As a producer and DJ, Jim Coles persistent presence in an ever changing world has solidified his place as an electronic music pioneer. Coles took on the mantle of Om Unit in the late 2000s, and since then the English producer has sought to challenge himself and his audience by going beyond the confines of genres and styles he is typically pinned down into. In the process he has found success by striving for more feeling, for a more human and daring electronic music.
What drives Coles is a desire to keep challenging himself, and in turn his audience. During his time as Om Unit, this has led him to distilll various influences — hip-hop, dubstep, ambient, jungle, footwork, techno and dub — into a fluid take on sound system culture that sidesteps the pitfalls of genres and pastiche and creates new potentials for exploration and inspiration, with many following in his footsteps. It’s how, in the early 2010s (under the recently resurrected ’Philip D Kick’ alias) he came to pioneer the stylistic and rhythmic links between jungle and footwork via a series of acclaimed edits that brought him to the attention of the drum & bass scene. This personal approach has earned Coles praise as a refreshing voice in dance music from both peers and the media.
On record, Coles’ explorations into the deeper end of the electronic music spectrum have come via releases for Civil Music, including a critically acclaimed debut album, 2013’s Threads, legendary drum & bass outfit Metalheadz, where he was given access to Goldie’s personal sample archive as the inspiration for 2014’s Inversion album – a personal homage to the Metalheadz sound, and his own Cosmic Bridge imprint where in 2017 he released his daring third studio album ‘Self’. He has also released on Planet Mu, a collaboration with Machinedrum as Dream Continuum, on Astrophonica as Philip D Kick, on R&S’s Apollo imprint with Kid Drama, on All City Records, remixing Grammy-winning producer Om’Mas Keith, on Plastician’s Terrorhythm, and dBridge’s Exit Records. Not content with remaining still for too long, he has since moved more into the world of techno and experimental music, collaborating with Seekersinternational, remixing for Limbo Tapes, collaborating with Deadbeat for Limbo Tapes and notably, producing 2 albums of a new style of Dub, with his ‘Acid Dub Studies’ Series which have been by far his best selling work, with over 3500 vinyl records sold in an 18 month period, and a new Live show to boot, there seems to be little sign of slowing down on the horizon.
Jim Coles has never been an easy producer to pin down sonically but zoom out on the years of exploration in the potentials of beats, the space of slow-motion house music, the darkest corners of drum & bass & the hardcore continuum, or the frenzy of footwork patterns and now his more mature take on acid, dub, breaks and techno and by coming out the other side with personal takes fashioned from experience, experimentation, and excitement, that we can see, by consistently been putting Om Unit forward as a connector — between musical ideas, studio techniques, and potential emotional outcomes and by inviting listeners to hear and feel the experiences and memories that make up who we are – Coles has truly made an indelible mark on electronic music and remains here to stay.