with electronic trio Ivy Lab and is definitely one of the less aggressive tracks on De-Evolution Part 1 – soothing sounds at the beginning of the song set the mood moments before the beat comes in, but it still doesn’t transition into madness, instead just offering steady build-ups and an almost hypnotic melodic hook that is transformed and tweaked in various ways throughout the song. It’s not the most creative track around but it’s still pretty inoffensive and provides a nice moment of calm before the noise that follows.
De-Evolution Part 1 – DOOM
De-Evolution Part 1 is quick to bring back the aggressive tones and big beats in “DOOM”, starting with weird effects amongst silence before bringing in an onslaught of drum and bass excellence – powerful kicks and snares set to a curious rhythm, plenty of distorted noise and layers of “cleaner” tones in places… it all creates a pretty satisfying whole, and there’s enough variety in the structure of the song that it never feels samey and is generally pretty interesting. Again, there’s another build up to a second drop about halfway through the song but it works well, and whilst it’s not my favourite track from De-Evolution Part 1 there’s lots to recommend here.
De-Evolution Part 1 – Dungeon and Elevator
The following track “Dungeon” wastes little time in setting the mood – curious reverb plinks, steady three-note melodies and chords fool you into thinking that there might not be much to this track but eventually everything gives way to another build-up sequence leading to big beats and dirty bass. Again, it’s not really paced at an insane tempo but there are some great fills and interludes that help to keep things interesting. By now I was starting to think that De-Evolution Part 1 had moments of greatness amongst a billion huge build-ups, but the final track “Elevator” turned out to be a surprise favourite.
Whilst it’s structurally fairly similar to the other tracks, the general tone and mood of the track is somewhat more – no pun intended – upbeat than everything else, and it stands out amongst other tracks that have more darkness, or strangeness, or aggression to them. I think De-Evolution Part 1 is varied enough that most fans of this type of music are likely to come away with at least one favourite, and if you have 25 minutes to spare it’s worth heading over to Spotify or checking the Soundcloud embed below so that you can make your own mind up.