Article by Mitchell Buchanan
I’ve always liked toying with the idea that we are not alone in the universe. Some of the music I review for Dubstep.NET suggests that there are producers who are already likely to have been in contact with extraterrestrial life forms, and are currently in the process of making music to communicate with them. Other producers create intricate soundscapes of vast alien worlds that sound far too real to be constructed solely from their imagination – perhaps they’re being guided by beings that are familiar with the planets residing in far-away space. Seven Lions, a producer from Santa Barbara, seems to have been graced with exactly these powers. “Polarize”, Seven Lions’ newest EP, was released on April 22nd through the prestigious Viper Recordings, and it features six new tracks that we are extremely excited to share with you. The “Polarize” EP uses music to explore and play with our emotions, it raises the bar for production quality, and it demonstrates without any doubt that Seven Lions is a force to be reckoned with in the EDM scene. Not only does each track create a profound emotional impact, they also open our eyes to the distinct possibility that there are forces greater than ourselves in the universe.
“Below Us” opens up the EP with a powerful, melodic line. Haunting, almost ethereal vocals from Shaz Sparks float above bubbling, playful synth melodies and light, futuristic laser bursts. A soft bass drum keeps the time, but soon gives way to a ramp-up of staccato synth chords. Several moments later, the softness is gone and we’re left with the incredible whining and grinding of a well-oiled dubstep machine. Switching between surprisingly sweet vocal-infused melodies and absolutely banging drops, “Below Us” is a superbly-produced return for the rising Seven Lions. The EP also sports a remix of the track, re-imagined by fellow Viper artist, Slovenian producer Smooth. By reworking the chord progression and instrumentation of the original track, Smooth has created a blistering DnB heater that pays exceptional homage to the original, while creating something wholly new for your ears to experience.
Working with Shaz Sparks once again, Seven Lions’ next track, “Polarized,” is a melodic but fiery electro track with a wobbling dubstep feel. The “Extended DJ Edit” appears before the original mix on the EP, but both versions feature a steady, driving electro beat that eventually cuts itself in half and gives us that slow, slamming dubstep feel. Modulating bass tones and low-end synths never stop hitting the perfect notes – with such an emotionally-heavy chord progression, the modulations feel more like waves of intense emotion than actual perceived sounds. This is one of those songs that will affect you differently based on how you’re feeling. If you’re in a great mood, this can be an energetic, driving electro track – but if you’re having a bad day, “Polarized” can be the track that carries the weight on your shoulders, soothing your soul with beautiful vocals and deep, melodic synth melodies.
“Tyven” brings the pace back up with a steady, deep, spacey electro track. The rich tones used in this track are futuristic and certainly other-worldly, as if we’re travelling through deep space and exploring the vast unknown. A crossover chord progression that dabbles in both the major and minor scales reverberates through the midrange as synths bubble and flow, muffled under the surface of the track. Switching between wet, loose bass tones and deep, tightly-coiled ones, Seven Lions puts his expansive arsenal of sounds to use and changes up what we hear as much as he can. By the three-minute mark, we’re past deep space travel and into even more incredible and unrecognizable territory – almost as if an unidentified planet has appeared in front of us and we’re the first ones to explore it. Theatrical synth instrumentation and awe-inspiring melodies create a sense of humbling wonderment as we gaze upon this amazing new discovery.
Closing off the EP is a dark, brooding track with an illustrious and exotic influence. A powerful vocal chorus provides backing as earth-shaking downbeats keep time while reverberating your foundation to it’s very core. Another beautiful mix of major and minor chords, “Isis” sounds dangerously beautiful. Eastern instrumentation adds an exotic feel, while also keeping the energy of the track at a perpetual peak. Transmissions from another world briefly mark the 2:15 point, and also let us know that something else is waiting with us for the impending drop – and when it comes, it’s not at all what we’ve expected. Gone are the foreboding undertones; gone are the exotic influences. Here with us now is another discovery, another reason to stay humble and realize that we are not alone in this universe. Incredible, powerful synth chords shine outwards, interrupted by dark, shuddering drops into bass territory, but always quickly pulled up once again by the sheer momentum of each chord. Ending with a true sliding bass drop, “Isis” marks the conclusion of this EP – but it only strengthens our conviction that something else is out there, waiting to contact us.
While Seven Lions is by no means new to the bass scene, his “Polarize” EP is certainly packed with boundary-pushing new material from the rising Santa Barbara producer. Seven Lions has created an album that not only resonates with true emotional power, it creates a powerful and coherent whole that provides all of the exciting elements that EDM is known for. These tracks would feel right at home on the dance floor, and would sound just as enticing on a personal sound system or headphones for a single listener. This is the kind of profound musical craftsmanship that scored Seven Lions this extraordinarily release with Viper Recordings, and it surely makes us proud to congratulate Seven Lions on his phenomenal debut EP.
Dubstep.NET is also excited to announce the release of Seven Lions’ “Isis” as a free download on our site! “Isis” is the closing track off the Polarize EP, and if you like it, we guarantee you’ll be enamored with the rest of Seven Lions’ “Polarize” EP.