While 2019 has continued the trend of producers pillaging the past for sounds and textures of yesteryear, a few of the elder statesman of the genre continue to press forward to new soundscapes and vistas hitherto unheard. So it is for Jim Coles and Damon Kirkham—better known as Om Unit and Kid Drama—who have teamed up for a fertile 4-tracker on Apollo Records, founded in 1992 as the Ambient division of R&S Records.
Damon has been up to bat plenty of times in his roughly 20 year history, recording his earliest works alongside Boddika as part of the duo Instra:mental, while Jim has been dancing along a spectrum of bass music over the last decade, ranging from low-slung hip hop to mutant variations of jungle and footwork. Jim and Damon have also both produced for the renowned Metalheadz label, resulting in some of the most fervent and caustic examples of drum and bass music of recent memory; however, Om Unit and Kid Drama sync up here to deliver gorgeously blissed-out cuts of astral exploration.
“Untitled 4” is a perfect snapshot of the duo’s penchant for splicing serenity and grit together to a profound effect. The track evolves gradually with spectral synths that shimmer like stars. Delicate, precise snares propel the track through a high-definition atmosphere glowing and rippling with wonder, until it briefly swerves into the path of a gnarling bass spike that drips with dread. Om Unit and Kid Drama use almost all of Untitled 4’s duration to circle this dichotomy of floating and sinking, coasting through zones of beauty until nearly colliding head on into the pitch black darkness.
These moments of narrow escape buoy the tension of the whole track, pushing and pulling until the final seconds confront the blistering light of a sun, scattering the darkness towards the edges until all that’s left is the brightness. It may still just be a fever dream, but it seems Om Unit and Kid Drama have fully cracked the secrets of space travel. Pre-order now.