Album Review: Noisia, Split the Atom

Tim Forrester nervously presses 'play' on the debut album from Dutch Drum 'n' Bass duo, Noisia - only to be brilliantly surprised.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 16th Apr 2010

Skiddle rating: 4 out of 5

Released: April 5th, 2010


It’s a bold statement to say that Nik Roos, Thijs de Vlieger and Martin van Sonderen (A.K.A. Noisia) are perhaps the finest producers working in dance music today, but the Noisia ‘sound’ is so distinct and so powerful these boys can’t seem to do anything else than pummel you into submission with their speaker destroying, sonic mastery.

After being introduced to the trio around five years ago through their mind blowing ‘Brainstitch' single, subsequent Noisia releases have become something of a curiosity; there was always the worry that a desire to take their unmistakable production talents and push themselves into the mainstream would somehow be at the expense of their raw talent.

Take into account their unforgivable electro-house remix of that fame obsessed, singing idiot, Robbie Williams, or turning the embarrassing, flash-in-the-pan sound of Hadouken into something to make them slightly more credible for another fifteen minutes and it certainly seems there has been a desire in the Noisia camp to break through from the underground.

So this often creativity-ruining separation from the dancefloor in favour of the charts and a pay cheque was the biggest fear upon pressing play on Split The Atom. From the opener, ‘Machine Gun’, I thought these fears had perhaps been realised - what I was hearing was an expertly precise execution in sounding not too dissimilar from Pendulum or the Prodigy. A disappointment perhaps, but the combination of meticulousness and ferocity in their scattering beats, underpinning the aural equivalent of an oncoming apocalypse gave enough interest enough to hear what else was left on this 19 track album.

As ‘Machine Gun’ moved on into ‘My World’, the whole landscape had changed and we were wandering into a very welcome, deeper pasture; it was then I realised Noisia have accomplished something not many other artists are capable of - being able to effortlessly straddle a fine line between commercial success and underground credibility. ‘Split The Atom’ is a must for all Noisia fans from whichever camp they understand the trio from; mainstream botherers like ‘Machine Gun’ are counterbalanced with seriously warped, slow motion, deep bass growlers contained in snippets like ‘Shitbox’ or ‘Leakage’. Add to that the destructive force of dancefloor smashers like ‘Diplodocus’, showing evidence these boys still knowing a thing or two about keeping underground Drum 'n' Bass on its toes, then Split The Atom works to satisfy even the most fastidious of music fans.

As I mentioned at the beginning, Noisia are perhaps the finest producers working in dance music today. It’s their techniques in the studio over anything else that set them apart from their contemporaries. There are moments when they take it to the absolute limit, suddenly pause and leave a split second for you to catch your breath in a cavernous void before immediately starting the assault all over again. It’s reasons like that which explain why there aren’t many out there who can even come close to the deadly force of Noisia. The absolute attention to detail in all of their work is phenomenal, even when they bash out the occasional no-brainers, specifically designed to attract the attention of the mainstream.

Go and buy this album now....

Reviewed by: Tim Forrester