29 May 2017

Guy Wampa & Justin Percival - Ammut

Guy Wampa and Justin Percival are not names I have come across before, or at least not knowingly. Both have previously appeared on Ninja Tunes, both have prolific work with a long list of artists that they have performed with over the years and are based on WW Records (a label founded by Guy Wampa with Jo Wills).  The press release of this album goes on about a mixing of styles, genres and future songs.  The cover is an image cut into sand and it is picture representation of some ancient beast, something that would scare people.  Not sure if that is what they were aiming for, but that is the message I get for it.  Now, I am not going to lie and say this is an album I have been hungry for, to be honest until the PR company got in touch I was no the wiser about it and by default, them as well.  But I am curious to hear the sound on this album described on this album, the idea of breakbeats, grunge, new soul, industrial and other genres mentioned on that press release has intrigued me to give this album a listen. 

01 – Remove the Mask

The noise that Guy Wampa & Justin Percival create on this opening track is incredibly interesting.  Part Massive Attack, Part The Bug, Part smooth jazz vocals, part atmospheric electronica.  It all merges together with a song that chronicles the fall of a friendship due to dishonest intentions of one part.  It has breakbeats, it has noise, it has an intense feeling that is mixed with sorrow, it is a loud opening, one that also has some subtle hooks for people to enjoy as well.

02 – Divided Conquered Insane

The second song on this album, ‘Divided Conquered Insane’ takes you further down the rabbit hole.  It is a minimalist crazy piece of music that is pitted with drum rolls, striking riffs during the chorus and some fantastic vocals.  Standing still is not an option for this song, it will keep changing and it never rests on one idea for long.  It is a strong number, one that takes a few spins to reveal what it is about and then it will show you some more.  Slowly but surely, you are entrapped by this piece and it opens with the grace of a flower facing the sun – a beautiful, insane piece of music.

03 – Remember These Words

With a menacing attitude, ‘Remember These Words’ has a thicker texture than ‘Remove the Mask’ and ‘Divided Conquered Insane’.  It is a heavy piece of music, one that will hit you in the chest when played at the right volume and with a bass line that rumbles with deep, dark precision that is truly satisfying.  The only issue, there is a synth riff that keeps appearing, it sounds like a fairy is spinning around with bells and it feels out of place.  Apart from that, this is a really good song – shame about the synth fairy noise.

04 – Reflex

I love it when you can get lost in music, when reality can be stripped away and you can be so absorbed by a song that everything else is secondary.  ‘Reflex’ is one of those moments, with its dark synths, heavy bass and sparse drums that are on employed when it will deliver a sonic punch that drives this song to new heights.  Everything falls into place on this song, it is a great number.

05 – Gravity

Featuring Mattic, ‘Gravity’ is another biting track which has a brilliant set of break beats, harsh guitars, massive drums and that all important bass that all comes together with those haunting vocals that mesh together to unleash a dark and brooding song.  It has some haunting vocals, they sound like they are coming from the heart and they speak of a connection, something that cannot be broken.  It is a gigantic track, one that dominates the entire album, for my money it is the best song on this record.

06 – It’s Alright

Stripping back even further for the next track, ‘It’s Alright’ is a dark beast with subtle hooks to seduce the casual listener and a large bass to entwine all to its will.  I like the sound they have created here, it is a beautiful, harsh environment that could be described as cold, but I find to be inviting and enticing.

07 – For the Talkers

Stripping the sound further back, as Wampa and Percival create another dark drop of electronica to torture the soul and to take you to dark and desolate place.  This is a similar track to ‘It’s Alright’, with a bleak soundscape that causes the hairs on your neck to stand on end.  It is a place that these guys thrive and they are creating some fantastic tracks, this track is another fine example of that sound and it is glorious.

08 – Build a Fortress

‘Build a Fortress’ is an interest piece of art, one that gives more with each subsequent listen as it takes there sound further down a dark road of their own creation.  It is another harsh piece that works in all situations for me, but it is one that works best when played loud so the bass can move through you.  I love the sound that these guys create on this song, it is another song that could have easily been the best of the album – it is a great piece of sound.

09 – I’m Just Lost

The penultimate song on this album at one point strips everything down to just the bass and some simple percussion – this is probably the best representation of this record for me.  ‘I’m Just Lost’ is a hypnotising song that adds further glory to this album, one which is again so close to being the song of the album.  They have created a song that can be added played in a chillout room, a main floor filler and every point in between – it is such a good number for two professionals who know exactly what they are doing, what a song.

10 – It’s Alright (Bonus Mix)

Ending the album is a remix of ‘It’s Alright’ which breaks it down to beats and percussion, changing the original and creating a version that will be used on extreme sports videos.  It is a good mix, but not as good as the original.

‘Ammut’ is not an easy album to listen to.  To be honest, it is not for people who will be wanting something in a 4/4 standard time to relax to, it is a designed for a niche audience who want break beats, dark noises and subtle vocals and that is fine.  Sometimes music is not meant for the masses, as the general public has a habit of blind consummation and they do not always understand/appreciate the art that is presented before them.  This album is not a disposable piece that will gather dust on shelves, it has so much more going on beneath those breaks and bass that it ascends beyond your average electronica album.  It has depths and passion whilst also being so minimal, it has sonic sounds and keeps everything tight, it breaks in places whilst it also manages to sound as solid as a rock – basically it is a fantastic piece of art (it is art at work here) and one that keeps delivering in strange and wonderful ways.  The only thing I can think of that would raise this album more would be giving the sounds a bit more time, all but one of them are below four minutes and they could have easily been given more room.  But this is just looking for issues on a fine album, one that gives so much on each listen.  If you like your electronica heavy and minimal, check this out!

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track – Gravity

You can visit the WW Records website here, where you can purchase Ammut as well.

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