Review Summary: Mimosa displays a darker more 2-step oriented sound with his latest release, Sanctuary. But is it a style that Mimosa should be adopting?
To me, Dubstep is a genre with many dimensions. It’s a genre that will never be perfectly defined simply because there are just too many interpretations of the style of music. It’s always baffled me that artists like burial and Clubroot can be classified within the same genre as artists like Flux Pavilion and Excision, mostly due to the massive difference between the two styles of Dubstep that the two types of artists create. I will admit that I am fairly new to the genre, but during the last year and a half of scouring the internet looking for the newest and best Dubstep acts, I am confident in saying that Dubstep is one of the most interesting and constantly evolving forms of music I have encountered. While it is a genre that is often looked at as one of the most repetitive and bland genres, due to the WHOMP scene and it’s demand for more WUBS, I have been amazed by artists like Swarms, Zomby, Submotion Orchestra, Ital Tek and others that create simply amazing Dubstep music that focuses more on atmosphere and emotion. The latest discovery in the world of Dubstep that has really caught my attention is Sanctuary, the latest release from Los Angeles producer, Mimosa.
Mimosa is one of the few American Dubstep artists who can find the perfect equilibrium between incorporating the whomps and wubs that are so popular and prevalent in the American Dubstep scene with the more 2-step and atmospheric vibe of minimal Dubstep. Mimosa trademark sound is a clash between beautiful swirling syths, hip-hop inspired piano hooks and beats and an excellent use of Dubstep bass drops. The whomps in Mimosa’s music are never overbearing, and instead of his tracks being completely based around huge bass drops like the majority of American and Canadian Dubstep artists do, Mimosa has a knack for incorporating them at the perfect times. There has always been a certain amount of soul tied to Mimosa’s music, especially in his lead synth parts and Mimosa’s music often contains some of the most memorable synth lines in all of Dubstep. My first encounter with Mimosa’s music was when I listened to his 2010 album, Silver Lining, which is an album I constantly recommend to anyone interested in the genre.
The album begins with the title track Sanctuary, and right from the get-go it’s obvious that Mimosa has recently been inspired by the 2-step driven, English Dubstep. It starts with a growing synth line that wouldn’t be out of place in a Clubroot track, only to be complemented wonderfully by a shaky 2-step beat straight out of the alleys of London. It’s an interesting move by Mimosa, and it even further solidifies his uniqueness and separation from his peers. Night Terrors enters next, which begins with a rather dull intro consisting of bass and a synth line that sounds just a little too much like the proceeding track. The track finally becomes interesting when a Zomby-esque high-hat line enters along with some eerie vocal samples. After listening to these first two tracks, it’s obvious that Mimosa is more focused on creating songs with dark atmosphere instead of club-worthy, bass heavy dance tracks on Sanctuary. If bass-heavy dance tracks are more your thing, definitely look into Mimosa’s 2011 EP 58 Degrees, which is by far Mimosa’s hardest hitting batch of songs yet.
The fourth track, Way Back to You showcases a nice blend between moments of mellow hip-hop beats and bass heavy enough to make you rage in the club. The song starts with a minimal, bouncy beat which is followed by a straight up hip-hop beat layered on top. An arpeggiated synth line slowly enters, gaining intensity as each second passes until it final leads into a single massive wub that’ll be sure to floor fans in a live setting. Track 6, Starseed, and Track 7, Tiger Blood, are a few of the most whomp-heavy tracks on the album, but they also contains plenty of moments of subtle bass wobbles and vocal samples which helps the songs flow very well. Mimosa’s use of huge dynamic changes and build ups in these songs really add to the effectiveness of his bass drops, and keep the songs interesting throughout their entire length.
While those songs showcase some of the most memorable heavy moments on the album, there are just as many simply beautiful moments on this album that are contained within some of the mellower tracks. Last Night In Town, Jewel Street, Castle in The Sky and Rose Water are almost completely void of any whomps and wubs which leaves room for Mimosa to focus more on multilayered beats and pulsating and melodic synth lines, which makes for a nice change of pace from his bass heavy club jams.
Mimosa has created a very diverse and memorable Dubstep release with Sanctuary. It is an album that fuses together many current interpretations of the genre. From the English 2-step beats to the massive whomps and the melodic atmospheric sections and melodic synth lines, this album really contains everything that is good about Dubstep. It is a great addition to Mimosa’s impressive collection of music and will be enjoyed by Dubstep elitists and Whomp-kids as well. So, was it actually a smart move by Mimosa to start adopting the trademark sounds of 2-step and Garage music? Absolutely, and it’s a better album because of it.