| Sound

Proxima: Formal Junction/Grunge

Is Proxima the real product of the lost generation of western European youth?

The western Europe that, having drank 10 cans of Tennants Super, thinking it can take on the developing world as a fourth sector-based economy, is now
realising that two decades have gone by, and it’s being pulled by the hair into the back of a police van owned by Rupert Murdoch, Goldman Sachs and a bunch of Chinese businessmen.

It seems that this musical generation, which has been upstaged by its bigger brothers of D&B, Techno, House and all previous electronica, has now found its feet, and is starting to bud its own fruits. This is where Proxima comes in.

Proxima hangs off drum & bass's coattails. He is a cousin of Icicle (on Shogun Records – which is home to a household name in DJ Friction) and is billing below Noisia, Bare Noize, Audio, Black Sun Empire, and his fellow club night resident DJ Nymfo at Blackout (at Effenaar on 31/03/12 in Eindhoven). Proxima is not really a dubstep DJ, so why is he trying to become one?

I’ve listened to these two tracks a lot. And I mean a lot. I’ve have had trouble getting into the grittiness of them. I think it’s because they aren’t gritty.

Listening to Proxima’s previous collaborative work: fairy dusted, techno-based, funky house co-produced with PIRO (another Dutch export based in Eindhoven) you realise why Proxima’s basslines in Formal Junction are more of a slightly overweight fat-roll in the dubstep waistspan.

Formal Junction’s fat-rolls belong to a late-20’s professional that goes to the gym once a week but just can’t be arsed, and who prefers to dance with his feet not his body. Not a fat roll belonging to a council estate, McDonalds eating, carries a knife, wears a wife beater, hard fat man that doesn’t give a …, and who prefers to stick his feet through the floor than prance about.

Formal Junction’s basslines are different. They are quirky and welcoming, like the red light and scent of high quality ganja or a bike that cycles backwards.
Maybe this is why Proxima’s resident club night is called ‘Breek’ – a derogatory slang term for a pretty female who’s promiscuous and likes to get around.You get that feeling from this record.

It sounds popular, it sounds marketable, it sounds like a dubstep bleek that crosses across formal electronica boundaries, and this is probably why I’ve been asked to write about it.

the track has a limited ability to turn on you with a deft touch of subbass

Formal Junction is like Proxima has produced a soundtrack for Zool, for lemmings to follow. But then again, it isn’t all bad. Especially as the track has a limited ability to turn on you with a deft touch of subbass, and produces sounds that remind you of Jaws taking a bite out of that rather attractive naked young lady, but more like a chiuhuahua nibbling on your ankle. This is the Proxima that you feel should be brought to the fore and let rip, not cocktails in the air ambient ‘its so fucking wild in here, omg’ cleanliness.

Within this subbass, Proxima gives some funk to a genre that was born under the flag of stomping tunes, and licking spilled ketamine off park benches as you’ve just realised you resemble a tranquillized rhinoceros, having forgotten you meant to snort the shit.

transient wind-farmed funky Dutch bass

Proxima lacks rawness in fossil-fuelled energy, but in 'Formal Junction' and 'Grunge', he gives us something else, namely transient wind-farmed funky Dutch bass that make you want to roll your hips, chest, and shoulders next to a prospective mating partner.

This is not a bad thing. But don’t call it Grunge or dubstep. It is not grungy, it’s clean and innocent, like it has been produced by someone who has had a jacket thrown over puddles for them on the way to the venue. Proxima’s 'Grunge' if anything, is a ‘wind down and carry on’ track.

A sort of sobering up sound that plays devil's advocate when one is starting to clarify the night that has just ran on. It doesn’t make an impact, it would fit perfectly just before you realise that it’s the end of the night and everyone’s starting to leave.

Dubstep should be more: ‘fuck you, I will take Cinderella to the ball and let her try my goodies when she will inevitably ask for them’, and then continue to enjoy a night of conjoined sweaty head-kaning, and Proxima’s sampled techy voices will not give you that.

Proxima doesn’t make sounds of the ‘fuck you’ dubstep generation, because that isn’t his mould. Proxima is making dubstep tourism tunes from a dying scene that is drum and bass, a scene that is trying to catch the next wave. And within dubstep there is obviously the belly fluff that is kicked out in the form of Skrillex and the corporate like, but it sells I suppose, and so will this.

raw flesh  torn off the underbelly of a generation

Dubstep is the raw flesh  torn off the underbelly of a generation hung out to dry, and musically should represent this accordingly. What dubstep should not be is a corporate breek, the pretty and marketable product that is rapidly becoming.

Dubstep makes you want to strap your goodies to your scrotum and hug a speaker all night long. It seems that you get thrown out of clubs for that these days. Luckily, Proxima's music doesn’t have the balls for that, so no worries there.

cocktails and cologne have replaced the salty sweat dripping off the ceiling

Dubstep is now trendy to a point where high-heels, cocktails and cologne have replaced the salty sweat dripping off the ceiling, tins of Red Stripe, and drug culture. It has now become socially respectable, like the prescribed vallium your mum takes by the dozen and the bottle of wine your dad drinks every night.

So if you like squeaky clean, wind-powered dubstep that is here for the wave, go and get yourself a nice bleek piece of vinyl out on the 26th March.

On Tempa Records.

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