Despite the suggestion of a collective in the name, Om Unit is the work of one man by the name of Jim Coles; an intrepid producer with a distinctive style and insatiable work ethic. This year alone has seen the London man release his Civil Music debut, ‘The Timps’ EP, collaborate with a number of like-minded souls such as Lorn and Kromestar, and even find time to launch his own label, Cosmic Bridge. Now Coles is back again with his Civil Music follow up, the ‘Transport’ EP.
‘Transport’ is a heavyweight set, as urban in feel as much as genre. Listening to it, you can see streetlights shine through the rain as traffic rushes by: a constantly mutating metropolitan landscape of sound. Even the EP’s title depicts the rush of city life – full of movement. In a recent interview with Hyponik, Coles himself attributes time spent staring from train windows as part inspiration for the mix of tempos and rhythms on tracks such as ‘An Eternal Way’. This mash of differing beats, some lethargic and dragging; some racing into the mix all hi-hats and syncopated percussion, comes hot on the heels of the otherworldly opener, ‘Swimming Dragon’. Here, snares that sound like puddles of muddy rainwater being trampled in by rushing feet lock down an eastern feel created by Chinese flutes. Several shades of bass music blend together (drum n bass tempos, dubstep breakdowns and bass drops) to make ‘Swimming Dragon’ almost unclassifiable, yet unquestionably gratifying.
It may be his second release on Civil Music, yet ‘Transport’ has more in common with Coles’ earlier set for Terrorhythm Recordings, ‘The Corridor’, than it does with his Civil debut. Where ‘The Timps’ was cold and robotic in places, ‘Transport’ shows some soul, even through the crisp, icy synths of ‘Cold World’ or ‘Eternal Way’s rampaging hi-hats and endless, echoing snatches of vocal. ‘Vibrations’ has shades of early Lone: big, shimmering chords and hyper-compressed kicks, before a big dirty, crunching bass synth appears and changes the mood for the darker.
‘Transport’ genre hops at will – sometimes embracing the bounce of dubstep, other times displaying the cold yet soulful electro beats of juke, but it never strays into incoherence, and it’s this skill that defines the Om Unit’s adventurous and forward-thinking productions.
The ‘Transport’ EP is released via Civil Music on November 28.