Jim Coles has taken his Om Unit moniker through various pastures of the genre scope in recent years, moving fluidly through the motions at his own pace and by his own means. His latest endeavour combines a mixture of what he has, in many ways, come to pave the way for and his first true musical love: footwork and jungle. The Cosmic Bridge label owner has aligned with drum and bass powerhouse Metalheadz to release a 3 track EP entitled ‘Grey Skies Over Chicago’, an exciting excursion into what is surely to be a stand-out archetype of this new wave of DnB and footwork amalgamations.
Following previous undertakings into the realm of juke and jungle through his Philip D. Kick alias (the concept and idea of which is really worth reading in to), a recent release on dBridge’s Mosaic Vol. 2 with fellow juke junglist Sam Binga and a number of collaborations and remixes with the likes of Machinedrum and Mark Pritchard, Coles has set himself nicely to further expand the dimensions of his stylistic experimentations. The EP kicks with ‘Sleepwalkers’, a solid opener, embodying a typically ‘Om’ ethereality in its build up, culminating in a barrage of rolling breaks and bass stabs. The jungle element in this one shines through with the complexity of the drum work and note the quote from 80’s science fictional thriller, ‘They Live’, thrown in there for good measure.
Next up, title track ‘Grey Skies Over Chicago’. Incorporating more footwork elements in to its structure, ‘GSOC’ is a good example of Jim’s take on the ‘slowfast’ approach. It’s similar in style to his ‘Slowfast Matrix’ track, previously released on the Aeolian EP (2012), though packs more of a punch in terms of the depth and complexity of drum sounds.
Last on the EP comes ‘The Hand’. Similar in structure to ‘GSOC’ before it, the track exhibits the same kick, snare and hat sequence in a slightly more flailing fashion, adding a nice resonance to the percussive overlay. Smooth synth chords underline the track to give that grandiose sense of aura, now synonymous with the London producer’s output.
Looking at the expansion and further experimentation within the drum and bass scene over the past couple of years, with the notable introduction of the Autonomic series, it’s easy to see why Metalheadz latched on to this one. In a recent interview with RBMA, Coles stated that ‘anyone that’s into the music (drum and bass) should watch Metalheadz closely in the near future’, a positive sign of confidence with the EP and of things to come from the label.
Jim’s overall outlook on music seems to work in parallel with his outlook on life; an organic, clear-cut perspective not held back by boundaries set by himself or audiences. Top stuff.