While most musicians aim to avoid overly simplistic labels, Gemmy’s press kit now describes him as one third of the Bristol “Purple Trinity.” As far as marketing schemes go, this has to be one of the better ones, as getting lumped in with Guido and Joker can’t hurt his odds to transcend the Boomkat babble. Presumably, the title of Gemmy Phillip’s latest single “Maroon Chant,” is his semi-subtle nod to incorporating more colors into the palette, and indeed, this is an even more intense attack along the visible spectrum.
While Guido’s conception of bass music tends towards the orchestral and Joker channels Compton circa 1992, Gemmy boasts the most saliently West Indian influence of the triumvirate. Tracks like “Shanti Riddim” from last year’s Johnny 5 EP, boasted a stoned serpentine groove that channeled the “dub” part of dubstep, which producers have moved away from in their quest to create funkier and more danceable grooves. “Maroon Chant” boasts all the hallmarks of the purple sound: electrocution synths that resemble exploding alarms on a spaceships, drums that drop like 100 lb. Acme safes, rib cage-rattling bass. But beneath the sub-genre signifiers, there’s a mild dancehall influence — with Gemmy’s beat conjuring distant visions of dank chronic, sound systems with staggering strength, and sweating bodies. Yet it seems to be imagined from the frigid confines of an unventilated bedroom, with a wild wind cackling outside. Island music, but composed in a cold-water port.
To promote the release on England’s Earwax imprint, Gemmy’s also dropped a new DJ mix for free download. I’d post the tracks themselves, but I’d be flooded by C&D’s by the time it hit your RSS feed. Dubstep DJ’s do not play around.