I have to admit that when I first started playing Reso's Tangram album, out November 5 on Civil Music, my impression was that it might be a bit heavier than what I've been into lately. But unlike many artists involved in producing what some might classify as heavy dubstep, Reso has a knack for balance, and Tangram offsets its initial heavy nature with atmospheric moments and draws from a wide variety of influences. Maybe Reso's out to prove that you can produce heavy bass music without being sorted automatically as "brostep."
The album comes in at full force with "Exoframe" and continues to hit hard for a few tracks, then "Coronium" and "Simple Pleasures" add a mellowed-out, ambient touch. The first few tracks of the album, while done well, may scare you off if you're not interested in more dissonant, gritty sounds, but don't give up too soon – almost everything after "Coronium" softens up a bit and is somewhat reminiscent of artists like Photek. Basically, Tangram has something for everyone. For some, the heavier tracks may hold the most appeal; for others, the more ambient moments may be what captures your attention. And for others yet, the whole album and its narrative might be what interests you.
First off, I always wanted to make an album that felt like an album and not a collection of singles. I tried my best to squeeze in everything I like musically but within a modern bass music/dubstep aesthetic. There's certain things I didn't manage to get on just because I didn't want it to be more than an hour long. I also tried to arrange the album like a film, with three acts or distinct parts. The first quite heavy and impactful, the second more relaxed and experimental and the third more exciting again. It's a cliché to say I wanted to take the listener on a journey but in this case it's true. I reckon it makes more sense listened to as a whole. I intended it to be quite challenging as well, as that's the kind of music I like.
This track is basically a statement of intent, it incorporates many of the elements that make up the album. The intro section draws a lot from animé and sci-fi soundtracks. I put loads of "Easter egg" samples in there for people to discover, many from my favourite games and shows.
The main section is basically synthesized metal. I spent a quite some time getting the filtered reese bassline to mimic djent-style palm-muted guitars. Essentially I wanted it to sound like epic battle music.
I didn't want to let up the pace and dark, neurofunk-inspired dubstep is something I’m still keen on. Mainly I wanted something that had a solid groove but not much melody, something to make your face screw up. This is one of the more straightforward tunes in terms of arrangement, kinda simple but super gnarly.
This is funk gone wrong in a very dark way but with an uplifting ending. It's the first proper drum workout so far, they are definitely the main focus. It took a long time pitching and processing all the snares and percussion in the second half.
I really like the outro of this as it's the first time the intensity lets up, like coming up for breath.
This is the antithesis to what’s come before. Nothing but a wash of lush textures. I purposefully steered away from putting a memorable melody, it's more just enjoyment of sound as a function for me, kind of an audio palate cleanser.
This is always the kind of sound I get in my head when looking at space videos.
The first properly mellow track on the album. It makes me think of strolling through a future Tokyo garden during the spring cherry blossom/sakura tree bloom. Well, that's what I tried to convey at least.
This is the most obvious example of my love of video games. Especially old Sega games and their soundtracks. I tried to make the part jut before the drop sound like a level initialisation screen, like Streetfighter 2 or the like.
I used to love going to arcades (still do) so this would be the soundtrack to the part of the film set in one.
I spent a lot of time getting really stoned and listening to lots of hip hop as a teenager. This my version of the half-remembered soundtrack to my teens through the haze of time and memory.
Bringing the energy back up here but still making it relate to the interlude was a lot of fun. Essentially this my mix of DJ Shadow, drumfunk and warped classical music. This is the second drum workout tune. Programming breaks is something I can do all day and not get bored. Combine that with some raw bass and it doesn't get much better for me.
I wanted to make this track have quite a cinematic feel so indulged my love of he epic outro here too.
The titles refers to looking back with nostalgia. I can be quite nostalgic and really tried to get that across here. The melody carries the tune, everything revolves around it. I tried to keep it fairly basic, just playing with a few elements and effects letting the notes speak for themselves rather than using production tricks.
Synth workout time. I spent aaaages making the bass patches as techy as possible. I remember the first time I played the game and how when the shit hit the fan, how cool that felt. I wanted to make this track feel that way, dark, futuristic and filled with menace.
Keeping on the sci-fi horror theme with this one. Again pure darkness. Inspired by survival horror and films like aliens and event horizon and of course dead space. I wanted this to make you feel uneasy and also play with the space within an intensely heavy tune.
Mid nineties hip-hop was the golden era for me, producers like Premier had such a fat sound but could make some really dark beats. This was what I was after here but bring it up to date with my love of dnb and breaks. It's a dancefloor tune all the way, pretty much straight tearout. I love it, but I know its the tune my 18-year-old self would have shat his pants over. It's a favour to that kid I was and still am.
Epic final track! No holds barred on this one. This is probably the most self-indulgent track but probably my favourite as it sums up a lot of the music I like right now.
Mental progressive synthesised rock with chip tune leads seems an odd combo but I'm really happy with how it turned out. The end is supposed to make you feel like Rocky on top of that mountain before he fights Drago. It's really satisfying to go OTT. Layering guitars with synths and just trying to cram as much in as possible.
The very end sounds like a lot of the jams I had to have with some bands I was in, weird stoner shoegaze goodness.