Pyxis is a UK-based artist who, after 20+ years working various support roles in the drum & bass scene, debuted her Truth EP late last year on Goldfat Records. Since then in less than a year, she’s racked up an impressive number of releases on labels like Beats in Mind, Liquid Drops, Wiggo and now Chris Inperspective’s burgeoning new project, Eloisa. Thus far typified by releases which are atypical to the usual D&B categories, it makes sense that Eloisa would gravitate towards an artist like Pyxis for her jazzy, esoteric liquid style and it is indeed a good match.
Pyxis’s debut EP on Eloisa is called XX and while it’s grounded in liquid and fluid sound design, it’s also not your standard liquid EP. Featuring a different vocalist on each track, the EP is also grounded in female vocals, but not in a pop way. Pyxis incorporates elements of many other styles and genres into the work. The EP opens with “Aura” featuring Ella Sopp has a jazzy, soulful flavor that compliments Sopp’s Mary J. Blige-like vocal timbre and R&B style. The sound design, with its electronic harp notes and echoey backing melodies, is really key in this track as it develops “Aura” beyond liquid, jazz, R&B and even D&B as a whole into a whole other genre.
Following “Aura,” “Senses” featuring Colette Warren takes the EP in a different direction. Warren’s voice is quite versatile so Pyxis set them to a versatile track. “Senses” has a similar ethereal background to “Aura” but its sine wave bass synths that flow in and out of the track will be a surprise to liquid fans. Warren’s vocals move with the track as well, sometimes in the foreground and sounding a bit R&B or pop, while other times they’re in the background, set to echo and chugging along with the deep bassline. In two tracks, Pyxis has already explored wildly different ends of the liquid spectrum.
“Timepeace” featuring SOFi MARi goes to yet another realm of liquid, an amen-heavy stepper that skirts the edge of jungle and other old school styles while still maintaining that pretty, spacey sound design. There’s some fun rave elements here as well, as “Timepeace” really takes the listener along the timeline of jungle and D&B.
XX closes as it opened with a snare-heavy, jazzy liquid track featuring Sydney called “Zen.” A little more ravey than “Aura,” it highlights the versatility of Sydney’s voice in a similar way to Collette Warren’s in “Senses.” “Zen” is an interesting, chill infusion of all the elements in the other tracks on the EP. This is the same sort of trajectory Pyxis’s exclusive YEDM guest mix takes as well, opening with jazzy vibes, slipping a bit deeper (there may even be a fog horn in there) and ending with some upbeat, snare-heavy vibes. At almost a full hour, the mix takes the listener on a journey through rarified air and lots of as yet undiscovered tracks.
EPs like XX are a sign that liquid drum and bass is not only alive and well but artists like Pyxis are forging a new, expanding path ahead for this, and really all subgenres. Fusions are the future, and both Pyxis and Eloisa are showing the way.
XX is out now on Eloisa and can be streamed or purchased here.