‘Treading Water’ marks an exciting moment in Breakage AKA James Boyle’s career – the first single from his third album ‘When The Night Comes’, his first full length since 2010.
When Shy FX created his Digital Soundboy label, the name could have been a blueprint for an artist like Breakage, a 21st century sound boy who has carved out his own minimal, hi-tech vision from the UK’s hardcore and dub materials.
His journey began on the drum and bass scene with his remix of Nasty Habits ‘Here Come The Drums’, famed for bringing jungle urgency back to drum and bass. All his unclassifiable work since then, whether people have called it dub step, grime or drum & bass has had his trademark sound engineering brilliance, his unique sense of space and combination of dub and emotional pressure, creating a sleek, refractive jet-black British soul all his own.
Only a producer with Breakage’s mastery could take out all the drums from his comeback single ‘Treading Water’. The propulsion provided by undulating waves of crystalline sub, the percussion provided by expert synth stabs, the emotional dynamics of guest vocalist Detour City effortlessly modulated so you don’t even notice; there’s no kick and snare. As James says ‘I wanted to do a track in an infinite breakdown/build up. A lot of times I find the “drop” or when all the elements actually come together can either get way too aggressive, or rather underwhelming. So I decided to do away with it all together’.
This is more script-flipping from a man that commanded the respect of the reclusive Burial (and collaborated with him on ‘Vial). Made a grime classic without trying (when a 2009 instrumental called ‘Together’ ft David Rodigan got change to the Newham General’s ‘Hard’) as well as re-wired chart conventions with Jess Mill’s 2011’s ‘Fighting Fire’. He is one of the few producers kindred spirits Massive Attack have requested to remix their songs.
‘Treading Water’ is pointing the trail into the sound world of his new album ‘When The Night Comes’, expected in Spring 2015. ‘It took a long time to get right, but it couldn’t have worked any other way’ says Breakage. Get ready for immersion.