August 11, 2010


With Sach O out of town, Aaron Frank is determined to fill his quota of writing about largely obscure bass music. 

Granted my tolerance for standing in a hot, outdoor meat market with hordes of jaw-grinding, community college freshmen that likely don’t even know who’s performing is beginning to wain. But after checking out the set times for HARD Fest last Friday, I got the last minute urge to go, specifically to see attend the smaller of the two stages for a few hours, which hosted a blistering lineup of Skream, Benga, Caspa and Flying Lotus. I even thought about sneaking in at one point, and though a friend would potentially deem me the “Che Guevara of Raves”, criminal trespassing at age 25 is so passé, and seeing the dubstep supergroup later this year, which includes Skream, Benga, and Artwork, sounds like it could be much more promising.

A few weeks back, I was beyond excited to get my hands on their first Essential Mix for BBC, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Sach O covered Skream and Benga’s raucous Stella Sessions on Rinse back in May, and as if they weren’t impressive enough, Magnetic Man dropped by Rinse last week for another ridiculous DJ set, which is now available for free download. Whereas their BBC mix showcased the group’s penchant for live remixing and their ability to seamlessly blend tracks, their Rinse mix takes on a much nastier, party vibe, possibly because of the seven cocktails ingested before and during the set, but more likely because of the setting and track selection.

It stands to reason that Magnetic Man’s Rinse fans are more naturally predisposed to the frequency-bending, eardrum-shattering style exhibited on their latest mix. And after looking over the tracklists, it’s pretty clear that the Rinse mix is more focused around showing off Skream and Benga’s new solo work for dedicated fans rather than winning over on-the-fence radio listeners. Benga’s hypeman work is pretty epic on this mix too and though the interaction in the studio might be off-putting to some, others will find pleasure in the fact that three guys can have so much fun sitting around drinking and playing music for each other.

Magnetic Man’s debut album comes out in October on Columbia and though the lead single “I Need Air” hasn’t quite sold me on their original work just yet, it’s certainly made a statement as to their potential for crossover success, gaining quite a few spins from DJs and consistently holding down a spot on the UK singles chart. The other tracks I’ve heard in their mixes are great though and for some reason, I can’t help but think of the similarities between Magnetic Man and Major Lazer, who both helped bring bubbling sub-genres to the surface. Rusko took a stab at popularizing dubstep for the masses earlier this year with O.M.G., but the result pandered too heavily to the Top 40 crowd. I’m hoping Magnetic Man won’t make the same mistakes and after taking in the grimey sounds of “Certified Banger” and “The Bug”, they certainly don’t look to be heading in that direction.

ZIP: Magnetic Man-“Rinse Mix” (Left-Click)
ZIP: Magnetic Man-“BBC Mix” (Left-Click)

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