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by grayscayle

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snap 05:02
whispers 05:02


'Whispers' is the anticipated return of Grayscayle following his 2020 debut, Umami. This time, however, Jim Stiff puts his breaks foot forward and shows what he has to say from a drum n bass angle. Being a versatile DJ and producer, Grayscayle easily fits into several different pairs of shoes having come up under numerous influences, with his original foray into electronic music as a junglist.

Having stated that, this release shows little intention to abide by any strict genre-specific guidelines. Arising from a scrimmage involving tech step, liquid, and minimal, these two original tracks emerge with their own groove and their own sonic footprint. It makes most sense to refer back to Grayscayle's Umami EP to see how his work in techno formats has informed what he does with his breaks.

'Snap' sets it off with straightforward programmed breaks, thoroughly engulfed in deep subs and a sliding bass pad. A vocal snip and some frequency modulated lead motifs dominate the mid range. The momentum here is a steady pulse interrupted frequently by abrupt, trippy breakdowns. The depth of the mix also leaves plenty of space making this a strong tool as a mix layer, allowing this tech style to be superimposed over other flavours quite comfortably.

'Whispers' opens with some haunting spacial elements and a central synth chord stab. Vocal riffs are teased nicely as Grayscayle builds a programmed beat under a melodic pluck riff. The classic 'Think' break slides in and pairs nicely with the offset kick and snare pattern variations that lead through a dark cavern of minimal dub synths and high resolution echo effects. Grayscayle then also provides an alternate mix of the title track with some subtle shifts in focus from the main mix.

Riddim Fernandez busts out the first remix of 'Whispers' and holds nothing back in this ultimate rocker's dub blast. The melodic motifs of the original mix find their way into the fray. The highlights of this excursion include some bizarre synth melodies matched to an absolutely monstrous sludgy bass. But the recurring upbeat reggae feel makes for an interesting light contrast to the overall dark mayhem and chaotic swirl of this version.

Breakwater closes the show with a straight ahead liquid dnb chaser. The synth stabs fall into new patterns that repeat steadily, matched to the dominating two step breaks feel. A steady swell holds down the low end until after the midway breakdown where the focal point becomes the more animated crunchy staccato bass line that alternates between the upbeat and the downbeat. After a significant round of this second groove, the track follows a gradual descent to a clean touchdown ending.


released December 23, 2020

cover photo by Andy Bernhart


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grayscayle Winnipeg, Manitoba

Jim Stiff aka Grayscayle is a Winnipeg based producer/ DJ bringing an eclectic range of vibes and musical styles into his original music and Dj sets. With roots in drum and bass but also exploring house music, dub techno and ambient.

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