Breakbeats have long held a cherished place in dance music, starting with the surgical rhythms of DnB and the lunatic euphoria of happy hardcore. Later other uses emerged, notably the paranoid soundscapes of jungle (which influenced a recent spate of gritty breakbeat techno). Through all of these genres breakbeats were used to produce a lunatic energy, their intensive syncopations generating a rhythm of propulsive revolutions rather than static drum hits. Only recently have breaks been used to a more relaxed end, welded to dreamy ambience that lends these familiar drum patterns new life.
Many of the artists bringing the haze to breakbeats are predictably associated with Canada’s west coast scene, and their ranks can now swell to include Sophie Sweetland. Under the name D. Tiffany Sweetland has been responsible for some of the local scene’s most blissed-out cuts, and now she returns to 1080p under a new alias to pay blunted homage to the UK’s finest contribution to rhythm.
The four tracks here are definitely variations on a formula, but they’re distinct and successful enough to offer DJs a worthwhile range of flavours for the dancefloor. Mellow Vibe is the dreamiest cut where broad, colourful synths sweep over a break so gentle that even an urgent vocal loop can’t break its torpor. Up Up (Slammin’ Vers) is much tougher, its drums scurrying over a near-constant bass pressure. The interplay between the clipped melody and cavernous effects lends the track great dynamics for the dancefloor, but they’re still weird enough to keep the intoxicating headiness that defines much of Sweetland’s output.
The B-side contains some more adventurous blends pulled off successfully. Snow Globe slackens the pace to include a funky guitar lick that’s dwarfed by a seesawing two-note motif. Zozi Theme ends the collection with a nod to the futurism of early 90’s dance music, its filtered synths soaring majestically over cheeky drum fills and a vaguely nauseous chord sequence. It’s impressive how Sweetland locates four experimentations with breakbeats so effortlessly into her distinctive style: smoky, playful and strange.