Almost a year ago, I reviewed sfam’s collab-laden “Fam Bam EP,” a smattering of bristling trap chaos from the young New Orleans duo that highlighted their greatest feat: making an unmistakable sound nobody else could touch.
Today’s Shadows EP out on Wakaan shows just how far they’re building on their unorthodox style while they further deconstruct trap music. The result is quite a few shades darker, and a whole lot heavier.
Listen to the EP below:
On the title track “Shadows,” they’ve struck a balance between the sinister clinking snare play and enveloping thump that hits so satisfyingly on past tracks like “a$ap” and “hallows” and added black and blue layers of reverb that makes the rhythm hopelessly dense and menacing.
The long-awaited Mersiv collab “Don’t Test Me” is a hypnotic, slow-moving leviathan, and Mersiv’s sound design knack for pressing the gas pedal to the floor is on full effect. The noxious atmosphere is impossible to escape, and the high-octane pulse Mersiv adds to the doomed strut is perfect.
Phrase by phrase, “Mismatch” is weird enough to be a Yheti track, with a delightful bubbly slipperiness gliding over the paranoid drum work. It lets you think there’s some lighter reprieve in this dark piece of work before hurling straight back to hell on the second drop.
We loved “Dashigo VIP” with Mississippi producer TVBOO a few weeks ago, and “uponmuh” on this EP is another reminder how solid these artists compliment each other. One of the more gritty and straightforward songs, it explodes with jackhammer steady percussion over a wildly catchy rhythm between coiled synth freak-outs.
Collaborator MC quaviusblack returns on “Kick Em Out,” adding his stern verses on the build-up to one of the more intense hotbeds of drum work and evil on the EP. The amount of needling percussion hitting from what sounds like everywhere is nothing short of dizzying.
“Lessons” is just that, a crash course in how these two can rip the structure out of trap rhythm and leave it whirring around the bare bones of a beat. The final phrases are Frankenstein levels of freaky, shredding into pieces around the final snare click.
“We Be Comin” closes the EP out like a mission summation or a closing coda, sneaking and clicking like a morphed espionage soundtrack.
Do we love shadows? Yes, yes we do.
On no other piece of work or single have the duo seemed so confident with their bizarre design philosophy or brutal on their low-end attack. Every turn on “Shadows” is fuller, leaner, and more exacting than anything they’ve penned yet. Wakaan has found a home for a bass music presence in a league of their own.
Featured image via Brad Croswell.