Birmingham’s bass-obsessive house aficionado and flag-flyer Chris Lorenzo has spent the last several years pioneering and championing the industrial-riddled, UK Garage-inspired House ‘n’ Bass sound, warping it into its own delicate subgenre of the ever-expanding cooking pot that is house. Having dropped huge releases with the likes of Hannah Wants and Chris Lake, Lorenzo has built himself up as a golden boy of the upstart Birmingham scene, and on his debut full-length – ‘Destroy The Image’ – he broodingly conveys his innermost thoughts on the sounds of his very own scene across fourteen delicately designed tracks, a snapshot journey that trickles and treads through the deviating elements of deep house, tech house, synth, and modern-day EDM that make up the House ‘n’ Bass mix he’s developed.
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The Chris Lake collaborated, Sam Nicolosi featured ‘We Are’ trickles layers of pining piano under electro-house heavy pads dropping into a deep house doppelgänger that you’d expect at the mid-way of a midnight session. It is, quintessentially, the almost-perfect opener for an album that ultimately dips in and out of reality, of which only half of the other-worldly trips are successful ones through the void. Lorenzo often loses his trail of thought within a decaffeinated blend of sliding synths, future house pads, and blitzing basslines, throwing off any sense of flow like a fish out of the ocean.
Cowbells go toe-to-toe with warping synths, dropping in and out of EDM-styled future-house heavy I-sound-a-little-like-Dimitri-Vegas-and-Like-Mike ready-made club-standards in the guises of the Sonny Fedora-featured DJ Zinc-collaborated ‘Afterparty’ and the filler-of-the-year ‘Purple Toe’, whilst elsewhere he fondles feverously with piano, patiently plotting out synthy sequences through sonic pathways, most notably on the Katy B club-edit ‘I Wanna Be’ and the album finale, and one-third of the records true highlights – along with official opener ‘We Are’ and the Alex Mills-credited ‘Sleep Talk’ – ‘Together’, a spiralling display of electro pads spinning away through synth-shaped holes of club-based destiny.
The aforementioned ‘Sleep Talk’ is a mid-way reminder that above all else, Lorenzo – and the House ‘n’ Bass movement as a whole – is at its core about one thing, and one thing only: absolute bangers. Trickling synth-heavy drum pads over thumping bass, dip-dying minimalistic keys over a swash of warping alternating synths ultimately cascading into Alex Mills’ jaw-dropping vocal performance, crash-coursing elegantly through false drops and key changes, ‘Sleep Talk’ is the anthem of the album, the go-to weapon when the enemy asks: “So, what is House ‘n’ Bass?”
Of course, for every banger on this record, there’s a dud or two tucked away as if you’re rummaging your way through a stash of untouched records, foraging aimlessly for something special and leaving with some B-sides at best. The crashed-to-earth attempt of a dream sequence (‘Promised Land’) and a Marijuana-influenced pad-heavy sample of two-minute wham-bam-thank-you-mam bass (‘Spliff Break’) slides ‘Destroy The Image’ into torturing territory – torturing for the sheer reason you know deep down that Chris Lorenzo is far more than this, that he can achieve far more than this.
At the end of the set, as the mix slides into the next DJ, Chris Lorenzo’s ‘Destroy The Image’ obliterates its title’s meaning, transforming it into its oppositional front: reaffirming the image. In fourteen songs, Lorenzo outlines his vision, conveys it, surveys it, and ultimately refines it, and whilst the pace dips in and out, and the belief of its uniqueness wanes on-and-off, there’s no denying that he is the pioneer of House ‘n’ Bass.