Hyponik

Review: Walton – ‘Murdah’ (Kaizen)

Walton returns to Madam X’s Kaizen with a no-nonsense showcase of moody, bass-laden club cuts.

With an indisputable body of work on the likes of Kode9’s Hyperdub and Pinch’s Tectonic, Walton has certainly established himself as a heavyweight in the bass music scene over the past few years.

Fresh off the back of acclaimed second album Black Lotus in 2018, the Manchester producer’s return to Kaizen boasts his second release of this year, with the garage/grime fusion Inside EP on Tectonic already annihilating systems everywhere.

Moving away from the Far East-influenced Taiko EP of 2017, four-tracker Murdah follows a more stripped-back dancefloor aesthetic; still adopting Walton’s off-kilter percussive idiosyncrasies, but with a different, more sinister attitude.

Opening track ‘Squelch’ embraces bouncy rhythms that adapt structurally in correspondence with the low-end, with a call and response relationship between modulated LFO’s and the more prominent, squelchy bassline creating a gripping energy throughout. Switch ups in kick signatures and drum work enable the track to progress dynamically, adding sullen UK Funky-esque characteristics along the way.

‘Onslaught’ features a militant, rolling kick pattern – similar to that of ‘Point Blank’ from Black Lotus – of which becomes growingly intensified via conspicuous percussion and menacingly drawn-out wubs. Airy, ominous atmospherics further attach an impending sense of dread, painting the scene of a lone knight, horseback, galloping purposefully through a dark woodland.

Perhaps the most weighty of the bunch is title-track ‘Murdah’; methodically arranged, hesitation between turbulent bass-weight and skittish conga drums makes for effortless shifts in character, with distorted cries of ‘murder’ complementing each screwface-inducing segment. Exploring an integration of bass-driven genre hybrids, there’s no doubt this monster was designed specifically for the club, and couldn’t align more perfectly with Kaizen’s ethos.

‘Submerged’ rounds off a certified system-killer of a record with further skewed percussive rhythms working in unison with haunting wails and sweeping static; which, true to theme, orbit unremittingly around stark bass angst. Walton sets out to make a statement and succeeds inexorably, securing another exhilarating, cross-spectrum release for his illustrious back catalogue.

‘Murdah EP’ is out now on Kaizen, buy here.

Words: Sam Halligan

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