Lee Bates, the young Atlanta-based producer better known as MUST DIE! has been on a tear for the past few months releasing heaps of new material showcasing his rapidly evolving sound. His skill and dexterity as a producer has appeared in many instances to be growing at a nearly unrivaled pace and his latest release, his debut on Firepower Records is no exception.
MUST DIE!‘s Caffeine EP consists of six original mixes that highlight his ability to balance his aggressive style of punishing bass with melody – resulting in a much more progressive sound. This slight alteration in style is glaringly evident from the moment you push play on the first track of the EP. The release kicks off with the short intro, The Arena, which lures the listener into the rest of the EP with a lush soundscape completely free of any thunderous bass. However, this deprivation of bass is rather short lived. The next track of the release, Caffeine, continues to sport a more progressive sound but this time with the addition of expertly chopped vocals and crunchy wobbles. I might add that Caffeine isn’t a track that should just be taken at face value. The detail of the production is what truly sets this track apart from the rest. The next highlight of the EP came in the form of Wide World. This record once again continues to blend melodic undertones with heavy bass but in my opinion Wide World clearly stands out due to its depth and profoundness of snarling bass. Once again this track is far from filthy bass music but still contains a perfect balance of his newly demonstrated gritty yet progressive sound. The EP continues to include a darker drum and bass original featuring Jaws of Terravita and then culminates with Nightwatch, yet another ominous track that strays away from MUST DIE!‘s bass heavy nature to focus more intently on the subtleties of his production.
All in all MUST DIE!‘s Caffeine EP was far from what I originally expected. Despite the absence of his high energy ground-shaking bass, Caffeine is still an excellent release for very different reasons. Caffeine clearly represents MUST DIE!‘s desire to further not only his skill as a producer but also his sound as a whole. Focusing on soundscapes and sonic design in a very different fashion from his past releases, the EP is full of tracks that I would consider risky and I very much appreciate his willingness to grow and move out from his comfort zone. Caffeine is out now on Firepower Records so make sure to stream the EP below and support this rising artist. Enjoy.