2021 was a very pivotal year for Liquid Ritual. With the huge peak in popularity of wave to ride, a pandemic to deal with and a leading role to be reconfirmed, for the team there were many fronts to work on, as were the variables to be taken into account and what was at stake. With two months still to go, I believe it’s safe to say they’ve definitely nailed it. Indeed, this has been the most various year for the label yet as they have been spacing between many declinations of wave and collaborating with a list of artists that includes names that are anything but obvious. This ebb and flow led to both more and less successful chapters, but it clearly demonstrated Stohou and Kareful’s effort and willingness to keep the label always at the vanguard of wave. An attitude that is expected from an institution like Liquid Ritual and from which the whole movement benefits.
In a very busy round of weeks (which included another release with Remnant.exe and a mix on Trap Nation), they have pulled out this very fascinating piece. Produced by Kenja, who seems to be at his very first official wave release, ‘Alive’ is a very interesting crossway of influences. Unlike most of the other tracks that start from the same premises, it clearly draws more from UK dubstep than trap, giving as result a wave “spin-off” that is not that common. Kenja didn’t completely dilute the nuances he used in a hybrid result, but instead, he has overlapped them one over another. I see ‘Alive’ as two separate pieces that fit together perfectly like two lego bricks. The slow rhythmic (99 bpm), the punching kicks, the metallic groove (with the exception of the snare) are all very dubstep-inspired. Vice versa, the soundscapes that sit upon the beat are unmistakable sourcing the very essence of wave. Spatial pads and shadowy, vocalizations rule this side of the track, which in the best tradition of the genre, convey dreamlike and hallucinated visions.
As said before, the combo of these two “souls” match nicely without tiring the ear, so much so that I consider there would have been potential for it to last at least another minute. Just as there would’ve been room to deepen and explore more in-depth some ideas and elements only marginally hinted at in the three minutes (for example, I really appreciated the tempo change in the little section within the breakdown). Is ‘Alive’ going to be a one-of-a-kind experiment by Kenja or can we expect him to go down this route? It’s up to Marco to answer us, with words or notes. What about Liquid Ritual? Rumors say that we can expect more releases on this wavelength (pun intended) in the near future. News that leaves me very, very happy.
Enjoy ‘Alive’ below and on your favorite platform here.