Son Raw will go crazy, he’ll go insaaaaaaaaaannnneeee.
Way back in 2012, I reviewed Mr Mitch’s Searching for Venus and claimed it was the rare Grime album you could put on and vibe to. Two solar cycles later, that’s no longer quite so rare and Mr Mitch is looking less like an outlier and more like a visionary, discovering an ever richer vein of experimental music through his Gobstopper label (see last week’s Loom interview) while progressively moving his production away from dance floor concerns into headier territory. Doing so, he’s not left Grime behind, but rather transmuted its energy and anger into music that expresses the flip side of those attributes: melancholy and sadness. That’s just the sort of sonic ambition that gets you signed to Planet Mu, a move that should propel Mitch beyond Grime’s core massive and into the headphones of a wider audience.
While Logos’ hardware-based deconstructions have the electronica crowd covered, and Slackk’s Palm Tree Fire continues to be the best pure Grime album of the year, Mr Mitch’s Don’t Leave EP and forthcoming debut LP Parallel Memories are undoubtedly the most emotional releases out the Boxed camp so far. The EP’s title track positively drips with pathos, proceeding at a funerary pace miles away from Grime’s usual 140BPM acceleration. Brilliantly, it’s already become a sort of anthem at Boxed despite operating at around 35 beats per minute, a fact that says just as much about the tune’s quality as its audience’s open-mindedness. The quarter-time inertia isn’t the only left turn: while Grime has its fair share of kiss offs to disloyal women, the anger is usually directed outwards. Mitch on the other hand, cannily flips an R&B sample into a spiralling anthem to vulnerability.
The rest of the EP is just as good, exploring similarly unconventional emotions and tempos. Long time dubplate Be Somebody is a woozy, delicate mood piece about longing and late nights, while Padded is a melodic synth jam that rewrites the rules for night bus music. The EP ends with OH, an R&B sampling Hip-Hop jam that somehow manages to break even further from Grime’s conventions. The craziest part though? The full length album is even better.