If your bass-dar happened to miss Skylark until recently when he was mentioned more than once in round one of the Drum&BassArena Awards, you wouldn’t be alone. With so much volume and innovative sound coming out of D&B this year, it’s hard to keep track. That said, it’s time to wake up on this French producer, as he’s really making some interesting music.
Starting with releases in 2018 and 2019 on Music Squad, Impact Music and Dispatch, Skylark was soon making increasingly impressive tracks with DIVIDID, 1985 and VIsion. Now with his first release on Nëu Music, Skylark is coming more and more into his own unique style. The double single “Like This”/”The Shadow” will drop on the German experimental label next Friday, November 27.
The two tracks are a good showcase of the two main elements in Skylark’s still-evolving style. He has what feels like a preternatural ability to combine ambient, melodic elements with deep bass, all while making the work seem very minimal and clean. Both tracks do some deep exploration with vintage tube amp sounds and have fast snares that tie the work together. “Like This” is the heavier offering on the release, with the snares actually driving the track more than any other element. Lots of grinding bass synth makes sure we don’t get too melodic and a creepy, well-manipulated vox sample ties phrases together so those snares don’t run completely amok.
Our premiere today is “The Shadow” and it almost sounds like it could be an extension or coda to “Like This.” the same tube amplifier sounds pepper the intro and the deep bass bits smooth out to something much more melodic and becoming part of the ambient sound design and suddenly opening up the tone of the track to something much more cinematic. While those tight, spinning snares till push the “The Shadow” ever forward, there’s a sense of flow and grandeur to the sound. If “Like This” is minimal deep bass, “The Shadow” is minimal deep bass in a giant cavern underwater, with the sound bouncing off every wall.
Skylark’s is a style that’s both flexible and instantly recognizable. As a newer producer, drum and bass is likely to see all kinds of different output from him but the tightness of his production, his ability to find that sound design sweet spot between minimal and full tilt and the combining of sounds and techniques are already the marks of a top-notch producer. It’s no wonder he was nominated by D&BA this year, and Nëu were very smart to snap up this release.
“Like This” and “The Shadow” drop on November 27 on Nëu Music. Pre-order or pre-save here.