Matt Whitehead – We’re Bombing
Matt Whitehead fooled us all. If you play ‘We’re Bombing’ with an absence of context, you’ll most like guess the release year to be situated in the early 1980s. Roland TR 808 drum patterns. Check. Miami Vice soundtrack inspired synths. Check. Toms akin to Nairobi’s 1982 release ‘Funky Soul Makossa‘ are also to be found. Above all, closest similarities can be drawn to the New York-raised DJ Hashim’s production. The computerised use of processed robotic vocals played a major part in the Electro scene, justifying the name of the subgenre. Collectively, this Super Rhythm Trax release just like the label aims to bring back the old school sound while ironing out the unpolished lapses of its predecessors.
Coming from his Bombing EP, the track brings the raw thud kindred to the distant cousin genre of Miami Bass. Drum loops intervene in rotation like breakbeats. The slaphappy snare drums are given room to exercise their drive. Yet, just as important to the track’s identity are the neon atmosphere created by the soundscapes. Deep analogue strings & an arpeggio that sounds like it comes from PPG Wave synthesiser, unite together to give the track its soul. In such, ‘We’re Bombing’ avoids falling into the trap of sounding like a bootleg of a rejected Robocop soundtrack compilation. Music Radar has published a breakdown of tips for creating a electro banger. It demonstrates the amount of detail is required behind the scenes. Blawan has placed his stamp of approval on Matt Whitehead’s production before, and that’s an endorsement to treasure.
The question that arises though, is it necessary for a 2016 release to imitate an 80s production style? If Oscar Wilde is correct in claiming imitation to be the most sincerest form of flattery, then ‘We’re Bombing’ has paid its tribute. Side A of the EP features an acid track named ‘Seeing Red’ that’s inspired by producers such as DJ Pierre & Adonis. Phonica uses the decorous word ‘retrovert’ to label such philosophy of production. There’s is no doubt that Matt Whitehead holds a fascination for the decade characterised by indulgence and excess. He is, however, drawn to the fringes of the eighties creative output, fuelled by technological mutation.