Nautiluss – ‘Alpha’ EP (Turbo Recordings)

You may be familiar with Toronto based songwriter and producer Graham Bertie, aka Nautiluss, as part of electro-bass duo Thunderheist, or from the well received collaboration ‘Ultraviolet’ that dropped on Hemlock last autumn. If you’ve missed him so far he certainly got the attention of fellow Canadian Tiga, who has called him up for his first solo EP on his Turbo Recordings label.

Taking influences from UK Bass and sculpting the sort of techno with a touch of groove that has earned Turbo it’s elite status over the years, Nautiluss’s Alpha EP is very accomplished for a debut outing. Opener ‘Mixed Numbers’ carries a similar threat and crispness in its tightly constructed production that helped Instra:mental’s album change through the gears, its stomping beat delivering plenty of snap while tidy reverbs of bass add depth and texture. Despite its name, ‘Sabbath’ offers no respite with its creeping loop of synths, sniping claps and echoes of dangerous machinery clunking from the darkness, which combined with a subtle rhythm makes a rolling techno tune that flirts with a sinister atmosphere without getting fully immersed.

After a couple of heavier tracks Nautiluss then offers a bit of diversity and the last two tracks head in a more exploratory direction. ‘Cloud City’ takes a similar deep-set murky bassline but this time puts it together with a lighter, more melodic arrangement that mutates playfully up and down over the length of the track. The underwater feel of the squelchy, bubbly synth pattern is complimented well by a more relaxed percussion style that favours flowing rhythm over hard-hitting impact. Final track ‘Spidercrawl’ continues in this vain with another submerged synth pattern and skittering drums, the bass coming this time in driving subs that create a more considered head nodding vibe, while intermittent phases of whirring background add an another dimension and leave extra space when they’re taken away.

With only a handful of releases to his name, Bertie’s various talents have already attracted the attention of Hemlock, Ninja Tune and now Turbo, and his debut EP is another exciting step forward for a producer showing class beyond his years. Already enjoying the backing of some the industries heavyweights, you shouldn’t need telling he’s a man to keep an eye on.

Robert McCorquodale

‘Alpha’ will be released via Turbo Recordings on April 30.