Nearly three years since their seminal release of ‘Up In The Club’ which sparked the epic rise of drumstep, Terravita are releasing their first full-length album, Rituals, on Datsik’s Firepower Records. The album comes after three other EPs – Bach Off, Pirate Bass, and The Power Of Fire. Fans will recognize the tracks ‘Set It Off’ and ‘Bach Off’ on the new album, but everything else is as fresh as can be. Terravita have been releasing previews on their SoundCloud over the past couple months and more recently the past couple of weeks. However, having heard the full release already, I can tell you they haven’t even shown their biggest track yet.
In this review, I’ll go through the tracks they’ve released on SoundCloud and let you know why these guys are the best at what they do.
First up, the collaboration with KJ Sawka. I already wrote up this track about a month ago, and I’m not sure what more can be said. The extraordinary Pendulum drummer lends his live skills to an already well-produced track. It starts off with a rising crescendo on piano and guitar, some other Eastern string instrument, and then the drop hits and we hear Terravita’s signature bass growls and we’re happy. It’s my second favorite track on the whole release, and not because I have a burning love for Pendulum, but I would say I’m a little biased.
Next up is the collab with none other than Firepower Rec’s exec Datsik. Losing control is the theme here, and the drop perfectly captures that image as it seems to simply go wild with sound and wobble. Both artists’ sound can be identified, with Datsik’s heavy dubstep sound and Terravita’s propensity for track progression and innovation, along with the drum & bass breakdown at the end.
Terravita enlisted the help of none other than Obsidian for the opening track of the release. From the first lyric, they make it clear that they are here to stay, and they’re not going anywhere. Deep dubstep wobbles and an utterly unique breakdown that’s slightly glitchy while retaining Terravita’s sound make this track a perfect introduction to Rituals.
‘Bach Off’ and ‘Set It Off’ are re-releases from previous EPs, but that shouldn’t make seeing them on Rituals any less important, because they are amazing tracks in their own right. ‘Bach Off’ is incredible simply for its integration of classical chord progressions and samples, while simultaneously making it as dirty as possible. In fact, it seems to be a special skill of Terravita’s to take a very mellow, beautiful track and completely abuse it, misuse it, and throw it out the other end as mangled as one of Michael Vick’s dogs (too soon?). Just take a look at their remix of Aphex Twin’s, Avril 14th. And then, ‘Set It Off,’ riding that line between dubstep and trap keeps the bass low and Terravita are able to take a step back and just let the track flow without too much embellishment.
One of Terravita’s strong points is frontman Jon Spero’s lyrical prowess. We’ve seen it time and again, heavily on their Power Of Fire EP, and we just get an even better taste of it from ‘We Are Alive.’ The track is undoubtedly a little on the house-ier side, but it still has that Terravita flair. Proving he can do more than just spit rhymes, Spero tones it down a bit for the breakdown; but, of course, it’s gotta get dirty again and the second drop is glitchy goodness.
The last track that they’ve shared on SoundCloud, so far, again makes use of Spero’s lyrical talent. The build up is unbelievably funky with that subtle cowbell, but then of course they drop into a wonderful dubstep break that makes you take a moment and just go, “Whoa.”
Overall, Rituals showcases Terravita’s immense dedication and talent as producers, lyricists, and collaborators. Arguably Firepower Rec’s greatest asset, Terravita are not to be trifled with either on vinyl or live. Their shows are out of this world – and while I haven’t personally seen them as headliners, their Rituals Tour has been around the US for the past couple of months and is beginning its second phase starting with Santa Cruz, CA on April 4th. If you have the opportunity to catch them in your city, I would highly recommend it. Go onto their Facebook for more details and tickets.
The album comes out on April 1st. Keep a look out for it on iTunes, Beatport, or wherever you might find bass.