The latest release from Sheffield producer Utah? is a lesson in boundary-pushing experimental grime and sound design wizardry. Ushering the listener into a world of metallic textures, the four instrumental tracks of the Bronze EP draw in elements of house, garage, jungle, electro, and techno to create stark, stunning sonic worlds.

We spoke to Utah? and he gave us an exclusive insight into how he made the record. Here’s what he had to say.

Utah – Bronze

Bronze is my latest EP on Coyote after two releases on Kastle’s label Symbols. I think I first started making the tracks around 3 years ago. Usually, I make a lot of music each month in rushes and bursts then revisit and refine later. I find making stuff quickly works really well for getting my ideas down in the rawest, most immediate form. 

Not all of my tunes are dancefloor focused (like Airlock for example, which is beatless and has guitar) and I don’t try to let that define all of my music. I use a lot of texture and degradation in the sounds I use.For the artwork for Bronze, I wanted a minimal, metallic image which reflected the distortions and granular sensibilities of my music. At the same time I wanted it to show a bit of the elements of previous Coyote releases. I initially sent out a lot of source material to the guys of missile defence laser systems (where we got the lines in the sky idea) and local landscapes/concrete structures.

Tilt is the spacey first track of the EP. I really wanted that main arp to be the focal point and the snare to crack hard over the top. After those elements are introduced the dead simple sub bass kicks the song along.Signal is the most recent tune on the EP. Most of the eerie synth sounds were made on my Korg Ms20 mini which is a remake of a 70s analog synth, which were recorded then distorted/degraded and filtered in various ways.It took me a while to decide on a good bass sound and I tested loads of different versions in the project before settling on the gritty bump that hits at the start of the drop.Listening back, some of the droney synths and textures remind me a bit of some of the sounds in the instrumental passages of the Babyfather (Dean Blunt) project “BBF”. 

Signal is the most recent tune on the EP. Most of the eerie synth sounds were made on my Korg Ms20 mini which is a remake of a 70s analog synth, which were recorded then distorted/degraded and filtered in various ways.It took me a while to decide on a good bass sound and I tested loads of different versions in the project before settling on the gritty bump that hits at the start of the drop.Listening back, some of the droney synths and textures remind me a bit of some of the sounds in the instrumental passages of the Babyfather (Dean Blunt) project “BBF”. 

Bronze contains a mix of styles. It’s got a dred/jungle style bass sound mixed with some of the spiky synth lines that I use in a lot of my tunes. I like to use bits of field recordings in my music and one of the percussion sounds in this is a recording of the pop of the lid of a glass spice bottle. There’s a 4×4 switch up in the end which is a bit of a homage to my earlier tunes and speed garage influences.

Polymer, the EP’s closer, is a dead simple grime based tune in a rough 8 bar structure. I wanted to keep this one as minimal as possible just to let the melody line come through and be the main focus. There’s always the temptation to add more and more layers but I tried to take a very restrained approach. 

Bronze is out on the May 24, available on digital and 12″. Don’t miss the launch party with Force Majeure on May 17.

Check out Utah? on Soundcloud.

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