A1. Silkie Vs Joss Ryan - "Sub Castle (Bowser Riddim)"
Kicking off this rollicking release, "Sub Castle (Bowser Riddim)" is a gut punch of bass and nostalgia. Setting the tone for an EP based in classic 8-bit video game theme songs, Silkie and Joss Ryan have put together a completely different spin on Super Mario World. "Sub Castle" grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. With a distinctly funky groove, Silkie and Joss Ryan create a melodic atmosphere driven by a constant, bounce inducing rhythm. Pauses and breaks in the bass line makes each instance of the sub much more impactful, giving extra weight to the drum beat. The urge to move to this tune is inescapable, while the airy melody entrances and engages you as a listener. Splashed with various one shots and fx from Super Mario World, "Sub Castle" has an intricate call and response, with the base most chords breaking and giving way to the snare and fx. Gradually this gap becomes more full as new elements of percussion and melody are added, eventually emptying again leading to wonderful little bridge until the drums break, letting the melody breathe. The keyboard instruments and synths used truly conjure up an image of the heyday of the NES and SNES. Keyboard instruments reminiscent of the Yamaha DX7, with it’s distinct mid- to late 80’s, early 90’s sound, define the high register of this tune. The sounds are both mainstays of Silkie and Joss Ryan alike, making this collaboration a perfect match. The bass line however, remains firmly rooted in dub. While sparse, compared to some dubstep tunes, that sparseness is what makes this track so funky. "Sub Castle (Bowser Riddim)" is a big tune, and an excellent start to an impressive inaugural release from the Silkie and Quest owned Antisocial Records.
B1. Silkie - "FF7"
At this point “FF7” by Silkie has replaced the actual soundtrack of Final Fantasy 7 for me as I play through Midgar and beyond as Cloud Strife. “FF7” is the reimagining of the classic fight theme from arguably the best Final Fantasy title in the series, Final Fantasy VII (FFVII). With it's thumping bass line, and clever use of the original FFVII fight theme, "FF7" is groovy update on the Playstation classic with a whole lot of signature Silkie flare. Interspersed with 8-bit one shots, glitched out samples, and the occasional Rhodes stab of chords, this tune would lend itself perfectly to the talents of an MC (in my mind I can hear Wiley or JME over it), but works equally as well as an instrumental. The consistent breaks in the track allow various samples and percussive elements to shine at the precise right moments, while the kick continues to smack you upside the head as it moves the bass along. As the beat continues, the listener is removed from the constant nature of the drums briefly, while pads and an airy chord progression begin to swell and fill up any remaining emptiness in the tune. As his chords begin to replace elements from the original theme, Silkie creates a wholly new soundscape within the key of the original while still maintaining a significant level of difference from the sample. "FF7" is a Grimey, melodic, rollicking trip down memory lane, and it certainly doesn't disappoint.
B2. SILKIE - "Sonic Boom"
Rounding off the EP, we have the third and final track, "Sonic Boom". While not the titular track, "Sonic Boom" is the hidden gem of this release. Silkie's masterful play on Street Fighter II's theme for the character, Guile, is emotional yet heavy hitting at the same time. Raising the pitch of the original, Silkie flexes his keyboard chops crafting several solos building to each major chorus of the track, effectively leading the listener, ear first, through this 90's fever-dream he's created. A square-pulse type sound is layered over much of the synth, giving it that distinct Grime sound, but is kept relatively far back in the mix so as to not over power the real star of the show, the keyboards. The percussion and bass drive the tune, while the melody captivates, sticking in your head long after the track has finished. Silkie has always proven his ability with melodies, but this track in particular stands as a firm reminder of Silkie's musicality and instrumental talent. This track is the perfect way to close out and extremely well rounded, and phenomenally entertaining first official release from Antisocial Records.
After listening to this release the only thing I could think was, what's next? I will be waiting for the next Antisocial release with baited breath.
Until then, here's this...