In February, Korsakov Music re-introduced house producer Barely Royal as Sovryn and released his scorcher of a debut EP, Static Vision. An eclectic mix of melodic dancefloor and punishing neuro-inspired chugging synths, the newly minted Sovryn showed that he could party with the big D&B boys tech-wise. It was only a matter of time before a collab with label boss AL/SO was going to happen, and apparently that time is right fricking now.
The Insanity EP is not typical for AL/SO, who’s become known for cheeky dancefloor rockers like “Party Every Day” with High Maintenance and “Booger Sugar” with AKOV and Multiplex in their collab project, Ancient Radius. This offering is more melodic, more personal and more emotive, so given Sorvyn’s already well-established aptitude for such vibes, it makes a perfect pairing.
Opening track “Fly” sets the tone for Insanity was inspired by a very difficult loss in AL/SO’s life and crafted with the help of Marianna Ray and guitarist Tom Vernon. The metal-inspired guitar licks through the emotive synths of the track while Ray’s vocals pierce the front line of the track with even more melody and more emotion. Not intended to be a dancefloor track in the traditional sense. this one will absolutely move the crowd in sets this summer; as long as we can all stand the goosebumps, that is.
While “Fly” sets the tone for Insanity, it doesn’t necessarily dictate the style or each track. The title track features Tom Vernon even more heavily as well as Static Vision vocalist, Gid Sedgwick and is composed, interestingly, like a half-roc, half-rave track. It must have been a tough balance to reach but the result is a heavy, heady, politically-charged banger that rivals middle-era Pendulum in terms or flow and complexity. A commentary on the madness of 2020 and beyond, “Insanity” pulls no punches.
Closing the EP and our YEDM premiere today, “Torment” is the only track on Insanity that is straight up and down drum & bass and a true collab between AL/SO and Sovryn. Full of calls back to the heyday or techstep and the progeny of neurofunk, the ravey tinge to the intro and breaks is the only melody here. The crunchy, chugging synths push the blown apart beat forward as a zip drive run for the phrase transitions makes this track seem even faster than it is.
If that weren’t enough, the beat pattern in “Torment” changes to 174 techno a number of times, dipping back and forth between broken and straight beat so seamlessly that it’s over before the listener even knows what’s happening. “Torment” is the embodiment of the cathartic energy of rave: get mad, stomp around, leave it all on the dancefloor.
As a relatively short EP, Insanity is diverse, complex and emotive in a way that will be unexpected in the drum & bass scene as a whole, not just for these two artists. Sovryn and AL/SO have upped their game even more by tapping into raw emotions and taking chances with this one: with great risk comes great reward.
Insanity drops Friday, April 30 on Korsakov music. Pre-order or pre-save here.