This ‘Breakage’ review was written by Alex Whitaker, a GIGsoup contributor.
‘Breakage’, AKA James Boyle, returns with his third studio album ‘When the Night Comes’– his first LP since 2010’s ‘Foundation’. Boyle has truly established himself as one of the most complete producers of his generation and this record certainly exemplifies the UK Bass heavyweight’s talents in all its glory. Whether it be Dub(step), DnB, breakbeats, 120bpm or something altogether more lo-fi, Boyle has honed in on a distinctive and coherent sound that spreads across the UK Bass scene. The 5-year wait was certainly worth it.
It’s known that James Boyle only writes music during the night and you could guess this instantaneously with the first billow of the opening track ‘Vellocet’, lulling you into an all too unsettling environment. The electro-operatic introduction, reminiscent of a ‘Jon Hopkins’ masterpiece, reveals the sinister nature of Boyle’s music before the punchy, grinding bassline kicks in.
‘Revelation’, the second track, featuring the reggae tones of ‘Liam Bailey’s’, is arguably the most triumphant moment of this record and reminds us why ‘Breakage’ is still one of the outstanding producers on the scene. Bailey’s voice provides a source of comfort on top of a simply produced beat. It reaches deep down inside you with such eeriness you’re unsure whether this is a neo-folk classic or a Bass producer at the top of his game.
‘Aquamission’ is a reminder of the LA hip-hop scene with the repetitive and hypnotic hi-hat whilst ‘Treading Water’ takes us back to James Boyle’s ability to produce a dancefloor anthem (Fighting Fire with Jess Mills back in 2011 was not a one-hit-wonder) with a little helping-hand from ‘Detour City’.
Before you know it, ‘Breakage’ rewinds the clock back to his routes circa 2000. ‘I On U’ is the artist paying homage to his Drum N Bass routes and providing the listener with a breather from the implicit after-dark flavour of the record with soothing piano and the familiar sound of his DnB heritage.
The entire LP is riddled with eeriness and there is certainly a time and a place for this album. Its after-dark inner-city feel is calling out to the playlist of your young urban explorer. This is ‘Breakage’ at his very best.
‘When the Night Comes’ is out now on DSB Music.
The full track-listing for ‘When the Night Comes’ is as follows…