Dobie is an interesting texture on London's canvas. Having worked with a plethora of artists from Massive Attack to Björk, people are understandably interested in his creative pursuits. Dubbed 'crunch-music', the niche is becoming increasingly more nous. Since signing with independent heavy-weights, Big Dada, the groundswell of momentum surrounding Dobie has carried through into the release of his new EP Nothing To Fear - I had the pleasure of getting to grips with it.

A poised, sporadic, polyrhythmic texture opens the EP. There are gradual releases of tension with the bulging of distant spikes, but an onus is placed on the intensity of the beat. Such nuances indicate that Aphex Twin's Drukgs is an influence. Vintage synthesiser themes are utilised as the piece progresses, and their introduction tells us a clue about what's yet to come on the release. The 'dangling of the carrot' is a feature throughout Nothing To Fear.





The sophomore piece on the EP is 'State Of Flux'. A dissonant, poignant melody throughout allows it to establish and maintain a discerning tone. In terms of development, it arrives in the form of instrumentation as opposed to actual manipulation of the simplistic four-bar melody. Though a counter-melody is introduced, the piece takes its most interesting twist when there's a cultural shift to timpani drums and a samba beat – this variation is prominent, but eventually becomes periphery. Even as the track ends, you can hear its off-beat nature disappearing into the night.

'Gillet Sq N16' sees a continued use of varied samba instrumentation and more organic elements of percussion (you'll hear a glass bottle, trust me), however there's a shift from a straight four to a three feel, making the rhythm swing. This intelligent use of displacement creates different spaces in which the texture can develop. With its hypnotic and individual feel, 'Gillet Sq N16' relents and stutters the flow of Nothing To Fear, and as a result consumes you all the more.

'E 2 Da P' juxtaposes soulful piano with roughest textured synthesiser on the four-track effort, and it might just be the most contemporary piece. Sampled voices speaking "one, two" are placed sporadically throughout. There's more of a traditional structure here: the shifts in pitch act as variations for the main section, where as the dipping and loosening of dynamics create the softer segment. The latter hails the introduction of wonderful swells of bass accompanied with choral melodies, showing how Dobie can be more sincere and tact – why did it take 80% of the release to reveal?





There's a soul to Nothing To Fear, and that really counts. You can tell that the release possesses subtleties that go beyond the judgement of a man at a desolate computer. However, though there is variation on the EP, once you pit it against great records of a similar nature – it falls short. The tracks are only able to breathe when the dynamics are articulated or, more severely, when 'Gillet Sq N16' completely changes the feel. Nothing To Fear doesn't divulge too much about Dobie, but it does justify a return listen, and I'll look forward to what comes next.