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Deft - Masquerade EP [RWINA018] Vinyl + digital
The latest addition to the Rwina Records roster is Deft – a young producer from Croydon who joins the dots between the London borough’s bass heavy history and dance music’s future. Having developed his artistic persona through sound design and sound art studies, Deft makes carefully crafted dance music for bodies and minds. The Masquerade EP offers five tracks that operate at various tempos and styles showcasing Deft’s knack for catchy rhythms, face melting drops and carefully crafted frequency work.
Crown Point sets things off with hypnotic melodies over a tough, heavy riddim that operates at the sweet spot of 160 bpm full of detailed edits and switches to keep the listener engaged and the bodies moving in the dance. The pressure is on. No Solace slows things down a little coming across like the bastard child of Dirty South rap and Croydon dubstep. A head nodding beat and epic melodies set the scene before the onslaught is unleashed, driving forward with intent over chest pounding sub action and subtle, hypnotic synth melodies. Once more Deft shows his ability to craft intricate productions that rely on simple elements put together in the best possible way.
The Count (Bounce) sees Deft offer his take on Chicago’s pervading influence over dance music, a bouncy, driving production that tips its hat to the Windy City’s juke and footwork scenes while grounding itself in London’s grittier approach. Pounding bass kicks, chopped eponymous vocals and some serious syncopated swing keep the pressure up and things moving fast, with barely any time to catch your breath. Going beyond mere imitation, Deft shows that the trick is to take inspiration and make it your own. The title track, Masquerade, continues this idea with a quick intro and a cinematic drop unleashing more swung out 160 action based around sweeping bass and throw back rave melodies. Switching things up halfway through Deft delivers a tough production that can sit proudly alongside the best recent examples of experiments in the genre from the likes of Om Unit, Mark Pritchard and label mate Krampfhaft. The old to the new, done in a way you’ve not heard before.
The EP closes with Dionysus Park, slowing things down by 30 odd bpm but keeping the pressure steady. A perfect way to wind down from the onslaught that came before, Dionysus Park shows Deft applying his dancefloor sensibilities to different styles without losing track of what makes his music undeniably unique – his fascination for carefully crafted frequencies and melodic detail standing out even more at slower tempos.
The Masquerade EP is a statement of intent from a young producer who has a lot to say, and knows exactly how to put it across. With previous productions and dubs already a staple in the DJ sets of people like LV, Om Unit and even Maya Jane Coles, the Masquerade EP will no doubt further cement Deft as one of London’s brightest dance music hopes. And as always with Rwina it’s all geared towards dancefloor mayhem of the highest quality.
Release/catalogue number: RWINALP018
Release date: Jul 23, 2012