Review Summary: chomping at the dials.
Fixate’s sound is nothing if not cheeky. Taking the quirkiest elements of footwork, jungle and god-knows-what and smashing them together with obsessive focus, his sound is quickly becoming unmistakable. Ever since his Throwback Therapy
EP dropped on Exit Records back in 2015, the London-based producer has been expanding his hyper-percussive take on dancefloor-ready bangers by dabbling in the most angular elements of a wide swath of rave-ready styles. March On
took his sound one-step further with a markedly more tribal and up-front halftime style that relentlessly pulsated and staggered in unruly fashions, and showed us that this up-and-coming producer had no intentions of resting on his laurels. Fast-forward to the tail-end of the planet’s mulligan-year (2017) and Fixate is sounding better than ever.
What Goes Around
is a natural evolution of sorts for this curious producer, and one that stands firmly as his most robust, hard-hitting and jesterly release to date. Building upon his usual jungle and footwork archetypes, everything pops just a little harder this time around thanks to a stronger dose of the creative juices that have given his music a zealous mania since day one. The title track sets it off right, making its presence quickly known with deep plunges of levitating bass and panging curbside drum work offset by an appalling-yet-adorable vocal chop that seduces your ears with the finesse of a drunken clubber with smeared lipstick and molly-jaw. It’s goofy, quirky and fun its in vibes but dead serious in its execution – a running trait that only gets more feverish as the album moves forward. The collaborations are real highlights here, with “The Rig Monkey” standing tall as one of the release’s most addicting cut thanks to Skeptical’s careful hand lending its midas touch. The man's work with Dismantle on “Firewater” is a real standout too, offering a few welcome rays of sunshine on the album’s back half with a jovial samba excursion that injects some colourful culture into the fold. All-in-all there’s no real low-points to be found in this nifty half-hour package though, and Fixate’s solo work keeps up just fine. Look no farther than "Rumours" for proof of the fact – as the album’s dopest example of what Fixate has cooking on the stove these days, its gorgeous keys and memorable sampling are held together by a timeless wobble that effortlessly reworks dubstep’s ideology into a mangled hafltime jungle/footwork cut. Elsewhere, “Tweeked” is an abrasive little thing that might be slightly off-putting on a casual home-listen but could surely do some damage its natural habitat, and while the beachy dub stylings “Murderers Dance Too” might feel a bit subdued compared the battering that came before, it’s nonetheless a uniquely graceful and entirely appropriate send-off for his third release proper on the Exit imprint. In a nutshell, What Goes Around
is an essential drum and bass album in 2017 through its willingness to polish the scene’s amphetamine-hooked roots and work them into a hyper-modern and masterfully produced amalgamation of contrasting blueprints that chomp at the dials of convention. Fixate is doing big things with no signs of slowing down, and anyone interested in unconventional and adventurous trips across the dancefloor should get on this one without hesitation.