Now on his debut EP, Melvv first came to my attention two years ago through his remix of Alison Wonderland’s “Back It Up.” It perfectly captured the loud, punchy future bass sound that I crave so much. I found the small number of tracks that he had released so far compelling, especially “Goodbye,” featuring MOONZz. But after a two-year hiatus, I almost stopped listening and forgot completely about this upcoming electronic artist. Now ending that radio silence is “Stress Relief,” Melvv’s first EP, which brings back the fast-paced future bass drops that he achieved two years ago with his “Back It Up” remix.
Four tracks off of this five-track release are, disappointingly, a bit more electronic dance music than future bass. “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It,” “Riot,” “Blurry,” and “Over” all feature shockingly similar sounding female vocalists and the same two-drop structure used by many other electronic artists.. While “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It” and “Riot” channel the punchy future bass for which Melvv is known, the rest of the tracks do not support this style. “Blurry” is perhaps the most disappointing track of the EP. It’s very slow and relaxed and does not channel the bold bass that caught my attention in the first place, causing it to fall flat. “Over” is reminiscent of Louis the Child’s jazzier new releases, like “Last to Leave” and “Right to It.” The only track that I thoroughly enjoyed was “11,” which is a pure future bass song reminiscent of some smaller Soundcloud artists, like Sadkey and Vincent, and delivers heavy bass and intense, high frequency synths.
“Stress Relief” puts Melvv among other electronic artists that have drifted more and more toward making crowd-pleasing dance beats, including Manila Killa, Robotaki, Louis the Child and Myrne. This drifting isn’t a bad thing. Still, the label “electronic dance music” is pretty loaded in the electronic community and is especially resented by some artists, like Alison Wonderland, because it carries such negative connotations. This stereotype is furthered by producers like Deadmau5, who are staunchly opposed to anything resembling this subgenre, especially The Chainsmokers and Marshmello. However, electronic dance music has its place just as much as any other electronic subgenre does. While “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It” and “Riot” are not my favorite tracks, they are catchy and well made nonetheless. I would probably include them on a playlist specially crafted to introduce newcomers to future bass and electronic music in general.
Although Melvv is moving toward dance music production with “Stress Relief,” this shift does not make me like him any less. Each song hints at the quality of bass and synth production we can expect from future releases. In electronic music, it is not just about the tracks the artist can produce but also about the vibe that they cultivate through DJ sets, mixes and live shows. While Melvv’s new original releases may not be extraordinary, I am still confident he can deliver more of the punchy future bass sounds he is known for.