Beneath is a man with his fingers in many pies, since bursting on to the UK underground scene back in 2012 with a release on Keysound he’s gone from strength to strength. As a producer he’s known for his fresh perspective on bass music, constantly pushing pre-accepted boundaries and reinventing sonic textures. As a label boss he’s not much different, his first foray into the murky world of “DIY” labels came in the form of “No Symbols”, an imprint that exists solely for the purpose of releasing the producer’s own music. No Symbols is now 6 releases strong, and charts a fascinating progression in Beneath’s own productions.
Aside from No Symbols, Beneath has established another label by the name of Mistry. Having been established in 2014 it’s put out a string of stellar EPs from a broad range of UK artists. The label’s aesthetic is one of experimentalism, with each release straining against the preconceptions of bass music. It’s first outing came in the form of Manchester based Alex Coulton’s ‘Bleep Sequence/Tension’. The first track is simplistic in it’s idea, but complex in it’s execution, high pitched bleeps flirt with dark, minimalistic percussion, with most of the variation relying on changes in the latter. It’s a proper head nodder, gradually moving through a string of ideas, never really repeating the same one twice. The flip, ‘Tension’ is a different beast altogether, a dark percussion workout built for the very depths of a late night set. Clangy metallic crashes reverberate through the mix which is glued together by a frantically energetic kick. It’s a strong statement to open a label up with, successful in everything it sets out to achieve.
Webstarr brought the next effort to the label, which was then followed by Chevel’s ‘Tank/Beaviane’ which is potentially even more minimalistic. ‘Tank’ plays on dark square waves, rumbling through an almost hypnotic percussion setup, the space created with the reverb is quite extraordinary, it flutters around the top end, sounding cavernous in size. The real winner off this release though is ‘Beaviane’, it swaggers through it’s near 4 minutes with a lopsided, clattering groove that etches a smile on your face. The bottom end has just enough dirt within it to withstand a battering in a set, while muffled synth lines provide a focal point for the almost abrasive percussion to build around.
Laksa’s 2015 release on the label, “Draw For The” is one of quality, but hides a real gem within it’s third track. ‘Touch Down’ begins with a simple enough beat, snares dancing around an off kilter kick with a tasteful 808 cowbell holding it all together. It’s genius though comes in it’s staggeringly dark synth work, a buzzy, mashed up bass starts to seep through the cracks, slowly becoming more prominent as it’s sequence lands on higher notes. By the time the rolling hats join the fray we’re in the midst of a true late night stomper, it’s evocative of a small smokey underground space, maintaining an aesthetic of darkness through it’s slightly muffled percussion editing.
Skip past a typically dark and twisted release from Batu and a quality effort from Gaunt and we find ourselves back with another release from Laksa, the only artist to have thus far released twice on the label. 66 Rebels was Mistry’s only release in 2016, the two tracker is a sonic mishmash of techno and bass, taking clear elements from both and marrying them in a melting pot of texture. Ctrl Delete in particular has a darkness within it that you can’t help but succumb to, a massive bottom end that is just distorted enough rolls throughout, while captivating ethereal sweeps wash around the top.
2017 has seen Mistry release their very first LP, from Kailin. It’s a bit of a departure from the style employed by the label up until now, landing somewhere in between ambient and club music, though leaning more towards the former. It’s a fascinating release that experiments with traditional dance floor oriented sounds within a more ambient context.
Beneath’s Mistry hasn’t put a foot wrong yet, and has really bared it’s teeth with it’s latest offering. As of yet there is no information on what is next to come, however we’ll be certain to be keeping our eyes peeled for whatever it is.