Australian Beats EP Reviews Pt 1: Blunt Instrument’s ‘Twice Baked’
Over the past three months, there has been an influx of EPs from quality Australian dance producers – especially the Brisbane sector. In recognition of this fact, I have chosen to do a review series focussing on the three most interesting releases. First, ‘Twice Baked’ by Brisbane breaks/glitch-hop two-piece Blunt Instrument.
Blunt Instrument have long been one of Brisbane’s most promising electronic acts. Deftly unifying disparate aspects of breakbeat, hip-hop and dubstep, the pair have consistently excelled in both the live and studio settings over the past five years. Twice Baked is their third official release and – as an EP consisting solely of original productions released on international label Simplify Recordings – is the pair’s most significant artistic statement to date.
Upon listening to the record, one’s ear is immediately drawn to its unbelievably crisp production. The militant mid-tempo breaks of opener ‘Impound Lot’ are strikingly clear while the bass textures – so pivotal to the pair’s muscular aesthetic – consistently prove both exceptionally vicious and remarkably expressive. Most impressive is the pair’s ability to craft such potent bass-heavy productions without sacrificing clarity or detail. Regardless of what Blunt Instrument attempt on ‘Twice Baked’, their efforts never sound anything besides fantastic.
That said, the other aspects of ‘Twice Baked’ aren’t quite as consistent. Specifically, Blunt Instrument’s songwriting is somewhat unrefined. ‘Impound Lot’, for example, establishes a punishing groove but fails to develop anything beyond that promising rhythmic foundation. Follow-up number ‘Olympus Egg’ suffers from similar shortcomings. Matters do improve significantly with the glitch-funk of ‘Hands Free’ and the dub-heavy murk of closer ‘Slightly More’ but such cuts can’t disguise Blunt Instrument’s songwriting handicap – even if they do provide considerable hope for future releases.
However, while such flaws are undeniably noticeable, they are also largely negligible. In actual truth, ‘Twice Baked’ arrives without anything resembling a significant flaw. Even the pair’s tendency to lean a little too heavily on their influences (specifically, the work of Dave Tipper) is largely acceptable in light of the variety showcased by their work. Hardly spotless, ‘Twice Baked’ is still an impressive statement of intent for Blunt Instrument.