Review Summary: medicine bass
No one sounds quite like AtYyA. Sure, the British Columbian producer’s deep melding of low-end frequencies and naturalistic percussion could
be considered some kind of curious hybridization between dubstep and “future-trap”, but to pen such labels onto his music would ultimately be a disservice. You won’t find any namesake toothy synth, bombastic sampling or climax chasing drop-worship here; this is pure sound system music geared towards psychedelically inclined seekers of sacred bass music, and has more aesthetic common ground with psybient and global bass than anything else. It’s a refreshing and apparently essential middle ground between two worlds, and the shamanistic quality of his sound is one that curates inward journeys as proficiently as it keeps a dancefloor stomping. Always a heartwarming and enriching experience, when his music starts coursing through a set of speakers it’s hard to avoid becoming totally engrossed in the swaying majesty of his impeccable sound design, and with his latest offering things are as crisp as ever.
Spanning seven tracks with a runtime of 36 minutes, Volition
is a well-rounded release that carries the meditative motifs AtYyA has been running with for years now, and only really refines and reconstructs his signature style. For those who are already acquainted with his music it’s all quite familiar by this point, but it’s hard to complain when everything is so well executed. As always, replayability is big selling factor for Volition
thanks to nuanced arrangements full of quiet details and dynamic movements that revolve around mind-expanding basslines. It’s a spacious affair underpinned by hefty low-end frequencies that never hesitate to rumble the earth beneath your feet, and the carefully sculpted compositions do well to maximize the emotive impact of each gesture. Curious things happen to your soul when you let such finely tuned sounds into your ears, and while I should refrain from getting overtly metaphysical here, it’s an almost unavoidable consequence when trying to convey the merits such spiritually driven art. Tracks like “Breaking Through” and “Undulations” earnestly cement this notion, with the former’s backbone constructed of ceremonious rhythms and the latter’s tropical textures both showing AtYya’s multifarious knack for hitting your heart’s sweet spot. The only area where Volition
really falters is in its failure to exceed expectations in the wake of 2016’s Depth Perception
, where the vocal features, patient runtime and luminous timbre formed an unparalleled synergy of entheogenic bliss and soulful substance. In some ways, it certainly does feel like a slight regression, but not so much so that it becomes unsatisfying. In the end, what counts is that we have more awesome music from a man who’s unique style and forward-thinking attitude continually pushes the boundaries of how downtempo psychedelia and festival-rocking bass music are capable of interacting. Volition
might not reinvent the creative forces that have thrust AtYyA to the forefront of his scene, but it does more than enough to justify the absence of innovation by offering another delicious cornucopia of levitating bass, sparkling percussion and celestial ambience.