His name may not be one that instantly jumps out at you when UK bass music is mentioned. You may have heard of him by another moniker. Either way, Oris Jay a.k.a Darqwan can be described as nothing less than a trail blazer in his chosen field.
He’s no newbie neither, first launching on to the Jungle scene in the early 90s. In the time since that initial impact was made, he has defined his sound, a weighty yet busy affair. The new album – To The Fly (his first full length offering), released on Texture, combines not only the names he has previously released under, but the many styles he has so superbly represented over the years.
A consistent theme throughout is the depth of sound; ten tonne bass lines that you know are coming, yet are made to wait for with almost Tarantino style suspense. You can hear hints of fellow visionaries across many of the tracks. “Don’t Know Who” has the darkness of Leofah – Mud, “Boosi” has the drum shuffle of Skream – Check It, there’s an EZ-ness to “Flashing Light”. Not for one minute though am I suggesting Jay has been unoriginal in his delivery, if anything I would say, his sound and production style were likely front of mind for the aforementioned peers during their composition process.
The album showcases the full breadth of Darqwan’s interest, which in stand alone track form is spot on. In LP format though it does feel a little disjointed at times. Some of the vocal collabs overshadow what would be, in my humble opinion, stronger instrumental cuts. All this said, as a representation of a multi decade career in the UK electronic arena, To The Fly does tell the Oris Jay story; where he’s been, how he’s soaked that up and how he wants you to hear it.
I am now anxiously awaiting the drop of the title track to pile drive me into 100 Hz of heaven at Outlook later this month. Bring it!