Atic – Tuff Times EP

In Drum & Bass by Joe Ponting

Atic – Tuff Times EP

Stateside drum & bass gets another push from Free Love Digi, who this time are serving up the latest release from Atic. Exploding out of Denver with a fistful of murky tunes, the producer has been in the game for over a decade, starting out on the mic before ducking behind the turntables to push the music himself. Good job he did, too, because the Tuff Times EP is another slice of Free Love Digi magic. For more from Quentin Hiatus’ label, check out our review of the Passive Boycott EP from the man himself.


A tastefully singed, and disarmingly simple, bassline drives ‘Blue Mountain’ which packs a rhythmic punch from its tribal percussion and perfectly-weighted kicks. These sit in stark contrast to the distressingly overblown kicks on ‘Pyramid’ – what is otherwise a magnificently poised half-timer which flirts with a haunting beauty is totally overwhelmed by a deafening mid-range kick drum.

Other half-time exploits are much better; there is no evidence to suggest that the bassline on ‘Flatapus’ is anything other than the sampling of tectonic plates crashing into each other, colossal low end which could turn an iceberg into a Slush Puppy. Atic’s other solo outing – ‘Juil’ – is a certified liquid roller and is like nectar for anyone predisposed to love a track with delicate high-end piano. There’s some clouds in the sky with some slightly sinister pads, but for the most part its carefree summer rolling.

Both collaborations with Kaset are more dense, more concentrated and a lot more intense. Open-ended bass frequencies are tweaked and tuned into a hollow, twisting beast on neuro-tinged ‘Slap’, with a snare that lives up to the track’s title, and on the boldly-named ‘Critical Sound’ (hello, Kasra, we see you) the ceiling is lowered as drums pound to a powerful slice of claustrophobia.

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