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mo' fidelity | December 10, 2018

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Om Unit – Inversion (Metalheadz, 2014)

Nevyana Boycheva

In the beginning of this week British producer Jim Coles a.k.a. Om Unit released a new EP on the legendary drum & bass label Metalheadz. Fast and crispy, electrified and heavy, ‘Inversion’ is one of the best works in the jungle/drum&bass scene we’ve heard in a while and a creative endeavor in which Om Unit once again showcases his skills in exploring the different directions of UK dance music.

Time goes by and the musical landscape changes for good. We mentioned Simon Reynoldshardcore continuum in the post for our latest podcast and here we’ll do it again because we are truly inspired by the idea. Genre after genre, time goes by and the musical landscape changes for good. Or does it? 

What one should have in mind when thinking about Reynolds‘ continuum is that evolution does not always necessarily make the previous species extinct. In music at least. Genres don’t die off completely, they transform or hibernate and are later resurrected, life injected back in the them by young producers who have grown up with the sounds and are now ready to re-imagine them through their own fan-turned-producer perspectives. Such is the case with Jim Coles‘ drum & bass efforts for Metalheadz.

‘Inversion’ opens with the glorious ‘Touching Down’ which makes a perfect entrance into the drum & bass world of Om Unit with its dramatic intro, followed by a sudden change of pace with a heavy jungle break and an MC saying ‘Metalheadz touching down‘ as if to emphasize to the listeners that they are entering a special kind of musical territory.

Why is it so special? Because Metalheadz is a legendary drum & bass label founded 20 years ago by the mighty Goldie, his girlfriend Kemistry and her friend and DJ partner Storm. Key figures on the scene such as Dom & Roland, Photek, Commix, dBridge, Rufige Crew, Doc Scott, Dilinja, Ed Rush and Goldie himself among many others, released music on Metalheadz throughout its long existence, influencing future productions in different genres and gathering a base of devoted fans all over the world.

Now, we don’t want to say that drum & bass is a thing of the past, because it’s not – there are many people who still operate in the genre (the label’s long life is a good proof for that) but nowadays the game is different than 20 years ago. And no one expects it to be otherwise. As a powerful element in UK dance music culture as it is, it is no longer the main focus of interest for the crowds, moving away from the limelight to make place for new hybrid genres to fill the clubs and the radio stations’ playlists.

What we find particularly attractive in ‘Inversion’ is Om Unit‘s ability tell a story by alternating between cold and warm sonic textures, soothing ambiance and junglist roughness, adding to the equation samples and Jehst’s grim rapping only to fully immerse the listeners in the essence of UK dance music.

‘Inversion’ is a story of influences. From classic jungle and drum & bass, to classic hip-hop in the face of Mobb Deep‘s ‘Survival of the Fittest’but these influences are twisted through the perspective of modern-day bass-driven music. It sounds like going back to the past but bringing a piece of the present with you and it’s fascinating. It’s timeless music.

Listen to the whole EP via Metalheadz’ Soundcloud and buy it from their shop.

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