Artist // Optiv & CZA

Label // Cause4Concern Recordings

Release // Cell Dweller / Pitch Funk

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Words by VLAD YAREMCHUK

If you’ve been following MethLab throughout 2016 it is highly improbable that you’ve missed the collaborative efforts of Optiv & CZA. First they’ve delivered a classy tech grinder “Sub Surface” as part of groundbreaking MethLab vol.2 and followed it up with a menacing belter called “Strangerlands” on Node 0x00A EP that came out in November. Both tracks clearly indicate how experienced the duo has become when it comes to delivering the A-class rolling action to the neurofunk crowd. At the same time there was a lot going at Cause4Concern Recordings. After more than 17 years in business the label’s state is better than ever with the latest releases coming from the likes of Subtension, Borderline, Zombie Cats, Hanzo, Inward, Randie and others. It was only appropriate for the duo to reinforce the 2016 label’s success by squeezing in their brand new single “Cell Dweller / Pitch Funk” just before the 2017 hit.

It starts off slowly, as “Cell Dweller” takes the time to build things up at its own pace producing some remarkable results. With a quite impressive cinematic intro the listener delves into the atmosphere, as the pressure is slowly rising up till the second you are thrown into the marching drum rolls, that take the threat to its next level. At this point you clearly start craving for more, intrigued by things yet to come, while the bassline forces join in to finally lead the buildup to reach its zenith. At long last the warfare breaks out right in front of you, exposing the tracks drop, gritty and grimy at its core. The masterful production demonstrated by the perfect texture of the bassline as well as the top notch drumwork shows that Optiv & CZA know precisely how to do what they are best at. The second you hear the rides joining after a short taste of atmospherics is the second you realize you’ve been rocking your head to the rhythm throughout the entire thing.

On the other side we are presented with “Pitch Funk” which perfectly matches the vibe of the release, making it the best flipside there could’ve possibly been. It conveys its message right from the start by letting you know it’s gonna be a crazy ride you won’t be able to stop through its crazy samples scattered over the percussion and the background atmosphere. Then the bassline comes crashing through the front door and things get so tense it feels like it’s all going to explode, which obviously happens soon after. The arrangement of the drum section combined with the insane synth, which together blends with the aggressive growling bassline, creates an incredibly volatile concoction, which we all love to call groove. And in this case the groove is outright irresistible.

On the one hand, the numerous tracks produced by Optiv & CZA showed that you can always expect the best from them, but still, each and every time they deliver something like this your jaw drops and you are impressed as if you’ve never expected it to be so good. After so many years on the scene, Ed and Mark proved yet another time that as long as you’re devoted to your cause you will keep evolving and outdoing yourself.