Earl Grey is up next on Galway-based jungle/drum & bass label Rua Sound with the ‘Death Rattle’ EP.
After closing 2023 out with a suite of chunky drumfunk from Russ Brooker, the imprint launches back into action with four tracks packed with scuttling percussion, shadowy sound design and creative sampling. Following releases on Western Lore, Inperspective Records, and Subtle Audio, the Manchester-based producer – real name Jim Ehlinger – is deep in the zone here; breaksy rave slammers these are not. What we get instead is a selection of rolling mood music that’ll set the dancefloor to dark mode, and turn the sound system dials to ‘spooky’.
The EP originated back in lockdown, when Ehlinger was living with percussionist Atanas Dochev and they recorded some drums at home, which ended up forming the foundation for the title track and ‘Atanas Aconite’.
Later, after watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown where the chef travelled to Indonesia, he became fascinated with the Balinese gamelan music that featured in it. He started collecting more sounds of non-western instruments, such as the gendèr, bonang, kacapi, koto, taiko and Moroccan Sufi flutes, as well as random bits of audio from his environment – “wine glasses, loft springs, metal lampshades” – and used these as the sample library for the tracks. Inspired by horror soundtracks, the aim was to move away from more traditional styles of jungle breaks, and to experiment with different timbres.
The experiment paid off. From the eerie d&b sprint of ‘Amygdala’ – named after the part of the brain that creates fear – through the moody four-to-the-floor pulse and noirish melodic samples of ‘Atanas Aconite’, to the propulsive drums mixed with drill bass and synthetic strings on ‘Prussia Dub’, this is a new haunted jewel in the Rua Sound crown.
‘Death Rattle’ will be released on 16th February. Pre-order it here.