Manchester drum and bass remains on the radar with the Minesweeper EP from DJ and producer Ocean Stirs (real name Tom Jarmey). It was released in September 2021 on vinyl and digitally in October 2021 on the label Holding Hands via sub-imprint Submerged. Jarmey is one of the creators of Wax Villainy, a Manchester-based promoter with a weekly show on Fuse FM.
The four included tracks are consistent in layered patterns that weave together an experience perfect for a drive or dance floor personal moment.
The title track features Joe Litherland as contributor and really anchors the EP. Think throwback to classic Photek with a nuanced, confident approach. Sweeping minimalism is at the forefront, with wavy undertones for an introspective journey.
Spatial breaks in the beat of “Hollow” give pause to pick up all the details that may have been missed along the way. “Pluto” is appropriately named; it’s the most spaced-out melodic track on the record. Big beats give it structure and depth. “Nocturnal” has more abstract transitions and a darker feel perfect for a warehouse set.
Holding Hands took a departure from their standard offerings of electro-infused breaks to put out a 160-170 bpm release that fits with the darker feel of the Submerged releases. On the EP’s Bandcamp page, the label states it’s “all over the place” with tempo these days. This is the right time, then, to release something faster that they would play out themselves.