Flex Ariani & Lacy – Tension / Neck

Flex Ariani and Lacy are both artists from Greensboro, NC. They’re current with this white label maxi, the first release on Less Than Family, a DIY imprint meant to act as a vehicle for the output of a collective of musicians (most based on the East Coast) of which both artists are a part.

A-side “Tension” lives up to its name perfectly. It’s a patient half-time roller centered around larger-than-life sub and a disembodied voice telling us what’s what. It’s a great example of how a minimalist quasi-drop can be so much more rewind-worthy than a drop that goes big. “Neck” is on the flip, and it’s likely the more versatile tool of the two: a shuffling bit of mongrel UKG with choppy reptilian vocals and appropriately clattering percussion.

Both tracks (but particularly the A-side) are perfect examples of understated modern dubstep that’s low-end-focused and mid-range avoidant, out at a time when many of the genre’s originators are returning to their old styles in force. It’s really refreshing to see a new generation of artists embracing the elements of dubstep that made it so exciting when it first emerged, before it was co-opted by the EDM machine and maximal-ized for its midrange–and often middling—big room potential. All that midrange wobble worked fine to shred the fuck out of the open air in a stadium, but what was lost was all that wonderful greasy viscous sub, and the power it had to fully engulf a human-sized audience in a well filled basement. That’s not to say there isn’t a role for the shreddy midrange wobble, or that the Skreams of the world shouldn’t strive to fill giant venues with dubstep heads old and new, “real” and “bros” alike. It’s just even more encouraging to me that those events are coinciding with a new wave of producers warming up to the sultrier side of what was once the most ambrosial club genre around. If this single is any indication, Flex Ariani and Lacy—and the Less Than Family crew in general—deserve our continued attention going forward.

Tension / Neck is available on bandcamp, so go support the artists there. Or for those of you more inclined towards streaming, both songs can be found at all the usual outlets.

Flex Ariani & Lacy – “Tension” (sc)

Flex Ariani & Lacy – “Neck” (sc)


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