Thursday, February 11, 2016

Contra - Liondub Street Series Vol. 14

A change in pace from the rougher roads already traversed by Liondub International’s Street Series, the sound of London-based Contra is more akin to a smooth stroll on a city park lane, taking in the flowing scenery in smooth liquid vibrations without losing the grit.

Originally from Bristol, the powerhouse home to Roni Size, Massive Attack, Smith & Mighty, and many others, classic influences like these, LTJ Bukem, Calibre, DJ Marky, and Spectrasoul deeply inform their sound. It has earned them releases on Influenza Media and Inform Records so far, and they make their Street Series debut with the ‘Kokoro EP’ here for Liondub International.

‘Moving Time’ begins the journey, it’s smooth sophistication evident from the first bars as warm bass-lines and keyboard washes flow around dusky vocals. The title tune leans even more towards pastoral melodies, especially in the delicate piano parts that rise from the breakdown into the second half, but it gets roughened by tougher drums to keep the pace. Grabbing ears with its soulful vocal samples and complex arrangement, ‘Days of P’ is led by the deep pulsations of its wide, sub-heavy bass-line to create a sublime effect. Tough hoover bass andjungle drums increase the impact of ‘Like a Ghost’, but there’s no loss to their mastery for fine details and groove. ‘The Light’ returns to subtler territory but retains a harder edge, with ample space in the tune serving to highlight both the spacious ambient pads and the physical heft of the drums and bass.

Contra offer up beautifully crafted productions that open up a new sound for the label and its Street Series. 
Expect greatness from this new act as they usher in the new year with this superb 5 tracker.