January 13, 2014

Son Raw is the rap Bill Murray.

No, this isn’t groundhog’s day – I wrote about this combination a few months back but like The Low End Theory and Autonomic Podcasts, when these crews hit Rinse it’s always worth a mention.  Dusk & Blackdown returned to radio after another extended absence, but while the irregularity of their show can be frustrating, they’ve managed to leverage that scarcity so that each show is now a vital and necessary listen. The format is simple: all new tunes culled from the hundreds of dubs they’re sent in via Soundcloud, and they take pride in noting that they give every single one a listen. That makes their show a crucial testing ground for a scene bursting with talent but without many avenues for airplay in a musical environment still dominated by House. This edition’s highlights include a killer Logos refix by Charlux, the confirmation that Wen’s got an album on the way, new Etch, Parris and Murlo riddims and an announcement regarding the crew’s appearance at Reconstruct. I’ll be there.

Two days later, Elijah and Skilliam took to the airwaves  along with heavily hyped producers Murlo and Visionist and the competition was intense. As a fan, I wondered how Butterz would react to the influx of new producers coming into Grime, seeing as the newcomers’ darker, noisier sound contrasted strongly with the hyper-energetic Garage Elijah and Skilliam have been pushing. We now know the answer – rather than switch things up or stay the course, Butterz have raised the levels through collaborations (Royal-T and Flava D, Swindle and Joker) and the higher production values that those “in the studio” photos  hinted at. Simply put, Butterz wins by doing what others can’t and that means leveraging their talent and years in the game to keep things musical and high quality. 2014 promises to be a hot one if the rumors multiple singles turn out to be true.

Not to be outdone, Murlo and Visionist each delivered strong statements of purpose. Murlo (who also dropped an excellent Fact Mix last week) has been holding onto countless dubs and his rapid-fire Sino-Grime inspired set served as a great bridge between the scene’s noisier extremes and the funky Garage Butterz usually promotes. Crucially, his sound design is one of a kind, which means that he can take inspiration in Wiley’s early Eski experiments without making tunes that sound anything like them – a valuable asset at a time when Ice Rink gets sampled more than Amen, Brother. I already crowned Visionist in last month’s Grime Top 30 so I’ll spare you the superlatives, but give the man respect for thinking globally and acting locally: he may play Berghain and New York but his guest mix solely drew from tunes by South London producers, a potent reminder that where you’re at still counts in the Internet era.

Download:
MP3: Keysound on Rinse (January 2014)
MP3: Elijah & Skilliam ft Murlo & visionist on Rinse (January 2014)

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