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April 29, 2022

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Almost a decade after the first Batu single, Bristolian producer and DJ turns to his own label Timedance for his first full length release. Born in 2020, Opal is the result of reflection in a time of upheaval and uncertainty. Traces of Batu’s past work can be found in sonic fossils across the record, carved and weathered until they reveal completely new forms. Like many jewels, opal is formed by pressure. Groundwater carrying silica forces its way through fissures in rocks, compacted by layers of sediment, and eventually solidifying into dazzling displays of mineral fire. It’s no wonder that Batu’s prismatic debut album takes the same name.

Scraping metal moves with instinctual force, opening portals to the past in ‘Former World’. It’s an intricate and intimate introduction to an album that relies heavily on sound design. Sounds are amorphous chunks of hewn rock, split open to reveal iridescent cores. They exist in the dark yet familiar world that Batu has created, full of dripping crystal stalactites, and the shifting of gravel as creatures pound the earth.

‘Convergence’ explores the negative space of these labyrinthine audio crevasses, where streams of consciousness merge as the track’s corrugated rhythms collapse on themselves. A thrillride of musical non sequiturs, ‘Atavism’ reveals many of the album’s themes. Vocals tap into primal energies, and synths have intensely natural conviction under Batu’s molecular level of detail. The thunk and twang of wooden arrows on ‘Solace’ meet serpentwithfeet’s melismatic delivery, and surging synths on ‘Squall’ shake the earth with tremendous might.

Opal is an aural excavation of electronic music, a celebration of the Earth’s geological heartbeat, and Batu performs his sonic metallurgy with breathtaking execution.


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