October 17, 2013

Son Raw lives for the funk but dies for lack of good weather.

The funkiest man out the Boxed crew, Mr. Mitch might also be the producer least beholden to Grime’s past among a cluster of artists seeking to redefine London’s millennial sonic boom. Having already made noise through the anthemic Skittles on Butterz and the understated, left field favorite The Search for Venus, he initially struck me as an outlier in a crew that focuses on strangeness over dance floor appeal. His latest EP, Suave only underscores his role both in the group and as a solo artist: to push things forward without falling down a rabbit hole of eski synths and aggression.

The most striking thing about Suave is how it doesn’t rely on trendy sounds: rather than sample Wiley ad-nauseum, Suave re-imagines the woozy, tipsy signifiers of US Hip-Hop into club-centric Grime. The R&B tinged September is an immediate favorite, combining Low End Theory-ready synth work to stomping drums ready to slow a rave to a crawl so you can get your slow-jam on. At a time when most producers are tripping over  snare rolls, it’s a welcome pressure drop. Catford is another highlight: I’m not sure if Mitch is making trap or making fun of it, but I can’t get mad at a tune made entirely of mewling felines. I know too many people who spend their days browsing Reddit’s aww section to know this won’t work in the club.

Bar the slightly awkward Wipe, Suave is another successful statement of purpose from the London outlier. A creeper of a release, it demands repeated listens and never compromises or goes for a cheap thrill. Instead, it’s a welcome reminder that the best sign of health in a genre is when it can accomodate vastly different ideas and tha when everybody else is screwfacing, you can’t go wrong with humor and sensuality.

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