LO! – Talk 2 Me EP [Dubplate Dread]

by | Jun 2, 2024 | Reviews, Tunes

Ryan Moya, AKA LO! Is a multi-instrumental musician, DJ, and producer operating around the US, currently hailing from Chicago. With roots in hardcore, this classically trained artist draws from that energy to create consistent, effective dancefloor smashers using Logic and his keyboard, drums, and guitar chops. In a brief conversation I was able to catch up with Ryan to talk about his process in the studio – he chops his breaks freehand, and experiments heavily with modern sound design over clean, classic breakage, tuning and honing until it hits just right. The LO! project draws from DnB and Jungle inspirations such as Metalheadz, LTJ Bukem (and the Logical Progression series), and earlier hospital releases with High Contrast and Danny Byrd. Firmly planting his sound in the jungle camp but also traversing the differing styles of DnB, dancehall, and halftime, LO! is able to consistently pump out dancefloor material that always goes off.

One of the things that has impressed me the most about this artist in the short time I have gotten to know his music and DJing is his prolific output: recently LO! headlined Stamina in San Francisco and brought a set of over EIGHTY original dubs and released material. A veteran DJ, running nights around the country in the past such as Motion, now involved with multiple major DnB crews in Chicago, LO! orients his music to DJs – it’s always a blast to spin and the low end is made for the big bass of the club.

The Talk 2 Me EP is a 5 tracker released on Dubplate Dread, a sublabel of the mighty Dread Recordings, headed by legend Ray Keith. This EP takes you on a journey through multiple styles of DnB, and really plays like a short set, building in drops and changes on a dime. If you’ve heard any of LO!’s other work, such as the Redux EP  (Liondub Intl.), you’ll recognize some of the style in the shuffle, crazy tight layers, and huge dubby basses. Taking a minimal style from perhaps some downtempo roots, each individual sound in these tracks is perfected – a rich stereo layer in the drums and accompaniments make the whole EP a groovy hit.

Lets get into the track by track:

The EP opens with Take Me Higher, a piece of progressive liquid that uses classic rave sounds, a more melodic and sustained bassline that switches into a hummable head-bopping line in the second phrase. That dubby switch adds a really cool stereo layer in the vocals that caught my ear every time – its a memorable and singable opener to the album that hones in on the “think (about it)” break

Next rolls into the title track, Talk 2 Me. This is a smooth and sexy roller that combines minimal drums that model the “do the do” break with a bluesy 7th chord business on the rhodes. Starting with three elements in the first section, this one builds its atmospherics slowly and in layers driven by the bass – by the end the percussion and atmospherics/vocals have become splashy and vibrant, and you hardly notice because its so smooth. This one is in my rotation permanently – the openness makes it so easy to blend with!

Triggah Warn has been getting tons of play and attention around the DnB and Jungle worlds, with names like Dave Columbo Jenkins dropping it and Ray Keith on Thames Delta Radio (Dreadcast). This one is a slammer – short intro, machine gun bass that thumps you in the chest (I can attest to this), and a wild step-y jungle kit that borders on half tempo. This one fits into any set, and the wobbly rinse out is bound to generate some bass faces out there.

Listen Up returns to more liquid sounds, with a shuffle kit and two step kick, the reductive or “silent” drop is so satisfying. Pay attention to the layering once again in this piece – it happens gradually and in the stereo lanes mostly – very light use of risers and mostly reductive drops make this one both interesting to listen to and satisfying to dance to. The way LO! filled this groove out in the atmospherics with cluster chords and phasing stabs is so good, and the nice long roll out at the end is the icing on the cake of this one.

Then there’s Paradise Dub – a departure from the jungle sound to straight dancehall bass pressure. This smoked out trip is so groovy, and has TONS of fun noises in it – I swear I hear new things in the background every time. That being said, this one goes off – the use of space once again is so effective at resetting the ground to just be shelled again with that kick/bass combo.

To purchase this slammer, head to the Dubplate Dread store here. I loved this EP, and spin these tracks in my sets. LO! is an artist to pay attention to, with making moves in multiple areas of the country, releases on legendary and international labels, energetic, all original DJ shows, and support from huge artists he is poised to blow up. Recently LO! has signed with the Bassroutes agency, and will surely be around the country with them this year, but if you’re in Chicago you can catch him at the 360 stage during North Coast this year, and at many local shows with Proper, dnbid, and BassByThePound.

Also look for a full interview and artist profile with LO! later this month!

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DJ / Producer living in Brookfield, IL specializing in deep, funky, and soulful drum and bass. Streaming many of these reviews live at twitch.tv/tontomusic