The Twenty Questions EP, fresh of the press from Critical Recordings, sees Ivy Lab serving up a spectrum covering stormer. The release amazingly snuck under the radar prior to release, with not much information on social media or Critical’s website until this week (bar a recent interview on Ivy Lab’s page). For me, this EP would be a difficult one to purchase on wax as the best tracks by far are the digital exclusives, props to Ivy Lab and Critical for including so many for release.
The EP opens up with the title track and to a classic Ivy Lab rolling drum beat. Soft synths then guide us into and across a moment of reflection, before the trickling of hi hats smoothly guide back into that rolling drum beat. It seems that Ivy Lab will always provide a soulful dancefloor mover, and “Twenty Questions” slots perfectly alongside the likes of “Oblique” (featuring Frank Carter III) and “Live On Your Smile”.
“Gomesia” is our second offering, ominous tones conjured from the outset with the sound of hospital health monitoring equipment. The intro to “Gomesia” is complex and extends for some time before gliding seamlessly into a pulsating bassline. The repetitive style of this track is hypnotic and helps to make the minimal change up to the tune sound like a complete switch up. The second build-up taunts us with rest before throwing us back into the opening drum beat a few bars later. This track is definitely one for the early hours.
The third track, “Forex” served up by the trio is the EP’s crowd pleaser. The dark opening sits under synthesised grunts and eerie space sounds fly over head. A short vocal sample draws all the elements of the intro together before carnage ensues. The main body of the track is immense the grunts from earlier, now more at the level of shouts, complimenting the bass rumbles and stabs perfectly.
From this point on, the EP takes a drastic turn to the more experimental side of the scene. This only acts to heighten my personal admiration for the release, more so as these are the tracks I actively prefer. “Slinky” is slow and lumbering, a gargantuan of a track that would dismantle a sound rig if it could. I would say this is the best track from the EP, however at only 3:30 minutes, one wonders whether this was a track that should ever have been pressed; there is too little substance. “Two By Two” similarly is only 3:50 in length. This is the one detraction I can take from both these tracks, “Two By Two” in half-step fashion shifts from blasting low end at you to navigating through complex drum sequences.
The following tracks are digital exclusive and disappointingly not included in the press. “Planebeat” manipulates low end to perfection and is a tune I will be including in many a set. It’s Hip-Hop influenced beat makes it a track for most dances. “Taste The Mango” is another great track, it’s drum beat is reluctant to hit on the beat, something we are anticipating throughout. It is another that could be played on a multitude of different nights. The third digital exclusive sees the return of one of my all time favourite songs “Live On Your Smile”, but with El Train on the remix.
“Live On Your Smile” is given a complete overhaul; the pace is slowed right down, and we are given a gentle melody to play with. Make sure you check out El Train’s Facebook for more bootlegs, I point your attention here to his “Ain’t No Mountain” bootleg. Finally Sam Binga steps in to remix “Slinky”. What we are given is the aural equivalent of a melancholy trip across a valley of slowly hardening sulphur pits. I am, however, reminded more of a slinky with the remix than the original. Ivy Lab’s Twenty Questions EP is out now, purchase it here.