The Vanguard Project Return With The Brilliant Plastic Fantastic EP

Posted by Ben on 20th January 2017

The Vanguard Project is just that; a project. Two established artists coming together to widen their output, mix their talents and put smiles on all of our faces while they do it. Bcee and Villem’s collaborative effort has already yielded a string of EPs, most have arisen on Bcee’s own Spearhead, but this one, plus their Daredevil EP from last year, have come from the Fokuz camp. We push a lot of their music on Ninja Ninja, not because they’re paying us in pizza and sexual favours, but because, to put it simply: Fokuz consistently release incredible Drum & Bass.

This 5 track EP from The Vanguard Project is no exception to this rule, a selection of lighter cuts that combine Bcee and Villem’s myriad of talents for magicking up magic at 170bpm.

My favourite is In The Ground, a track that very much follows the oh so successful Fokuz line of emotive music that still packs a punch. Warm pads, a warmer piano section and the accompanying vocal lead all have that lovely Fokuz rustiness, pressing down upon a bassline that’s constant changes just ooze character. In The Ground smacks of work by DJ Marky, maybe because of the samba-esque guitar neatly slotted in, but more likely due to the expert way in which funk and broodiness have been balanced.

Percussion doesn’t take centre stage for most of Plastic Fantastic, but Ikaris is an exception and a good one at that. The introduction sets the scene for you, echoing reverb and misty ambience get slowly replaced by climbing vocal and percussive layers until not a drop per se, but the natural culmination of tension and suspense. The result is rolling and subdued, a combination of strings and piano that make for a musing, pensive tune, provoking but not provocative. Not dissimilar to Capture My Heart, fans of LSB’s Content are sure to love this one.

The last cut I want to discuss is a digital only addition to the release so bad luck to all you vinyl crew out there. And it is bad luck, because Y Can’t U C, besides not knowing how to spell, does a great job holding up this EP’s rear. The drums have a crisp metallic edge to them and their monotony acts as sonic bedrock for the other elements, a coursing undercurrent of energy that never stops, underpinning everything else. Everything else, on this occasion, is an eclectic mix of vocal samples, bouncy bass notes and seriously eerie guitar chords all of which come together to form a unique, consistently interesting bit of music.

The Vanguard Project sometimes produce music too airy and unsure of itself for me, but Plastic Fantastic is much more purposeful in tone and style, an attribute evident in all 5 tunes. I haven’t mentioned all of them so listen to the minimix below, then go and buy the full release now from iTunes.

BCeeFokuz RecordingsThe Vanguard ProjectVillem

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