Stephen Gromberg aka Fantastic Mr. Fox is no stranger to the broad genre we like to call “bass music.” The bedroom beatmaker has been morphing unidentifiable samples into infectious R&B/disco/garage creations since the age of 14. Now 22, Gromberg has already flexed his musical muscles on tour with The xx and has garnered support from huge names like James Blake and Bjork. The latest release from Fantastic Mr. Fox on Black Acre Recordings, the mysterious San’en EP, is an intriguing look at the ongoing evolution of one of the UK’s finest producers.
Take Burial, Untold, and Timbaland, throw their sounds into a blender, and blast the result into a Brooklyn loft party at prime time. That’s how I’d describe the sound of the San’en EP. It’s rough around the edges yet incredibly coherent–a pleasing test of confusion and understanding that inevitably ends in a dancing euphoria. Pascal’s Chorus starts out fully R&B as Alby Daniels gets the slow wind vibe going strong. Fantastic Mr. Fox quickly morphs the sounds and a sort of dark disco ensues. Equally uplifting and foreboding, this first track is most definitely a floor destroyer. The 4/4 rhythm gains steam and we move onto Speak Nuh’s ultra-deep sub-bass. Garage stylings make sure the sweat won’t stop dripping as grinding strings set an ominous yet strangely happy tone. Daniels again lends his ethereal voice to the title track, a more intimate affair that gets lower, darker, and deeper with every monster kick. The EP also includes the loved up R&B heater Yesterday’s Fall.