The/Das - Drug Dilling EP

by Jelena Drenjakovic

Fabian Fenk and Anton Feist tend to melt the supposedly incongruous into a unique musical unity. The Berlin twosome did not merely tie together the German and the English definite article “The /Das” for the purpose of their moniker, but rather play with different genres between ambient techno and dark pop to venture into new territories of contemporary dance music. ‘Drug Dilling EP‘ sees the duo return to Italians finest Life and Death with raw and soft textures, whereas this time club-friendly elements clearly stick out.

The opening track ‘Top Vibes‘ commences with a gut-punching kick and a floating two chord progression, leaving room for the bassline melody that slowly but decisively surges ahead. As the latter continues to come to the fore, rolling along at a techno pace, offset hi-hats come in, pretending to align the tempo just in time before releasing their skittering staccato core. As the track unfolds, a high-pitched synth-lead chimes in and stretches out purposefully to meet the break that brings a bold twist. It’s here that ‘Top Vibes‘ offers up delicate breakbeats that team up with the ascending two chord progression and high-pitched melodic jabs, before gently carrying the listener to a slow-burning outro.

Operating with a slightly different sound palette, the title track opens with a low-pitched bass and two superimposed voices that share the same lyrics but create different atmospheres: one, which carries higher notes hinting at an intimate ambiance and alongside that another, which is tinctured with a dark and gloomy aftertaste. Coupled with the introduction of long piano notes and sparkling waves of sound, ‘Drug Dilling‘ unravels an aching ambiance that digs under your layer.

The middle track, ‘Holy Rollers‘,  is propelled by a murky background synth paired with fleet-footed hi-hats and the good old claps on the kick. As the track builds, light percussions enter and, as seamlessly as they were introduced, give way to wobbly synth pads whilst the downtempo bassline keeps bouncing in the background. As the main wobbles drop out, a male vocal comes in, while the clip-clopping beats retain the track’s allure up to the point where the murky synths and main wobbles return to fill out some of the space. Finally, a long sinuous keyboard chimes in to replace the gloomy synths and, ultimately, close out the track alongside the wobbly lead.

Detroit’s veteran DJ Bone puts an epic Afro-Cuban spin on the original with clattering drum sounds surging and racing seamlessly, whilst the sharp organ lead, which is infused with an airy vocal line, induces a funky rhythm. As the track works towards it’s climax, the lead makes space for the original’s piano melody that is accompanied by a  - scarcely audible, yet still decodable - saxophone-like humming. To give you the short of it: a proper banger!