Dubstep in Connecticut: Boltcutter – A Brief Artist Update And EP Review
When we last brought you some of the sounds of teenager Riley Bradway, who produces and preforms as Boltcutter and hails from the little known and well wooded Moodus, Connecticut, this young and very talented music maker already had a solid catalog of tunes under his belt and was waiting to publish his debut release. As his first EP, Bass Candy, dropped on major media outlets right at the end of February, we are admittedly a little late on offering up our review of this three track slice of tasty bass. Released through the West Coast based 9G Records, Bass Candy has edged its way into Beatport’s top 100 electro house chart which is no small feat, especially for a largely yet to be discovered local standout such as Boltcutter. On top of breaking into the EDM elite with his first professional release, Bolcutter has been one busy dude; he’s taken on driving stick, occasionally collaborated with our good friend Scatz, and helped get his band, A Breakaway, in the running to be selected for this summer’s edition of Warped Tour in Hartford.
Let’s dive into Boltcutter’s debut release. The first song on Bass Candy is the title track; at nearly four and a half minutes long, this is the shortest tune on the EP. The most predominant aspect to this dubstep track are the vocals provided by Stephanie Kay. Rife with chocolatey puns and sweet metaphors, “Bass Candy” will make you hungry… for more bass. While the vocals are most obvious to the ear, the smooth builds and well layered textures should not be overlooked. A great beat is fueled by sharp percussion elements and the entire tune swims in deep, rolling, wubbly, wobbly bass hits.
“Surreality,” the second track on this three song long adventure, changes things up by cranking down the bpm’s and taking a foray into electro house. What is probably the classiest intro to be found on Bass Candy starts off with the track’s tricky beat and progressively adds leads and bass. What is a bit of a slow start will leave you totally unprepared for the drop and what is to follow. The proclamation of “Go!” (my metal is rusty, but I think that’s Slipknot’s Corey Taylor) sparks a fidgety, “skrillectro” inspired barn burner that is guaranteed to inspire bass faces and inadvertent awkward dancing. Equal parts floor destroyer and aggressive head banger, this track should please all comers. Some crucial change ups occur towards the end of “Surreality,” and it closes out much in the same way it began. The favorite aspect to this track is the continually recalled melodies that first appear before the initial drop.
The EP’s third and final track returns to a 140 format. “Blue Dragons” once again incorporates vocals with Bolcutter’s synth mastery and impeccable sound design. The crown jewel to Bass Candy starts off perfectly. A driving, fast paced synth gradually gains power with a superbly applied bit crusher, the vocals are lightly and well chopped, string sounds are replaced with other, more aggressive leads to make for the ideal environment to, “set the place on fire.” From there, mean wobbles, angry yois, and the occasional lazer make for a fast paced bit of fist pumping. The most well balanced tune on this EP, Bolcutter continually reels in the madness to allow prolonged breaks that shine in terms of synths, drums, and vocal effects to take center stage. Subtle but easily felt changes make the second half of this choice tune quite different from the first. Overall, “Blue Dargons” is an excellent piece of musicianship; the final track on Bolcutter’s first professional release leaves the listener expecting great things in the future and confident that this young upstart from a little town in Connecticut will easily be able to deliver.
If you enjoyed or were intrigued by the clips, send a couple of bucks in Bolcutter’s direction and buy the full EP. It’s very worth it in terms of sound quality and gives you a much better idea of the full scope of this talented local musician’s skill set.