Unit 18

Deaf Test • 2022

Sam Smith puts his foot down. After the release of the LP »Unlit Signals« in the fall of 2020, he founded his own label Deaf Test, which is connected to the London club night of the same name, in the following year. Having released the EP »Rayhana« and a white label 12” with three edits, »Unit 18« is the third release there under his Ploy alias and dedicated to the club of the same name in the English capital. The three tracks draw their inspiration from soundsystem culture and accordingly let the bass run loose. »Stinky« rattles off aggressively, letting fragmented vocal loops compete for the listener’s attention with massive sub-bass and sharp-edged percussion—all these elements could be danced to in a different way. »Ninety One« similarly seems to juxtapose two different rhythms: a hard-stepping groove complemented by a massive bassline meets a soaring backbeat and, of course, another MC whose words have been chopped and looped. The clever arrangement and two breakdowns give the track all the more verve. And just when you think that Smith couldn’t possibly top this, he offers half-time grime, dubstep basses, hissing hi-hats, hand drums and an ominous flute solo in just one tune, the title track. It’s an impressive conclusion to this EP, which should make every club wall crumble in just 15 minutes. When Sam Smith puts his foot down, you better hurry up.