In the digital era, it’s increasingly rare to see artists embracing the traditional medium of physical releases, with many switching to online purchase and streaming options for their craft. Going against the current, London-based producers On1 & Soundboy Cookie take a vote of confidence in their work and bring us their brand new War With Us EP in a limited release, physical only format.
Boo Key sets expectations high from the off, with even the title suggesting a spooky rhythm synonymous with old school pirate radio. On1’s personal addition to the EP draws listeners in through its creation of pure warehouse carnage. Boo Key creates a sound made to ring out into the darkest depths of the night. Sanding off the more confrontational side of the release, On1’s production takes convention into its stride while maintaining nuances only he can create.
A disarming feeling of anticipation hangs over title track War With Us, with the minimal bassline bringing a dancefloor banger to the very roots of what the underground is all about. Jittering drums push a simple vocal sample to the forefront here – exclaiming “nobody’s tryna war with us”. With a release this gritty, war is no match for the producers displaying their pure talent. The second collaboration of the EP adds a razor-sharp edge to ambient synth pads in a careful equilibrium.
Creeping, overprocessed vocals set the tone to a dark yet atmospheric approach in Killin’ Everybody, adding a drawling touch to the otherwise haunting roller, quickly evolving to fill out in a calculated manner. Antsy dynamics cut through a distinctly British track with a giddy groove, tiptoeing between tradition and innovation. The unconventional addition of piano elevates Killin’ Everybody head and shoulders above recent releases, with a well-versed and fresh approach to production we can expect to be the start of a new trend.
The final track Step Up is one that lives up to its title, a dancefloor-ready, head-spinning groove ready to take even the most reluctant listener for a ride. Edgy sampling and wonky basslines tear through a hip-hop infused vocal throughout, showcasing the sharp Soundboy Cookie signature. Rest assured, this is anything but an easy swinger. Hard-hitting kick drums at the root of UK garage are transformed into a style that defies geography and genre in Step Up, bringing a more experimental feel to round off the release perfectly.
In a time when all music has been taken online, ON1 and Soundboy Cookie have flipped the script in their favour, bringing an unforgettable sonic trip in a format that’s been lost over the ages. War With Us brings methods of the past into sounds of the future with a UK flair. Don’t kick yourself over missing this independently released hidden gem – snap it up while you can.