December 11, 2020 | Lucy O'Brien
For more than ten years, James Vine, better known as ENiGMA Dubz, has been producing dubstep that has stayed consistent, innovative, and true to his very own sound. He is one of the best, most underrated UK producers in bass music! James has had a slow but incredibly steady build-up of a career. Most recently, he dropped an EP titled 'Boundless' with Ian Urbina's Outlaw Ocean Music Project.
The Outlaw Ocean Music Project is an astonishingly inspiring assignment made up of a wide-ranged collection of songs that alternatively represent the book titled 'The Outlaw Ocean'. The book, written by Urbina, discusses the chaos and hardships that happen in our oceans. The stealing of ships, illegal fishing, human slavery, intentional dumping… the list goes on.
Using sounds, recordings, and clips from Urbina's archive of noises he recorded while reporting out at sea over a span of 5 years. James created a breathtaking EP that captures the bleak realities and overwhelmingly emotional turmoil our waters endure. I had the pleasure of chatting with James' manager Tom Bradshaw-Smith about the details of the EP, which dropped today on all platforms.
'Overboard', the first song on 'Boundless', starts off the EP with an eerie vibe. Tom says, "This is a dark and mysterious slice of synthwave infused electronica. Sitting at 120 bpm, with a wavy half time feel, the track is inspired by conflict between criminal ships and the authorities - particularly the Argentinian Navy shooting at the illegal Chinese Fishing Vessel, Lu Yan Yuan Yu - and the notion of throwing illicitly caught fish overboard. The track uses a radar sample from the sample pack provided, which runs every 8 bars throughout."
Then, 'The Lone Patrol' switches our minds to another bleak and intense, yet stunningly captivating vision.
"Next comes a beautiful, euphoric, but haunting piece of future garage at 126 bpm," Tom says. "Based on the second chapter of the book 'The Lone Patrol, the track is inspired by the empty, lonely experience of being isolated out at sea in cold water - but surrounded by a stunning, shimmering ocean. James used the windy harbor sample for atmosphere, alongside a creaking sailboat for further textures. He also uses the voice radio signal sample during the middle breakdown: 'This isn't how I thought this would end, this is not what I was expecting this morning, not at all.' With haunting, cold strings entering the mix before the sample states, 'We can't get on board now.'"
The last two tracks are just as much of an emotional journey as the first half. As the only 140 bpm track on the list, 'Arctic Sunrise' is easily my favorite track. If you close your eyes and picture the ocean while listening, you can quickly envision the infinite vastness of it all. You can see the entire universe that lives beneath it, the overwhelmingly beautiful importance of water, jobs, and the life it houses. Not to mention the undeniably sinister abuse and contamination done to our oceans.
Tom explained, "This was inspired by the tale of the Arctic Sunrise warship that was detained- using the vocal sample: 'Spanish Warship Arctic Sunrise - Your message again, has been understood - we do not want to risk any further contamination, and we will stay here' from the samples. James also used a rain and thunder sample to add atmospheric presence to the track."
Concluding the journey of the EP, 'Boundless' takes us for a peaceful ride. Tom mentioned that this track was made at 110bpm, and the use of the female vocals was intended to feel "heartfelt and soothing."
Tom also added, "This was inspired by the epic quote cited at the start of Chapter 2 of The Outlaw Ocean book: 'Boundless and imperishable; the cosmic waters are at once the immaculate source of all things and the dreadful grave' — Heinrich Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization. James also made use of a fishing and seagulls sample for the atmosphere."
Overall, this entire EP is a beautiful cluster of downtempo electronica, garage bass, and dubstep.
ENiGMA Dubz has never missed a beat with any of his releases, and on top of the obvious technical talent, the messages he embeds into his craft are just awe-inspiring.
Click here to listen to 'Boundless', out now!
The Outlaw Ocean Music Project is a unique idea that not only teaches us about the darkness our oceans endure but communicates it in a vastly creative way. On top of all of that, even a portion of music's revenue will go towards the journey. Learn more about the project here!
And to hear more of James' perspective on the matter, check out this video.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out for ENiGMA Dubz come 2021. He has EP releases set with SLIME Recordings and Deep, Dark, & Dangerous as well.
Keep up with ENiGMA Dubz here!