From the ice cold landscapes of his secret lair in Finland, Desto returns to Rwina Records for another EP of forward thinking dancefloor music. A man who values quality over quantity, the Finnish producer’s work on No Sleep picks up where he left off previously on Rwina: think deep sub pressure in the finest south London tradition this time blended with sounds and rhythms that take their cue from across the spectrum of bass-influenced music such as grime’s colourful melodies or the rhythmic playfulness and sonic claustrophobia of the likes of Lex Luger.
The EP’s title track starts with an hypnotic melody that creeps up on you through a filter before a speak and spell tells you the name. Slow rhythmic progression drives the build-up showing off Desto’s impeccable attention to detail. Before you know it the drop hits you with the kind of subtlety rarely displayed in dance music today. Rolling bass floats in from left to right as the drums take a back seat. It’s this incredible attention to detail and sparse yet powerful 808 driven rhythmic instrumentation that makes No Sleep such a killer track and EP – the perfect opposite to the “in-your-face”, “who’s more obvious” wars currently ruining parts of the dance music world.
Shadow Sole blends bass pressure, eerie melodies and rolling, percussive drum work that comes off as somewhere between Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu era Photek and Lex Luger’s 808-led paranoid, sci-fi landscapes. Again it’s the attention to detail here that really takes the breath away, showing that less can definitely be more when it comes to making the listeners vibe. Think a slanted take on Trap music from the Artic circle for the more adventurous drug runners.
Monsters About is perhaps the planet where the ride left us once it ran out of juice. Desto brings the monsters out by once more tapping into the paranoid and claustrophobic potential that Trap has built its success on. Chest-pounding drums and rhythmic movements are alternated with robotic voices and ice cold synths reminiscent of Grime’s darker corners to create the perfect soundtrack for that lone space wanderer who went the wrong way after setting off to explore the planet. Don’t look too close into the darkness or it might bite back.
Finger snaps and a colourful, hypnotic melody set off Can’t Take It. The drums roll in and we’re away into space powered by melodies that take their cue from Bristol and Grime’s more colourful moments and an additional power boost from deep bass kicks. The ride is bumpy yet pleasant as your pilot takes through the galaxy’s more interesting corners. Don’t let the pleasantness fool you however, this ride still has enough in it to make you take out a lighter and call for a rewind.
Staying original is no mean feat in this day and age. Location plays a part, and Desto shows that his geographical isolation gives him plenty of space to soak in influences but keep the balance right between a personal sound and something that merely seeks to imitate. The references on No Sleep can seem incredibly clear at times yet the overall result is remarkably Desto’s own. The way he strips each track down to its bare essentials and uses these for full impact is impressive and mesmerising. Nas once said that sleep is the cousin of death. Desto just proved that no sleep can be just as dangerous.