frenquency – ready to rumble ep
Let’s kick this article off with a little fact you probably already know: The Netherlands is a little country, well known for it’s trade and export. Since the late 80′s one of our major export products has been dance music. Our country has provided you with 2Unlimited, Hardcore/Gabber and we also brought you DJ Tiësto. Even our new King has been raving to Armin van Buuren’s DJ sets. Isn’t that nice.
Ofcourse we’re happy that our little slab of land has gained international music fame through four-to-the-floor dance music, but the downside is that our crème de la crème of other electronic music styles are often overlooked. Thankfully the wheels have already been set in motion to straighten this out. I’m not talking about the fortunate incident where DJ Shadow was pulled off stage for playing Krampfhaft – Spit Thunder, but about the effort put in by Basserk Records by coining the phrase and release series called ‘Dutch Bass’.
On January 29th of this year the series was kicked off with Frenquency‘s “Me On Power” EP and since then more have followed, culminating later this year in a Dutch Bass full feature night during the Amsterdam Dance Event. Now that this has all been accomplished, it’s only fitting for Frenquency to return for his sophmore Basserk release called “Ready To Rumble“!
“Ready To Rumble” contains 6 tracks of highpowered dancefloor Bass. It’s so highpowered that when I was playing it loud for the first time, my upstairs neighbour came down to ask me if I had bought a subwoofer. Which I hadn’t. So let’s go track-by-track on this one.
The EP kicks off with I Am Ready, a thick and minimal track featuring a moody vox-synth and a wide reverberated kickdrum. Although the percussion bits are very minimal and wide apart, the vox and kickdrum alone are enough to display the apparent groove. It’s a fine example of how the proper use of layering sounds can make a seemingly simple track fill the entire room.
Rumble, the follow-up track has a rhythmic lead synth that reminisces of early 90′s techno, giving it that nice and eerie dark tunnel-rave feeling. A subtle glide in the sound makes it less static, giving it just that little extra bit of funk. The madness really starts when a second melody structure is played on a higher octave, accompanied by a rapid Juke’ish snaredrum.
Although percussion is considered as a rhythmical device in music (except for the Glockenspiel) rather than a melodic one, samplers and DAW’s have enabled producers to ditch this concept and go crazy. And crazy is pretty much an understatement when it comes to Glide For Life, a track based on rhythmical instruments. From the kickdrum to the electronic cowbell, almost every sound in this track is sliding up and down the scales. You might think that it would sound chaotic, but the opposite is true: the different instruments are sequenced in such a way that thay add up to both a nice melodic structure ánd an awesome rhythmic groove.
Now that the rhythmic madness has subsided, it’s time to get back to some hypnotizing melodics on Lazy Legs. Again the lead sound and melody remind of 90′s techno, but this time the base synth is accompanied by a driving little arp and a fluttering clean beep to fill up the whole spectrum. The combination of the fast arp/beep and the halftime basic lead gives a sweet dragging feel to the track, which is accentuated by the fast kicks and spare claps.
Wroahww brings back another vox-synth, which is now layered by a subtle trancey stab. It is also the first track on the EP that is not only banging, but has it’s drums and percussion on double-time in stead of half-time. In short: this track doesn’t only go hard, it goes fast. As the track progresses an extra high synth joins the stab, instantly converting the melodics from driving and dark to euphoric. Add some snappy H-H-H-HEY vocal bits and you’ve got your hands in the air without realising it. Maybe there is a little Armin van Buuren in all of Dutchies ;)
If by now you got the notion that Frenquency might be just another Dutch trance lunatic, the final track Smelly Cat serves to instantly dismis that train of thought. It seems to combine the elements of the previous tracks into one grand finale: Minimalistic but groovy drums, a trancey but very dark synth, and all the percussive elements are going haywire. Add a little gated hoover-like synth, an extra hollow bass and you’ll be crawling into the speakers instantly.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard a minimal Bass release that can keep your ears busy for over 3 minutes per track, and that’s exactly what Frenquency provides on “Ready To Rumble”. It’s (currently?) a Beatport exclusive so get it there. Head over to Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter to show Frenq some love, and don’t forget to check out the other Basserk releases!