Having contributed one of the standouts to the first Sudbeats album, young Egyptian producer Black 8 finally returns to the label with this accomplished and musically rich EP.
‘When the Sky Turns Red’ boasts tuned percussion and a really compelling guitar hook, which is soon offset against a sleazy, weaving bassline. Soaring vocal pads carry the main melodic themes, and Black 8 knows to take his time, letting his ideas play out without either rushing things too much or ever letting them get tired.
Black 8’s second track is ‘TNT’, which pairs explosive hi-hats with driving synths and an unnerving discordant bassline. Acidic squelches keep the mood dark for a while, though the lovely sequenced melodies do eventually manage to break through, turning the track into a surprisingly uplifting experience.
‘Rising Tide’ is a bit weirder, with shuffling rhythms meeting a sparse electro bassline. This one takes a while to get going, and just as you might be starting to wonder if it’s going to be worth the wait, Black 8 hits you with utterly blissful melody lines. Once the track hits its stride, Black 8 once again lets his music sit in the space he has allowed it to create without giving into impatience, and the result here is slow-burning but spellbinding.
Finally we have the two versions of ‘Once Upon a Time’. The original sees Black 8 drop the energy levels, a gentle chord sequence leading to a remarkably laid-back slice of deep/progressive house, with a truly gorgeous vocal part providing a haunting centerpiece. The two-minute long breakdown offers an incredibly peaceful respite, but it also makes the track pretty useless for the dancefloor. Never fear, though, since Black 8 also offers a club mix that floats the vocals over a twisty, psychedelic progressive groove – it’s a fantastic note to end the EP on.
This is a superb, varied, and creative release from Black 8. He’s not been very prolific in the two years since his first appearance on Sudbeat, but it’s been well worth the wait. Highly recommended.