by Cameron Seibold
Turkish dubstep producer Gantz is highly respected in the underground community of 140-beats-per-minute bass music. He has released music on Innamind, System, and now with the release of his “Witch Blues” EP, he’s back on dubstep don Mala’s own Deep Medi. The best thing about Gantz is just how far out of bounds he takes the sound of dubstep, pulling influence from hip-hop, gospel and traditional stringed instruments. For anyone who might think things are getting stale in electronic music, Gantz is here to prove you wrong.
Opening track “Pseudooo” is a heavy weight roller, probably the closest the EP gets to traditional dubstep while remaining out of bounds. The real substance of the track is the contrast of the heavy rolling sub-bass and light harp arpeggios floating high above. The off-kilter percussion drives the groove of this tune into meditative territory, appropriate for the (Deep Medi(tation)) label it has been released on.
Title track “Witch Blues” opens with a vocal snippet talking about gospel melodies followed with a bluesy, reverb laden steel guitar riff. Following the introduction, a tape-warped harp arpeggio leads the listener into another bass heavy rhythm. “Witch Blues” has a heavy hip hop influence, including a sample of MF doom heavily hidden in the atmosphere of the track.
Side B opens with a collaboration with MC Rider Shafique on “Rockstar.” The production is a more straightforward beat for Gantz. It has somewhat less focus in the production, but it works as to not detract from the lyrics, a criticism of the decadence of western civilization, provided by Shafique.
The final track of the EP opens with another traditional stringed instrument being played at a rapid tremolo, washed away into a sea of reverb and brutally interrupted by the main elements of the final beat. More chopped up and stretched harp samples, obscured vocal snippets, and huge bass-driven rhythms lead the production on Supreme A, the final meditative roller by Gantz on “Witch Blues” EP.
Gantz’ interest in the dark and noir, contrasted by the gorgeous stringed instruments he samples on many of his tracks introduces a creative atmosphere unlike any other producer at the moment. While remaining in the “bass heavy, 140 beats per minute” requirements of underground dubstep, he completely transcends the genre, creating something that goes entirely beyond anything I’ve heard before. I often find myself obsessing over music that has a “rolling” quality to the rhythm, something you can listen to late at night and lose yourself in completely. There are very few artists and even songs that accomplish this specific meditative quality, but time and again Gantz nails what I’m looking for in my search.