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Review: Om Unit – Torchlight Vol. 1

In Drum & Bass by Joe Ponting

Review: Om Unit – Torchlight Vol. 1

Jungle OG Om Unit is about to drop his first solo release (CBR012) on his own Cosmic Bridge imprint, four years after starting it up. There have been remixes and collaborations but this is Jim Coles going it alone, and by the sound of it he’s crossed the cosmic bridge he built and is writing music from the other side of it. Hear the sounds at the bottom of this post, and here’s what he has to say about it

“This record is the result of many studio jams using outboard gear and less rules. Applying these almost non-techniques to the 160bpm bass music template I was seeking new ideas by breaking up the work flow. The result whilst some might say is not a million miles away from music I’ve made before, is a step further out of the box I feel I have helped create somehow.”

Torchlight Vol. 1

Opening with space-age future-dubber ‘Wagonist Riddim’, comets soar past while solar flares of bass kick out, but the whole mood is one of peace and wonder, wrapped up in square waves. ‘Spiritwerk’ turns the screw a bit, darker and more urgent with footwork sensibilities and a grime-flavoured bassline over twisted breaks nodding back to the rave.

The artwork on the B-side of the record is the alchemic symbol for fire

Flip the wax and there’s a collaboration with another jungle legend as Digital steps up to the controls to co-pilot ‘Midnight Oil’ through its murky, stepped depths. The bass-heavy space is oppressive in all the right ways on a track which shows how minimal arrangements don’t have to be a cop-out – there is serious weight here. Thankfully, Coles winds things down gently with the ice-cold soundscapes of ‘The Lake’. Inspired by a meditative experience at the clear waters of Lake Volanselkä, outside Helsinki, the track is a down-tempo spine-tingler. But he’s not done yet, and throwing in a bonus track – ‘Demons Out’ – Coles makes sure things are left on edge, as basses plunge beneath unnerving pads and high-end atmospherics.

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