By now, everyone in both the D&B and bass worlds knows that when Billain is about to drop a new release, it’s going to be a game-changer. Now with his last releases being in February, the scene is more than ready for a new joint from the Bosnia-based mega-producer. Or so they think. Different Eyes, the upcoming EP due out this Friday, November 17 on Vision, is once again going to lock Billain into the pinnacle of creativity in bass music.
Having already teased the title track two weeks ago, fans might assume Different Eyes will be another atmospheric concept EP, similar to 2022’s Lands Unbreached or 2019’s Nomad’s Revenge. Being that Billain has been so focused on film production with his multi-award winning short Fugitive and scoring said film as well as new A/V projects, it wouldn’t be too farfetched of an assumption. It would, however, be wrong. The fast, aggressive, yet painfully emotive D&B styles that caused both industry and fans to become infatuated with the dizzying levels of production this artist can attain is on Different Eyes in full force.
While almost every track on this EP can easily unalive any dancefloor, it’s important to note that Different Eyes is still a concept album and a journey, and it should be listened to as such at least once. It starts with the atmospheric, largely beatless wonder of an intro track, “It’s First Dream.” This lullaby brings the listener back into a world that only Billain fully knows: one of heavy atmos, cyberpunk dreamscapes and endless lands made of sound and code. It’s actually kind of him to lull the listener into this state, because the next tracks hit so damned hard, we nee a buffer.
What follows in the next five tracks is a sequence of ever faster and crunchier bass hurricanes, reflecting chaos and anger and tightly-reigned skill all at once. Our YEDM premiere is the second track, “Baka,” which presumably taken from the anime slang for “crazy” or “foolish,” and it certainly has the wild chaos of an anime fight scene. Easily the heaviest and most chaotic track on the EP, “Baka” drops the listener into the narrative of Different Eyes like a 3-meter vert ramp and doesn’t let go until it’s damn well ready. As intense and chaotic as it sounds, “Baka” was likely the most tightly produced track on the album, simply by virtue of how chaotic it is. It’s always the maddest syncopation that takes the most programming, and it might also be a little nod to jazz fusion. Only the best DJs will be able to mix this track, and it’s likely that’s the way Billain wanted it.
Going through the journey of the rest of the EP with “Kinetic,” “Uncanny Valley,” “FUCK Y00” and “Void Me,” the intensity and speed of the work only increases, but unlike “Baka,” they all have a trackable drum & bass beat. The EP ends up feeling like exploring a wild new planet in some futuristic inner space hellscape, from the prep of “Different Eyes” to the bumpy, aggressive culture shock of “Baka” to finding one’s stride in the “Uncanny Valley” to being over it already with “FUCK Y00” to the last ride of the ego-destroying ride of “Void Me.” “Different Eyes” is the victory lap, a reward for beating the game and making it through this fever dream of an EP.
As a psycho-thriller in sonic form, Different Eyes is a reflection of doing hard inner work. It’s chaos and anger and confusion and a hurricane of emotions, but the title track is the goal: meant to be the new perspective once one has let all that beautiful pain go. Whether you are working on something personally or just unthinkingly follow the arc of this EP, you will come to the end of this masterpiece seeing the world with “Different Eyes.”
Different Eyes drops tomorrow, November 17 on Vision. Click here to pre-order or pre-save.