At eight tracks in length, Ultra Violet straddles the fine line between an EP and an album. It’s not quite full length, but at the same time there’s enough content that that Bedrockk, a.k.a. Dave Marquess, gets a real chance to show off how he’s evolved since his last album. And while initially the differences don’t seem quite so drastic, it’s not long before the subtler improvements begin to hit you.
Stylistically, Ultra Violet covers similar ground to Get Born, with the electronic R&B sound remaining largely intact. The sound features a consistent use of vocals heavily treated with reverb, and the productions often feature a futuristic or galactic spin to them. The opening track Just Like You sets the mood, with its minimal production placing the focus on Marquess’ unnatural vocals; the way the simple beats and occasional guitar chord almost blend with his vocals is initially strange, but in the long run it works out. On Me covers similar ground, moving between a simpler, almost foreboding urban breakdown and the brighter vocal sections, almost threatening to break into a club track before switching back to the urban sections. Despite some initial concerns, in the end it worked perfectly.
It’s on Dream City that the EP really shines, though. The song’s vibrant coating of melodies works with the stuttering trap beat at the heart of the song to turn a genre that usually sounds serious or gloomy into something brighter and stronger, with the sparser use of vocals allowing the focus to remain on the beat, which works in its favour.
The only moment that sticks out in a negative way is the final track, a remix of Pure Vibes: While the original features one of the more focused R&B productions on the EP, and actually stands out as another of the more enjoyable tracks, the remix instead turns it into a strange experimental slow jam, ending the EP on an awkward note that rather than allowing it to end on the much more fitting Fabulous.
Overall, Ultra Violet came as a bit of a surprise. The leap in the quality of his music over the past four years is undeniable, and has led to the creation of a strong collection of songs. Its consistency is definitely a strong point, though the ability to keep it consistent while still playing around with different tempos and beats makes it even better. Bedrockk’s latest EP is definitely worth checking out.