EP Walkthrough: Tobacco Rat on his experimental new EP, Component V2.0
The menacing, masked Perth-based producer continues to flex his production muscles on his first major release of the year.
After breaking away from his work with KUČKA and others to form Tobacco Rat back in 2016, Perth-based producer/composer Jake Steele promised something a little unique with his Tobacco Rat project, delving into a darker, menacing side of electronic matched by his eerie stage presence and mysterious persona. His debut EP Subsistence gave us everything from "hip hop to trap, experimental, dancehall, industrial, techno and more" across its six tracks and in the time since, particularly on last year's second EP Component, he continued to experiment and grow, signing to Moonbase's Trench Records with an aggressive, "dystopic wasteland nightmare" that showed his " ability to innovate and evolve with bass music and just production prowess in general," producing some of our electronic scene's most unique music in the process. His latest EP, the second part to Component continues this trend of forward-thinking electronic experimentalism, mixing confronting kicks of heavy bass with thick, sample-filled melodies that ooze with this hauntingly dark feeling - something the producer has somewhat championed over the last few years.
Component V2.0 warps between sub-genres and sounds with ease. Convulsions is Tobacco Rat at his most... Tobacco Rat-ish, pairing percussive rhythms with eerie, ambient melodies that match the heaviness of the EP's other tracks, which follow on from where Component kicked off but in a way admittedly darker and more profound. "A lot of the sounds on this record are from my vast vault of samples built up over the years, including a multitude of scrap metal and mechanical field recordings, and synths such as my main baby the Moog Voyager," he says on the EP, which was created with his engrossing live show as the main influence of the record's sound. "The tracks were created with the live performance in mind. The idea around the EP is the feeling of an intense live performance, while incorporating the experimental nature akin to a live sound art performance in a gallery. It draws on a lot of influence from the likes of G Jones, Eprom, Saturate Records and Noisia's Division label, and the heavier sounds on Trench Records."
It's an EP thick with complexity and aggressiveness, so with its release via Trench Records today, we got the masked man himself to walk us through it, one track at a time. Dive into it all below:
Eerie vocal chants set the scene for this slice of darkness entitled The Plague, a hard-hitting experimental dubstep journey straight into the underground city sewers to witness firsthand the uprising of the recent rat plague overrunning the cities.
This track was first started in the early days of the Rat. I actually completely forgot about it for about a year and a half and dug it up recently (hence the title) and added a second half and some messed up sounds to turn it into the beast it is today.
This song started out from doing some sound design experiments and exploring resampling techniques. The main synth in the first drop was one result and that became the basis of the song which just grew from there.
My first proper dive into the world of footwork inspired beats. This track came about from an electronic hip-hop beat I had made with a Roots Manuva acapella on top. Heavy resampling experiments created those rhythmic synths at the very start which gave birth to this new direction of the track.
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