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Bastions Of Sterling Thrones

“Bastion of the Sterling Thrones is a tale of rescue. It follows a young hero through a battle to save his true love from the grips of evil.”

These are the words of enigmatic producer Druid Cloak, describing his new EP Bastions Of Sterling Thrones, out now on Bad Taste Records. The EP is Druid Cloak's third in a trilogy of location-based concept releases that focus on druid lore. It contains three tracks that follow the heroic narrative and two remixes by fellow label mates Tony Quattro and Timbah.

Druid Cloak combines the influences of glitch hip-hop with strands of modern r'n'b. Opener 'The Archpriest' begins with a distorted vocal loop ebbing and flowing on top of a rumbling groove. Thick 808 beats and timbres are softened by detuned choir vocal samples. Druid Cloak shows a great ear for detail, especially on 'Sterling Thrones', on which orchestral synths and skittering percussive sounds introduce a lustrous arpeggio. This sense of elation is brought to a fitting climax by 'The Poultice', with heightened vocals riding on top of an ocean of luscious synth leads.

The EP's narrative and Druid Cloak's deft abilities as a producer give his music a sense of theatre and emotion. Too many producers are guilty of using tracks as a production exercise and sadly this is what the remixes by Tony Quattro and Timbah turn out to be. Both re-workings of 'The Poultice' and 'Sterling Thrones' seem functional and made to be used as filler. It would be far more interesting to hear Druid Cloak create a full length concept album.