Breakage - Foundation
Since he burst onto the drum & bass scene at just 17, London-based beatmaker Breakage has gradually shifted into darker dubstep territory without losing sight of his his roots, and the latest stop on his journey is this brilliant collage of bass-trembling sound. Dark, deep melodies are to the fore, with side orders of grime courtesy of spots from the likes of Newham Generals and Roots Manuva.
The helping from the former, ‘Hard’, does exactly what it says on the tin, with battering vocals from the Generals lacing a tense, claustrophobic beat. Manuva’s more languorous flow is a nice change of pace after the purer D&B stylings of ‘Old Skool Ting’, the old pro's trademark gruff delivery sounding as effortless as ever on the back of the beat's stabbing synths and lilting rhythm.
In contrast, the dull thud of LP highlight ‘Temper’ is accompanied by dark lyrics about insanity and violence, providing a mindblowing workout in tense, skittering paranoia. Its jaw-trembling low frequencies more than justify the 'squid bass' tag bestowed upon the artist in one of the skits used to break up some of the relentless tension. The pulsing barrage of title track 'Foundation' projects fierce waves of clicks, explosive bass and moody undertones, while ‘Vial’ demonstrates some very real chemistry with Burial, who brings his trademark chopped and twisted vocal samples to the table as the duo trade off spacey bass trembles in an impressive collaboration.
The hard groove of 'Speechless' has potential crossover appeal, a soulful turn from Donae'o complementing nasty, wobble-heavy tremors to brilliant effect, and 'Over' performs a similar balancing act, beefing up old-school garage drum skitters and lurches with a huge dub twist. Clearly there's plenty of variety on Foundation, but the core sound is very consistent and one that its creator seems to have completely nailed. This is must for sonic adventurers who crave their bass heavy and hard.