It’s nice that nowadays there’s the subgenre of footwork to classify artists like the squeaky new Dutch producer Nuaru. Back in the day no one could decide if releases like his new mini EP Like In a Dream were breaks, jungle or drum and bass. This beat structure is really all three and none of them at the same time. Footwork is just as diverse as its cousins, as is exemplified by Nuaru’s new EP, his second this year. Footwork can be heavy and steppy and almost indiscernible from riddim and neurofunk-style drum and bass, or it can be tribal and nature-inspired and quite pretty. Like In A Dream is definitely the latter style.
In the mid ’00s before we had a name for it, this funky, breakbeat/dnb hybrid with lots of nature sounds and so much pan flute you could actually hear the cacao beans being crunched and the acid being dropped, had a real surge. Even hardcore drum and bass producers like Omni Trio and Bassociation were getting into it. That’s a bit like what the EP’s b-side “She Blends In With the Ocean” sounds like, but taken to the next level. The snare-heavy broken beat comes in almost before anything else and really provides the basis for the esoteric, trippy, sort of X-Files synths. Since the beat is more tribal, this creates a great duality between earth and sky for the listener. Some of the highlight sounds are also quite celestial: bloops and bleeps which sort of put a period on the end of each phrase.
All this is pretty standard for a fun, desert festival-style chill out track, but after a small break and buildup at about 2:22, things get a little more interesting. The beat becomes heavier and more synths, both complimentary and contrasting to the original synth come in and flood the board with sound. The beat then turns around again and the vocals are cut up and re-arranged, turning footwork into halftime before the track closes. It’s a great switch-up, showing that Nuaru has yet to show the full spectrum of his potential with footwork or any other genre. Nuaru will definitely be one to watch in bass music in the coming year.
Like In A Dream releases Monday, December 11 on Free Love Digi. Visit the label’s website for pre-order links, and take a look at Nuaru’s Soundcloud to hear his other tracks.