4 out of 5
Label: Analogical Force
Produced by: Bewwip
Stunningly unique IDM from Philadelphia artist Bewwip, which manages to pick up all those classic Rephlex building blocks, smash them together with a modern grasp of songwriting, and deliver an endlessly relistenable EP of funk and breaks, winding up at a label who has showcased a lot of electro superstars: Analogical Force.
…However, AF does occasionally chase artists who maybe don’t break from convention in the same way Bewwip does; some wild snare rush and BPMs are great and all, but there are masters in that field who have, frankly, done a lot of it before, and iterated on it since. So it takes a special something to bring your own brew to the scene, and apparently Philadelphia is a good place to concoct that.
Most tracks here will start with some touchpoints – opener WRGV compile has mid-era Aphex poppy bop; Finally Early 26B 1’s rush is Sqaurepusher at his most percussion-y; maybe you want to trace closer Block By Block’s dancefloor funk through DMX Krew and u-Ziq – you can sift through quite a few references. But: from that first track onward – though this is the most “conventional,” and takes the longest to distinguish itself (from an admittedly awesome beat!) – E Drive’s songs are always explored with pop / experimental / jazz constructional elements that give the music a very identifiable sharpness: the way feedback is used; the way pitch-tuning is used; the way a beat breaks but doesn’t dissemble – these are moves that start from the familiar with earned confidence, then use that same to step off the beaten path without hesitation, and we gladly follow along. That is: by studying and understanding what came before (whether purposefully or inherently), Bewwip can both mimic it without it coming across disrespectfully, and then also blow it apart.
E Drive’s sequencing takes us from more chill beats through a blast of aggression, and closes out on an unrepentantly fun and bouncy number – Block By Block. It takes a small beat up front to prove itself, and the artist has a sort of get-in get-out philosophy on later tracks, which I would’ve been happy to see extended a bit, but it also leaves me wanting more, and apparently that equals listening to this EP, and their whole discography, quite a bit.