Son Raw is writing this from Dublin over a cup of tea.
First up, a big shout out to everyone at Boxed in London for the warm welcome when I visited their night. As a fan of this music, that was a tremendous experience and it was great to hear those tunes played the way they were meant to be. More than ever, I’m sure in my comparison when I mention it alongside nights like Low End Theory, DMZ and Metalheads. If you follow this column and live in or visit London, it’s an absolutely essential destination. Now onto some new music…
The biggest release of the past couple of weeks, Grime-wise, is undoubtedly North London producer Dark0’s Sin EP on Lost Codes. Building hype through hyper-melodic Bandcamp mixtapes, a banging war dub and a worldview forged of equal parts video games and street life, Dark0 is a perfect fit for Lost Codes – of the oldschool but unafraid to push things forward.
Sin is undoubtedly his best work yet, and lead track Chaos is already tearing up radio sets through its combination of gothic stateliness and dread tension, pitting synthesized arpeggios against digital accordions. The results call to mind classic darkside anthems like Skream’s Midnight Request Line, but with the full emphasis on melody. Second track Phobos is just as strong, rescuing Danny Weed’s camera clicks from producers who’d re-imagined them as bougie fashion-runway sounds instead of paranoid street sonics, and that’s before Filter Dread remixes into a harder, more percussive funk for added edge. Throw in the emotional Jinn as a finisher and you’ve got a rare EP that’s just as ready for the club as it is for a walk back from it. Oh, and in case you think he’s playing with the video game thing, check out his remix of Chrono Trigger’s Gaia them floating around in sets by Murlo and Mumdance – straight fire.
Speaking of Murlo, he headlined the aforementioned Boxed night and man, what a set. It’s impossible to pick a single best moment given the talent on display throughout the night, but when his take on Rhythm and Slags dropped, the entire room lost it. He’s also delivered a banging remix of TRC’s You & Me on Crazylegs. While the original is a fantastic vocal Garage cut that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoyed DJ Q’s Ineffable album, this revised version stands as further proof that no one is touching Murlo right now in terms of tear-jerker melodies. Since he perfected a signature sound palette equal parts Asian tuning and early aughts R&B, he’s become an increasingly in demand commodity, guest mixing on BBC1Extra, collaborating with JT the Goon for a forthcoming EP and appearing in countless mixes. Based on this track however, adding a cooing vocal to his post-Timbaland/Neptunes sound just might be nitro to glycerine. More please.
On the reissue tip, Night Slugs and Fade to Mind have re-released late 90s Tribal/Vogue anthem Icy Lake for those of us who would probably feel at least a little socially awkward at a Ball, and I have to thank them for it – the track is fantastic. Backed by an arsenal of remixes, the original cut nevertheless steals the show and proves to be infinitely adaptable outside of its original context. Check out the documentary above for more.