Bass producer Unknown who has built up a huge following with a steady stream of tunes on YouTube and Soundcloud, made his vinyl debut with last year's Tags – 1-10 series on Champion Sound Recordings, and now he returns to the label with his best and most diverse work yet, the I Cry EP.
The Unknown trademarks – waves of sub-bass, expertly swung percussion and a dark, seductive and tense atmosphere – are all there, and he's pushing into new and fascinating territories too, with some brighter textures, house vibes and his first ever vocal collaboration on the stunning title track, 'I Cry'.
Blame kicks things off with a typically weighty slab of astral garage. The emotionally-wracked track emerges from a blissed-out miasma of synths into a skewed half-step rhythm adorned with mournful vocals and anchored with plenty of low-end. It's melancholic, but not without hope.
The vocal track I Cry also plays at the boundary of sorrow and optimism. Aquatic piano chords, crisp hats and a cascading bassline play beneath a gorgeous vocal from Dublin-born newcomer Gemma Dunleavy. More than a shiver-inducing UK bass track, it's an emotionally bruising song.
The EP's final two tracks head purposefully towards the club. Lucid is the clearest signal yet of Unknown's affinity for house – a tough, bass-heavy roller saturated in acidic synths, it will work the darkest of dancefloors.
Meanwhile, Belfast house tyro Ejeca gets to work on a garage-flavoured remix of I Cry. Reminiscent of his classic Bicep collaboration, You, it rounds off the EP in anthemic style, with infectious synth stabs, eerie strings and Gemma Dunleavy's soulful vocals weaving in and out of the mix.
"hypnotizing vibes that wander from understated bass music and into jazzy territory" - XLR8R
"an excellent EP and one that is very well crafted" - Louder Than War
"crackly, faded production, gently swung grooves, submerged vocal samples and sense of ennui" - Alternative Ulster
"blue, atmospheric dubstep" – Boomkat
Previous work support from Mmoths, Tiga, Ben Pearce, Tom Ravenscroft , Two Charming Men , Bearface