If you’ve followed the SoundCloud scene over the past few months, you’ve more than likely come across the name sober rob. The LA-based producer has consistently demonstrated a mastery of the sonic balance between peace and frustration with hectic basslines that engage listeners in an aggressive manner while his synths provide a sweet taste of salvation.
Harmony, however, echoes throughout his debut EP, Enlighten, out now via Kill The Noise and DJ Craze’s imprint Slow Roast Records. Enlighten is best described as a museum exhibit because each song acts as its own entity or feature, but when the exhibit is witnessed as a whole, emotions of all types resonate through the walls telling the story of a bigger, grander event.
“EMP” (which stands for electromagnetic pulse, a device used to disrupt or damage electronic equipment) introduces the EP with a cinematic and uplifting inauguration. As the title of the track foreshadows, the serene environment is soon disrupted as Alexander Lewis joins sober rob on brass to unleash pure chaos. Desperation breaks loose as the pulsating bassline tenses you up.
“Surface” and “Rubber” bounce ideas off one another as they complement each other’s pleasantly disorganized and complex styles. Wonky percussion, distorted and fluctuating synths, and pitched vocal chops deliver rob’s signature. “Blue” fiddles with the ideas of a nonexistent structure and arrangements heard throughout Flume’s Skin. LP. Alongside Myra Molloy’s gentle voice, rob’s abstract nature shines as the juxtaposition pushes forward the best qualities both have to offer. These qualities provide a deeper look into the stories that rob has gathered us to tell.
To ease you into the latter half of what Enlighten offers, sober rob’s dream-like “With Me” pays homage to early video game soundtracks. Bleeps and bloops float you to 8bit-fused relaxation—a feeling that was achieved in Donkey Kong Country’s “Stickerbrush Symphony”. The peaceful aura on “With Me” serves as a spiritual closer to Enlighten.
His collaboration with lux.impala, “Coil”, is the true farewell to Enlighten. The track revisits the deranged themes heard throughout the EP that can’t help but leave you wondering what sober rob has in store for the rest of the year.
Enlighten EP Tracklisting:
EMP w/ Alexander Lewis
Blue (feat. Myra Molloy)
Coil w/ lux.impala