As has no doubt been observed countless times, the ever-changing face of dubstep is continually seeing new figures pop up with astounding new takes on the genre (Burial, Boxcutter) or refinements (iTAL tEK, Swarms), and Bristol's Phaeleh seems poised to join the ranks of the heavy hitters. Fresh off the heels of last year's Fallen Light, an album so close to classic status that it could smell its eyeballs, Matt Preston returns with The Cold in You, an EP which finds the DJ expanding on his hypnotic, ethereal style in a number of different directions.
One of the EP's first distinguishable traits is its different progression; while Fallen Light's tracks flowed together almost a little too well sometimes, here Phaeleh has managed to make everything mesh without sounding too similar to anything else; the listless guitar leading In the Twilight, for example, co-exists quite harmoniously alongside the somewhat aggressive 2 step beat that drops in Think About It. Phaeleh also makes more effective use of bass here, to such an extent that some tracks, like the menacing Caustic Storm, or in particular dub creeper Perlious, are on the verge of feeling out of place.
This is not to suggest a departure of any sense, however; all the hallmarks which made Phaeleh's last two full-lengths great are still here in spades. Soundmouse once again shines on the brilliant title track, with its haunting piano-led hook, and all the lush, beautiful harmonies he is becoming known for are as vibrant and prominent as ever, namely in the sweeping closer Should Be True, which swells gorgeously all throughout its seven minute length. Ghostly vocal samples, fantastic synths, and especially the broad instrumentation are woven together expertly with the beats, which almost act as a light yet persistent slap to keep you alert in the midst of all the hazy beauty found here.
The Cold in You hints at great things in Phaeleh's future output. There is a great improvement as far as variety is concerned, with an excellent blend of his older and newer ideas, and most impressive is the fact that it comes without any sort of dip in quality. Preston has mentioned that he will probably drop off the radar for a bit while he works on his next LP, which is a shame, but with all the anticipation that is undoubtedly going to follow the man's output between Within the Emptiness and this, it's for the better. It's going to be a complete monster if this EP is any indication, and once it drops the dubstep community just might find itself saying, "Burial who?"