BOP’s New EP Is Just Our Cup Of Tea

Posted by Ben on 7th April 2017

Last year I reviewed Frederic Robinson’s whacky and wonderful second album, Flea Waltz, and was promptly blown away by its pure originality. That landed on Med School, and once again the Hospital Records affiliate has passed us a release that, at least for us listeners, strays off the beaten path a little. For BOP, the intangible or hard to understand is a path well trodden, and after purveying his Microfunk sound across 3 albums his latest EP has refreshed our memory on how good the Russian is.

Not Your Cup Of Tea is an eclectic 5 tracker, all of which conform to BOP’s by now trademark mix of metallic clicks, bass burps and percussive taps, a style of production that may well not be your cup of tea. The title touches on the slightly uncomfortable edge present throughout, a jarring quality that makes for an at times uneasy experience. Not in a bad way, this EP is certain to hold your attention, but like a horror film you can’t stop watching.

The first tune is a good example, as a wonky, piecemeal rhythm injects that aforementioned uneasiness but also manages to feel familiar. Jagged and sparse, the abstractness doesn’t stop An Order from feeling like a journey, even if it is through a line of alien code. The celestial vibe is courtesy of some almost subsonic bass pulses, who fill all the empty space up, add another layer and are just incredibly well made.

BOP is the king of subtlety, a title he deserves because of music like So Unloved. A bit more recognizable rhythmically, every touch here is precise and clean, supremely engineered and carefully placed. It doesn’t have purpose, or an expressed beginning, middle and end. Instead, it’s like you’re walking in on something that would be happening anyway, a natural process eternally bubbling away in a cave or on the ocean floor somewhere. That sounds strange, and it is, but go soak up all of So Unloved’s deep sea quivers and quirks before you judge.

Like an oasis of sonic sanity, the aptly named Space to Breathe really is a breath of fresh air. That uncomfortable edge is blunted by a lighter atmosphere, some vocals and a more conventional structure, the last of which shines a bright light on the main attraction; the bassline. A squirming, twisting, and distorting chain of falling frequencies, the lower end is clinically precise and unbelievably satisfying. Still within BOP’s Microfunk parameters, Space to Breathe is undoubtedly my favourite on the EP and an exceptional track.

Untitled Pattern 47 and Anile’s remix of An Order close out the release. The first is choppy, irregular and with more aquatic wobbles that make it almost melancholic, a humanity that contrasts with how mechanical the music is. Anile’s interpretation takes the  original’s back end and slots it over his own drums, which after this EP’s dearth of bizarre percussion is like meeting an old friend. Both are good quality but lag behind the other three slightly, and if repetitiveness isn’t your thing then they probably won’t be either.

Not Your Cup Of Tea certainly won’t be for everyone, and if your tastes lie in the traditional or classic you could easily find yourself wondering what the hell is going on. Is it drum n bass? Not sure, doesn’t matter. This EP is intensely creative, and the earlier comparison with Frederic Robinson is an accurate one in my mind. Just like the German, BOP shrugs off genre labels like Putin does complaints, and the glimpses of drum n bass to be found are irrelevant in the shadow of the release as a whole. All of it is fantastically well made, enjoyable and full of surprises. Listen in full below then go pick it up from iTunes  now.

BopMed School Music

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