In the early 2010s the crew around Bristol label Livity Sound breathed new life into UK techno, folding the traits of dubstep, jungle and grime into a new hybrid club sound that continues to bear fruit. Over the last couple of years, a new wave of Bristol producers have been setting a fresh tone for the city. Artists like Bruce, Parris, Batu and Ploy deconstruct the Livity DNA and splice in fresh codes, with results that are subtler, trippier, and fresher than almost anything else in the UK scene.
Following a pair of nuanced EPs in 2016, one on Hessle Audio, Ploy returns to Batu’s Timedance imprint for another dose of intricate percussion and delicately warped arrangements. He continues to hone his distinctive sound on this release, marked by busy tribal drum patterns, unsettled synths and weighty muffled kicks that reference Bristol’s long-standing love affair with sub-bass.
The A-side carries both of the record’s big-hitters. Intrigued By The Drum is Ploy’s slanted take on a club banger, heaving into earshot with a lopsided gait. The whole arrangement is little more than percussion, effects and atmospheric samples, but there’s nothing missing – Ploy knows how to do more with less. Follow-up Zoom is the EP’s hidden gem, its agile rhythms flitting around a psychedelic lead that sounds like a woodwind section scything through the air.
On the flip a kind of malevolence takes hold. Blow Poke is a bassier cut, its percolating percussion yielding to a nervous synth lead, humid atmospherics conjuring images of a tense chase through a jungle. Bad Seed is slow and swung-out, setting the same eeriness in the gentle sway of a warm-up tune. As much as his sound palette is stripped and his mood focused, Ploy’s productions continue to be impressively versatile and distinct.