Optimum – Max Power

Release Date 20/09/2010 (Planet Mu)

By Sam Constable

Those of you paying attention will have noticed his past collaborations with Ikonika, but this time Optimum (aka Malcolm Chen) goes it alone with his first 12” on the mighty Planet Mu.

Title track ‘Max Power’ goes wild with the arpeggios, as scaling synths run the show. Single snare shots, clustered hi-hats and sliding pad hits lay the path for the drop. And what a drop it is! Pushing you in right at the deep end, sweeping bass controls the bottom end, powering the memento behind the track. Atari inspired samples and rave fuelled riffs bounce around the bassline, burning more energy into the track. Hitting top speed from the moment the bass drops, the track’s driving sound is bubbling with energy. Dropped at the right time it’s bound to cause destruction on any dance floor.

‘Crash Riddim’ serves up more of the same. Opening with a tense edgy synth riff, pitched samples and kicking in nicely to a sub low bass and christened with electro styled drum work. The track works well to play its own elements off against each other, building and falling in pattern. The synth work sounds warm, cutting and unique. It’s easy to hear the Ikonika influence rubbing off and more impressive to hear how Optimum’s made it his own.

Final track ‘Lily’ winds down proceedings well, bringing a more soulful vibe this time with deep rhythmic bass powering a lonesome synth into the void. Almost unnoticed, chords flutter into the frame, coming together to create a deep and moving piece, showing another side to Optimum’s production skills.

From the first listen, it was plain to hear Optimum had created a very distinct sound for himself, bearing similarity to Starkey, Ikonika, Cooly G and Jamie Vex’d yet standing in its own right. A promising start for what’s set to be an interesting career. The EP’s available from 20th September from all good stores in digital and vinyl format.

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