From a stylistic perspective, all bets are off as modernist bass music bowls forward with its sights on the dance. Over the past three years, J-Shadow has embodied that ethic more than most with a hybridised flex snapping fluidly between lurid grime waveforms, rave-indebted structures and hi-tech sound design. A perfect fit for Sneaker Social Club’s own omnivorous tendencies, then.
Following drops on Super Hexagon, Nous, Comic Sans and Bun The Grid, Shadow lands on Sneaker Social with no less than six shellers packing a potency which has to be heard to be believed. Proceedings start off comparatively mellow with the atmospheric, vocal-laced ‘Fade’ – all cascading breaks and airy pads, before pivoting towards a kind of weightless style sprayed with blaster fire and dislocated snare rushes on ‘Kugelblitz (The Inescapable Rewarp)’. ‘Diffraction’ leans in on grime rudeness, albeit with a flamboyant twist up, before ‘Atlantis’ shakes up the B-side with an aquatic excursion into jungle territory clearly nodding to early Bukem. ‘Particle Horizon’ continues the uptempo charge, but straps starry-eyed arps to the barefaced breakbeat choppage with soul-quaking results. ‘Hibernation (Lumina Falls)’ acts as a kind of mood leveler to round out the EP, but even in these more patient moments the sound palette is vast and dynamic.
At every step, Shadow’s production prowess shines through in glorious technicolour, all shimmering surfaces and molten sonic matter. The degree of detail is frankly staggering, from cascading sample arrays to infinitesimal FX tweaks. His vibrant personality comes through whether he’s tearing it up at 160 or dropping the kicks out altogether, celebrating the eclecticism that embodies modern club music.