Pendulum - Back To U/Still Grey

Discussion in 'Drum & Bass' started by freeagent, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. freeagent

    freeagent Almost 30

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    Pendulum, the Aussie's responisble for many memorable recent hits including the might 'Vault' on 31 and the current #1 UK Dance/#42 Overall 'Another Planet/Voyager' on Breakbeat Kaos, hit us with this Timeless Recodings twelve that has been on the shelf for at least 10 months, leaving those of us who heard it early on drooling for it and the top DJ's lucky enough to have it caining it to high hell.

    And of course this release, Timeless 027 for the trainspotters, does not disapoint. My promo copy is a thick, nicely cut piece (by Stu), and the mastering is top notch as well, very loud yet crisp. Props also to Pendulum for a solid mixdown, I'm sure that doesn't hurt the final product.

    "Back To U", the A side, begins with a distant pad and a signature Pendulum high-passed break + hi-hats a la "Trail of Sevens" and "Spiral". A chunky teknoid synth with a syncopated ping pong delay joins the fray, while the main breaks (sounding like programmed kick and snare over a tighten-up) pick up the pace. A small techy arpeggio in the high regions enters the sonic picture before the kick-bomb style drop, as a breathy female "back to U", pitched up and up ever so slightly up to create more of a build-up, slides in from the rear of the mix, contrasting the reversed drums fading out. A constantly-quickening lfo'ed synth joins her in building the tension until a superb mini-roll, where upon a huge reece and nice drum sequence batters the dancefloor with a potent anthemic repitition of the main vocal (pitched slightly at times) and very catchy synth and reece line. Elements such as faded-reversed vocal moans and larger parts of the earlier arpeggiated synth line come and go, keeping things flowing as the reece is withheld for a few bars, only to come roaring back to the front of the mix. The second drop is similar to the first, bringing things back in one by one in the familiar technoid style and repeating the kick-bomb to reece sequence much as before, and it is similarly as effective. The remaining part of the track is very short, similar in structure to the main arrangement after the first drop, and things come to a nice breathing finish, perfect for an outro, yet requiring at least average mixing to phrase it properly into the next record if the dj decides to venture on.

    Overall:
    Top-level dancefloor biz, sure to get any drum and bass fan on the floor, and likely to stir up a few new fans to the style. Some of the highest production values around, and a devastating hook to boot. A slight change-up after the second drop would have made this tune more interesting, and probably would have garnered a perfect 10, but close enough. 9.5/10

    The flip, "Still Grey", is a more atmospheric and gentle. A rolling, filered pad and hat open this soundscape, and a techy lead synth hints at the bleepy, melodic journey ahead. As the pad is low-pass filtered out and a wash of air comes over the high-end, a faded-in flute sound ushers in the subdued yet danceably snycopated drums and sub. The sub could probably have been a little thicker and maybe more compressed, as the higher notes lose some of their punch on my Studiophile BX-8 reference monitors. The soft "still grey" vocal comes in, along with some familiar trancey synth lines and some nicely filtered and edited guitar parts. A neurofunk-style breakdown ensues, with washy pads fading in from the rear of the mix. The second drop mirrors the first to a great extent, as do the part immediately following and the neuro-style breakdown after, until a new synth line comes in, ushering the track to a slightly new place before bringing it back down to its subtle lows, with muffled processional bells marching us into the abyss. This track is dj friendly, and has the benifit of appealing to several different styles of dj and listener (think techy, funky, and atmospheric all at the same time). I do have a few nits to pick, though. First off, the production is about to the standard of "Ulterior Motive" here, with nothing stellar and a few weakspots (sub bass, overall flatness of the track). Secondly, the arrangement is uninspired - this is for the most part a three minute track that gets repeated, creating a six minute track. This is one of the things I think Pendulum could work a little harder on in many of their production efforts, such as the flip to this, "Vault", and their forthcoming remix of Concord Dawn's "Tonight" (to name the ones that come to mind). Finally, although the concept of the track is cool and tries to compliment the flipside, Pendulum doesn't quite succeed in the execution here. The melody isn't terribly memorable, and the harmony between the different parts of the song doesn't quite work, at least for me.

    Overall:
    Definately a nice tune that might find some appreciative ears, and there are certainly no points lost in my book for conceptual effort. I don't think the tune works as well as some of Pendulum's other efforts, and there are a few weak points in the production and arrangement, IMHO. Also, I just don't see a lot of dj's playing this tune too much. So a nice go at something interesting and different on the flip, but maybe not a great success. 7/10.

    This is a long-awaited and deservedly hot 12" from the Perth dancefloor destroyers, a must buy for headlining and bedroom dj's alike, and a tune in "Back To U" that already a huge winner for Timeless and Pendulum (note the featured spot it occupies in Shy-FX's new mix for the TOV camp). As I found their recent "Another Planet/Voyager" 12" a bit noisy (although I certainly seem to be in the minority!!!), I was very pleased to get my grubby little hands on this smasher.

    Big up, Pendulum!