External Subway – “Between The Lines EP” [Fokuz Recordings]

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Personally, I really enjoy tunes that blur the lines between various styles of Drum & Bass, in part because of the inherent versatility that lends to them being played in a wide variety of sets, but also because I just love all different styles and I get excited when artists push the boundaries of what’s expected. That’s the same feeling I have about this release “Between The Lines EP”, and I think it’s right at home with Fokuz Recordings. Here now, we take a dive into this five-track outing from the London-based artist known as External Subway.

External Subway - Between The Lines EP cover art

About the tunes

We begin this endeavour with the title track “Between The Lines”. Perhaps the name is an acknowledgement that the music contained within can’t be squarely placed into any one category. Rolling percussion, liquid vocals, basslines that switch from growling to wobbling, and sublime synths all combine to make for a well-rounded tune that will easily find its place at any point in the night. The second drop brings in a couple new elements to help keep things fresh and inviting.

“Step One” takes a turn towards the darker side. Leading with an eerie intro, you’re not sure what to expect from this one when suddenly the first drop hits you right in the gut. This is one of those “bass face” tunes that may just have you reaching for the rewind button. A bit of a sci-fi thriller vibe, there’s lots of space and depth to the sounds in this track, each gracefully trading places in the mix.

Take a listen to “Circle” and you’ll understand why this one is on Fokuz, even though it also has a few surprises in store. External Subway manages to tactfully blend an uplifting vocal sample, piano riff and airy pads with resonating mid-bass and a funk percussion section that even incorporates a trap style hi-hat. Elements continue to build the vibe throughout the arrangement, launching you into the breakdown that brings you back down to Earth.

“Don’t Go” comes in to pick up the pieces that the prior track left behind, side stepping into a deeper rhythm and a more pensive mood. Sit back and reminisce on love found and lost, searching inside for the essence of self that you once knew but that’s been stripped away, looking forward to brighter days ahead. Whatever soul-searching you may feel calling, this track may very well be your navigator.

No self-examination would be complete without a turn upward, and that’s what we get with the closing track “High Hopes”. Brimming with a vast collage of snarling bass sounds and highlighted by haunting synths and vocals, we’re reminded that determination is the key to rising up from the ashes to forge a new path forward. This is one of those to play again and again, as you’ll likely hear something new each time around that you didn’t pick up on before.

As dismal and somber as the vibe might be from this five track outing, there’s a very bright future in store for External Subway. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see another release or two in the near future. For fans of haunting and despondent music that can also find its home on a dark dance floor, “Between The Lines EP” is a must-have for your collection.

 

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About Author

Drum and Bass is my one true love when it comes to electronic dance music and I've been spinning around the state of Florida since the early 2000s. I also play synths and samplers in two different metal bands, and am a fan of mostly progressive and some alternative metal acts, always in search of new bands and innovative sounds and composition.