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EP Review: Pariah – Safehouses

After covering Pariah in the Dubstep Dossier back in April, we’ve eagerly been awaiting more material from the UK producer. His debut EP for R&S Records, Safehouses, drops soon and builds on the promise of his first single.

The EP finds Pariah experimenting with the full complement of future grooves. Most of Safehouses plays in the house / UK funky end of the pool: two-step beats and swirling synths drive the about half of the tracks. Vocals appear as clips and phrases, heavily-processed hooks that hint at the records they’re sampled from. “Crossed Out” follows in the footsteps of “Orpheus:” a soothing dance-floor jam that is somewhat chaotic despite it’s mellow sheen.

As for more of the glitch hop hinted at in the Dilla-esque “Detroit Falls,” Pariah comes through on “C-Beams.” As if emerging from the fog, “C-Beams” is all polyrhythms and bass blasts, before disappearing into the atmospheric soundscape of the title track.

If you need another reason to check him out, Pariah has been co-signed by dubstep’s preeminent radio DJ, Mary Anne Hobbs, and he contributed this guest mix for her BBC Radio 1 program last month. Not bad for a 22-year-old university student who makes beats in his spare time.

Dubstep Dossier: Pariah

Pariahs are despised, rejected outcasts. Hopefully, fledgling UK beatmaker Pariah will not suffer the same fate.

Arthur Cayzer is a 21-year old London university student who has only been producing for a year, but his talent belie his age and experience (despite his limited output). Signed to veteran Belgium dance music label R & S Records, Pariah is already making a name for himself with music that borrows from dubstep, UK funky, house, and future hop.

His first release, “Detroit Falls,” transforms a classic soul sample into a churning glitch fest. The track’s construction is reminiscent of an artist from its titular city: the late, great J Dilla. Bits and pieces of the original sample are interspersed with low end and synth chirps, creating a cohesive sound that satisfies both dubstep devotees and hip hop heads.

“Orpheus,” the b-side to “Detroit Falls,” keeps the tempo consistent but moves towards funky and house as Pariah re-works Thelma Houston’s disco classic “Don’t leave me this way.” It’s an “a-ha” moment; while other dance remixes of the track have focused on the upbeat chorus, Pariah opts for the yearning vocals of the verse. It’s a perfect fit for the syncopated, tribal beat.

Pariah also tried his hand at remixing, starting with his fellow countrymen, Ellie Goulding and the XX. His remixes of “Under the Sheets” and “Basic Space” present UK funky takes on songs that have already been remixed ad nauseum. For an extended look at his DJ skills and range, check out the bass-heavy mix he did for Sonic Router. The mix includes tracks by vets like Martyn and L-vis 1990, along with a hint at what’s to come from Pariah.
With such an abundance of promising young UK producers, it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. But if Pariah continues to release tracks like “Detroit Falls” and “Orpheus,” it will be that much easier. And remember, don’t fear the wobble.