Vanta, Zomby’s first release since the 2017 LP Mercury’s Rainbow, is named after Vantablack - a material that, with a light absorption-rate of 99.96%, is one of the darkest substances on earth. It’s a fitting title for an EP of such darkness. Even by the standards of one of the artists in the British clubsphere most willing to get murky, Vanta is an imposing listen.
These tracks find Zomby fronting a brutalised, uncompromising techno sound pitched halfway between Lurka’s grizzled soundsystem pieces and the anarcho-dub of The Bug and his Pressure crew. ‘Void’ opens up the record with unrelenting bass drums and empty-warehouse atmospherics moving in and out of focus. This is followed by ‘Bleed’, a number that sounds like the title track from Bergsonist’s recent Where To Now? drop Solyaris if it had been taped in a haunted house.
‘Emerald’ is the moment when Zomby’s sound veers closest to that of The Bug - Kevin Martin would certainly be pleased to come up with something this grizzled. ‘Threshold’ seems to draw on the liquid futurism of Zomby’s old sparring partner Actress, its crushed-up 909s and eerie snippets of vocal specifically reminiscent of AZD’s ‘Dancing In The Smoke’. With its needling acidic bassline, closer ‘Zexor’ is the only track on Vanta with anything that could be considered a melody, though Zomby doesn’t allow any light in along with it.
Zomby keeps it very heavy indeed on new EP Vanta.