DJ Wave is an internet-age enigma. At a time when everything in existence floats around in some giant database, ready to be accessed and digested at the click of a button, you’re not likely to find much background information on the producer when snooping around Google. Aside from his Soundcloud account and Facebook page – which are both adorned with an image of Mew the Pokémon – there’s not much to go on. This is made all the more intriguing when listening to DJ Wave’s latest release.
Above The Clouds comes through on DIY London-based imprint Lobster Theremin, a label that’s taken the underground scene by storm over the last few years. Specialising in their own brand of hazy techno, Lobster have quickly built up a reputation as one of the most exciting new labels around, seeing through releases from Palms Trax, Route 8 and Rawaat whilst curating nights at some of the best venues in London.
DJ Wave’s anonymity comes as such a shock considering how good Among The Clouds is and how perfectly its raw energy and retro-futuristic sound sits within the the label’s roster. First track ‘Do It’ opens up with an old school Amen Brother style drum fill which builds into a hard-hitting 4/4. This beat is followed by a succession of descending synth lines that slink along nicely, giving the track a seriously playful groove despite the urgent percussion. In similar fashion, final track ‘Mad About You’ starts its life as a hefty tech-house beat, but this impression is quickly discarded as the atmosphere mellows out, courtesy of a couple of spaced-out synth lines that float around one another in typical Lobster fashion. It’s the producer’s ability to blend sharp and immediate percussive templates with more ambient phrases through a mucky, lo-fi lens that makes these tracks so interesting, and the label such a fitting home for them.
But perhaps the most interesting moment on the record comes inbetween these two. ‘Above The Clouds’ is a real curveball – a slow-funk jam where delicate piano and electro horns swim effortlessly in the mix, held together by a groove set by the track’s lazy bassline. At times, the general airiness of ‘Above The Clouds’ verges into Muzak territory, and at the more sparse moments I can’t help but wonder if it lands on the wrong side of elevator music. But then the bassline returns, the momentum picks up and you realise this is a perfectly crafted piece of lounge music that finds its place as a foil between two counterparts. It’s this kind of playfulness that makes Above The Clouds such an interesting release and a fascinating insight into what this mysterious producer is capable of.
Above The Clouds is out now on Lobster Theremin. You can grab a copy here.
Words: Lewis Bassett