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Shades drop new 5-track EP, “Black Heart Communion”

The enigmatic duo of EPROM and Alix Perez, known as Shades, have returned with another installment of their dark ritual soundtrack music. Seeming to seep up from the haunted floor of an abandoned, scorched temple in the frozen mountains, the musical tones in this project are nothing short of raw, anthemic and dangerous. Through five tracks of winding bleakness and soul-shattering basslines, this latest offering continues to set the bar high for bass producers everywhere.

The two master musicians expertly combine ethereal subterranean sound design with grimy hip hop swagger, even sampling rapper Danny Brown on the single “Two One Six.” At times completely arhythmic, at other times head-noddingly catchy, Shades manage to capture a feeling of intense brooding that’s not overly morbid. Think Batman looking over Gotham in a rainstorm before a big fight.

The intro, “Lurking,” and the outro, “Womb,” both leave out drum work entirely. While the middle three tracks feature intense drum patterns, punchy kicks and crispy snares, the bookends of this project are almost soothing. “Lurking” feels more foreboding, where “Womb” almost inspires hope, and the latter perhaps wouldn’t be out of place at the end of a yoga class. It’s certainly an exercise in experimental sound healing.

This EP has yet again left us breathless and ready for more. Out now on Deadbeats, you can stream the 5-track “Black Heart Communion” below.