This week sees the release of Splinters, an album weighted in forward thinking bass craftsmanship.
Amit, Krust, dBridge, V.I.V.E.K, Om Unit, J:Kenzo, Oris Jay & Chris Innasound, Danny Scrilla, Moresounds, Von D, Monic (aka Simon Shreeve, Kryptic Minds), AU (aka Gremlinz) Jesta and Shrlok all feature as the album documents just how healthy, vital and exciting and fused soundsystem music has become. Transcending tempos, boundaries and generations; we’re back to the melting pot status.
Like all projects with this many moving parts, ideas and creative minds, the project’s roots go back further than you think. On September 14, 2011 Amit post this tweet:
— AMIT (@AMIT_MUSIC) September 14, 2011
At the time no one knew what it meant. Not even Amit, entirely; he just knew he wanted to see more unity. Slowly but surely he began sowing the seeds, making the links and setting the scene. A pivotal moment in the development came in 2013 when Amit launched AMAR, a label that’s shuddered and rumbled with Amit’s no rules signature since day one. Starting with his own releases, gradually AMAR opened out to other artists such as fellow freeform spirit Nomine, Gremlinz alter ago AU, Danny Scrilla and consistently on point new gen NZ deepsmith Akcept and Von D.
Seven years after his tweet, five years after the label launched, Splinters was realised. A compendium of deep, smouldering low end innovation, it’s one of the most talent-packed, genre-smelting collective bass portraits since Mary Anne Hobbs released Warrior Dubz; an album that galvanized the potential flexibility and scope of the then burgeoning dubstep movement with a rollcall featuring Digital Mystikz, Burial, Kode9, The Bug, Loefah and even Spor.
Like Warrior Dubz, Splinters debunks the idea of tempo or rigid genre formalities and unites artists and kindred creative spirits through vibe, aesthetic and attitude. Amit describes it as “an anthology of electronic music from some of the most exciting established and emerging artists working today. Each bring their own unique style, flair and vision to the album, weaving together their disparate voices to create an aural kaleidoscope.”
“I wanted to curate a project which would look past BPMs and instead focus on bringing together music from the artists whose work I find particularly exciting at the present moment in time, regardless of whether they are considered to be drum and bass, dubstep or trip hop,” he continues to explain. “I think a lot of electronic music artists feel frustrated when they are labelled early in their career as belonging to one genre or another. I’m interested in widening the scope for the audience, encouraging them to look outside their usual preferences and exposing them to music that they wouldn’t ordinarily be drawn to. For me, if the music is good, if it has merit, if it moves me in some way, then its genre is meaningless.”
Amen. Merit, movement and total scope widening. Here’s how Splinters looks from each contributing artist’s perspective…
“Amit was basically doing weird 170 stuff before it was a thing. Before, there were people like Deep Blue, Justice/Metro and Matrix pushing boundaries, but he really was out there in a more dancefloor orientated way. Tougher and harder. I think he has contributed to blurring the lines between tempos inside the soundsystem aspect of dance music culture, so it’s an honour to put forward a track for this compilation.” Om Unit
Amit: Cold Blood
“The idea for Splinters was a project that would bring together the artists whom I really respect and admire and which would challenge the preconceptions around electronic music. That’s when the title came to me; Splinters, a collection of completely original and unique tracks all housed together under the same roof. It was only seven years later when I was able to make it a reality.”
Om Unit: Maths
“I wanted to make something based on a kind of pulse that works only on sound systems. The sub on this is quite powerful! I was working on the idea when I found the sample from a movie about George Gurdjieff and it all fell together. It was just a freestyle thing in the studio from there and kind of made itself in the end.”
“I was listening to some dancehall and wanted to try a different drum pattern over 140 bpm. One thing lead to another. The vocal sample is actually me a as well! Amit is more than a friend. He’s family to me. So when he asked for the track it was a no brainer. Such a great idea! Bigup Amit!”
SHRLOK: Falling Awake
“A world without money was my inspiration for writing ‘Falling Awake’. The lyrics in the track represent freedom and the total collapse of the system. I love the idea of the human race coming together to tear down social barriers. It meant a great deal to me when Amit asked me to feature my new single on the Splinters LP. I am a new artist in this crazy big industry, so being on a compilation LP with some really incredible artists is very motivational.”
dBridge: Own The Town
“What inspired the track? Loxy and the state of the nation.”
Moresounds: They Can’t Handle It
“I wanted to make a future bass tune with heavy dub vibes, really wanted to push it into live dubbed action with a loud drum and bass background. AMAR is the perfect label to experiment the halftime D&B style with some dubbed FX flavors: Soundsystem weapons. I’m really happy to be part of this project with an incredible choice of talented artists.”
J:Kenzo: Nal Hutta
“Having Amit ask me to make a track for Splinters was a real pleasure. I’ve admired him and the label for some years now, and to be on the same compilation as all the other like minded talented artists involved is exciting. My idea for the track was fusing the sounds of heavyweight dub, jungle and techno together in one. The sound what I feel AMAR is about.”
Oris Jay & Chris Innasound: Ghosts & Darkness
Oris Jay: “I found a vocal sample that said “the ghost and the darkness” so I decided to make a track that would sound like its title. I called up my mate Chris Innasound as he’s genius in the studio and the track was born.”
Chris Innasound: “My inspiration on this track came from Oris’s initial vibe. Dark and moody. Classic Oris Jay business. He sent over the initial idea and I went from there.”
Krust: Escape From Finland
“I’ve been working with Amit for some time on a few different projects and an opportunity to create a piece of music for an advert came up I thought that would be a good experience. Creating to a storyboard is really interesting, you write to the images which is good for getting out of your own way. I created maybe 15 ideas that eventually got edited down to eight. I sent them to Amit and he very politely said ‘what else you got mate?’ That was when it took a turn.
“‘I thought about where I was heading with the track and took some time out and went for a walk at 3am in a park and meditated. What I learned was that I was trying, not flowing. So what came out was good but not uniquely me. When I went back in later that night Escape From Finland was one of a batch that came out. It didn’t get used for the ad so we found a new home for it. Being a part of the project is inspiring, I get to show another side of myself, people know me for my sound but there some much more to it. So I think this platform give us all a way to express that side of us the audience doesn’t get to hear.”
AU & Jesta: Just Don
“We wanted to stick to our roots and come with something dark, moody & gully. We were on a breaks flex at the time and we also hadn’t messed with the amen for a while so we decided to go in. We named the tune as a nod to Jesta’s bredrin Don C owner of Just Don.”
Danny Scrilla: Clockwerkz
“I wanted to create something that has both a mechanical and organic feel to it. I tried to do this on Clockwerkz by using some classic techniques and a sparse arrangement that you would find in dub music but with some futuristic sounds sprinkled on top. I’m quite honoured to be on this compilation amongst producers and friends whose work I really admire. When Amit asked me to be part of this I wasn’t yet aware of the tracklist but this turned out to be a truly special compilation.”
Von D: Ah So It Go
“My inspiration for the tune was to create a dark track with a very up to date sound design while also using old traditional dub techniques and machines, like a contrast of two words merging together. Being on Splinters means a lot to me because there are some artists on this project who I was listening to growing up… So to be part of a project with them is quite an achievement to me.”
Akcept & Another Channel: Don’t Believe
“We had been into each other’s music for a while and decided to try work on something together, an interesting combo seeing as our work flows are completely different. Analogue dub meets digital dub!”
MONIC: Storm Doris
“I made Storm Doris during a storm that hit the UK in 2007; the media named the storm, Storm Doris. After several power cuts and working through the night, the track was finished it felt fitting to use the storm name for the track title. I have known Amit for many years; so when I got a call from him asking if I would be interested in contributing towards a project he was putting together, it was a no brainer!”