SubDocta – Crystals & Kombucha [EP Write-Up] |WAKAAN Release | NEW 2-TRACK EP: Featuring Reverie

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Written by: Brandon Missig

A Two Part Extended Play featuring Reverie in Part 1 and A Solo Production on Part 2 from SubDocta

SubDocta’s new Crystals & Kombucha, a forthcoming release off dubstep’s heavy hitting and experimental label WAKAAN, showcases forward-thinking sound design, club-oriented rhythms, and incredible vocals. The first track is an instant classic, truly paying homage to the era of dubstep that had a focus on deep wubs and where producers frequently worked with UK Grime vocalists. The song has an iconic boom-bap style groove with massive 808s you can feel in your chest. The drums are very tight and technical.

The transients of the different percussive elements are very bright and vibrant, almost wet sounding. It feels like there is a lot of space between the different sounds but the reverbs and echoes make that space sound lush and full. The beginning has less of a focus on the bassline, which is perfectly modest and aggressive at the same time, and more so on setting up space for Reverie’s vocals. Reverie hits the verse hard and makes the whole song stand out as one with a lot of replay-ability. With the verse behind, SubDocta opens up for a more developed drop and takes the song from this earthy dark vibe into some eccentric cyber punk with plucks and bass fuzz. 

photo of: SubDocta
SubDocta featuring Reverie – Part 1 [This Song Slaps Premiere]

It feels like Crystals & Kombucha Pt.1 & 2 really could be connected into a single piece. We hear the VIP tag at the beginning of Pt. 2, but It’s interesting to see an artist stretch the idea that dubstep needs to be a concise and short concept (less than 4 minutes) because of the format the music is performed in by putting out a release with the same concept twice, but embellished and elaborated on in different ways. In Pt.1 the focus is a call and response between the vocalist and the producer, Pt.2 SubDocta digs into his vast bag of tricks and production knowledge to deliver a well polished and unforgiving journey into the world created with Pt. 1.

Pt. 2 starts with a more distorted version of the melody from Pt.1 but the focus is a new dramatic and classical piano introduction. The first drop is driven by the tonal percussive noises. It feels like SubDocta made the already vibrant percussion even brighter and sharper to drive it as the focus over the fizzy sounding sub bass. The first drop ends with a much deserved head-banging bassline. When a song winds down like it does at the end of the first drop, it’s an indicator that a song is either going to do something completely different with the second drop, or it’s going to punch you in the throat with something infinitely more gnarly than the first drop. Well I’m pleased to inform you that the latter is the case in this tune.

SubDocta – Part 2

The song just completely unloads on the dancefloor with a predictable and easy to follow groove, but followed through with unique and distinct layers of sounds. There’s a lot of really intense ear catching noises like this glassy marching sound, or this odd whistling, or more of that vibrant percussion.

Every sound overlaps just the right amount. It’s extremely saturated but nothing feels overworked and none of the sound design is grainy or piercing. Overall these two pieces work to paint a very cool picture about modern sound design in Dubstep and the types of sounds we can expect to hear as festivals start happening again this summer.

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