Regular Daruma contributor Subtomik has just released his second full length EP, this time in the form of a scratchy and ethereal collection of sample-filled rhythms called Digital Bath. In a time when the Internet is stuffed to the brim with terrible memes, airhorn samples and recycled drops, cleansing yourself with some original songwriting and experimental production methods is exactly how we can yank our heads out of the sand and begin looking ahead once more. This is what the name Digital Bath signifies to me, whether or not it was the artist’s actual intent. But regardless, the result of this endeavor is a murky yet refreshing plunge into the unexplored depths of new wave hip hop and trap music. The entire EP can be purchased through Subtomik’s Bandcamp page here.
The ten tracks follow a somewhat dark and introspective narrative, some exploding outwards with heightened energy and swagger while others cave inwards to investigate the tones and melodies behind the beat. Throughout most of them, swirling vocal echoes and shrill percussion reverb fill the spaces between the instruments, lending a unique and mysterious atmosphere for the songs’ more upfront components to dwell in. Familiar tempos are suddenly broken up into obscurity, and seemingly unrelated samples become unexpectedly codependent as they’re anchored to the bass lines and snares.
The final song – and my favorite one – is the only true remix on the entire EP. Drawing samples from Japanese vocalist Shing02‘s theme from the acclaimed animated series Samurai Champloo, Subtomik gives a hefty nod to the late hip hop producer Nujabes (the creator of the original song and composer for most of the television series’s music). As my own, personally most revered artist in all of music, it was incredible to finish off an already impactful EP with a wonderful flip of a Nujabes tune that I’d known and loved for so long.