Charles Murdoch - Wtbl EP review

Within the opening moments of Wtbl you are instantaneously transported into the spacey, dark and ever-expanding world of Charles Murdoch. The immensely talented 29-year-old producer from Brisbane has once again expertly crafted a collection of tracks that go beyond the standard conventions of modern deep-house records. Throughout the 5 songs running at a total of 18 minutes Murdoch is in complete control, using his array of production skills to create sweeping soundscapes of drum, bass and synth that bind and flow throughout. The masterstroke here is that each track has the ability to fill the floor of a dim-lit, smoke-hazed club floor, but also remove you from the outer world if you’re lying on a couch with headphones on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Sonically there’s nothing quite like this EP in that it has the power to move you regardless of the setting, something rare in records of similar ilk.

Opening with the surreal Annoying, the ambient and hollow textures on display are an instant assault to the senses. Sweeping synths and electronic chimes fade in and out, Murdoch announcing himself in a glorious array of sounds that slowly fade away to reveal the title track. Opening with a dull bass line Wtbl begins where Annoying finishes only this time the waves of synths are replaced with percussion flare. Grainy snares, thumping bass and even what sounds like a glockenspiel fluctuate throughout electro-chimes creating a real sense of energy amongst dark tones. The synth work within this track is phenomenal, and I urge you to give this song a listen with headphones on as the fade between the left and right sides transitions with each beat so effortlessly in the manic final minutes of Wtbl.

Wedlogic follows and once again delivers with these spacey, “intergalactic” beats with the placement of electronic chimes and synths creating a real sci-fi atmosphere. Wedlogic is a slow-burn that punches with bass and gradually adds layers of production as time wears on. Within the final minute the level of production and technique is something to truly marvel at, as Murdoch has plenty of sounds moving at once, yet never does it feel overdone or crowded. Rather each piece of percussion or synth is delicately placed to make it’s correct impact within the beat, to not go unnoticed but to not overshadow either. The same can be said for the stand-out Corked with punchy bass, snappy hi-hats and elegant piano chords littered amongst synths, there are many layers at work. Yet, it is the simplicity of the beat that draws you in, never feeling like too much is going on but always enough to be distinguishable. Corked gets the feet moving and heart pulsating with each hit of the bass, a real deep track.

Closing the EP we have Oil Tank, which is probably the most percussion heavy track with a lot more snare/hit-hat combos than the regular throbbing of the bass. Constantly flowing throughout is a catchy synth rhythm that changes pitch every now and then, when parallel to the beat the way they work within one another is fantastic.

What’s truly impressive about Wtbl is it’s expansion on previous sounds and themes once created by Murdoch. It perhaps lacks that certain polish of his previous LP, Point, but definitely makes up for it in it’s boldness to be far more than just a standard deep house collection. It feels spacey, atmospheric and large in production and it’s almost lo-fi finish compliments it. Overall, Murdoch’s Wtbl is an achievement of an artist consistently finding ways to change things up. The result is an really strong and impressive EP that can only make you guess where the talented producer will head next. 4/5/5

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