Italy’s Marco Donnarumma indicated some of the potential of his Kuoyàh project with last April’s digital release for Frijsfo, earning enthusiastic tips from the likes of Boomkat. Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that his debut on wax ups the game – even in the face of a mix from Sully – by applying a focus capable of working magic in 2010’s open-ended dubstep dance.
It’s an overused comparison that probably deserves to be buried, but Angel Dub does reek of Horsepower Productions, or more precisely the ducking 2-step and Basic Channel steals of Benny Ill’s classic Tempa EP with Hatcha. In this case laziness has been avoided, a sunstroked, hazy quality making it sound Kuoyàh’s own, and a judicious electronica dimension expanding the arrangement without falling into the IDM-ish trap of trying to ape something cleverer.
That holds true even for the more downtempo Asia, which turns up the dub channel to find hordes of space-echo revenants chasing around. The thoroughly dust-less grooves of common soundsystem samples are absent, though, dropped for an unexpected reversioning of Artificial Intelligence bleep tones.
On Soldiers, Donnarumma’s background in electroacoustic music and ambient is more obvious, in common with Chase The Comedown, 2009’s digital EP. It’s equally clear how he’s been sharpening this kind of line since then, refining trademark, half-dismantled bundles of beats to the point where everything is in just the right wrong place.
Attention for this EP will understandably bend towards Sully’s Angels Dub remix, not without justification. It’s another great Jack Stevens beat, with pummelling sub-bass, arpeggios scrambled almost in the style of Zomby and an uncharacteristically martial drum track beating out something like an Addison Groove juke pattern.
Kuoyàh himself, though, deserves just as much of your time on this one, trust us.