Son Raw makes his way to Manchester
Times are changing in Grime. There’s more releases than ever, and that means that I’ve got to adapt. That means (hopefully) less 10 release wrap ups and more “Cream of the Crop,” laser-guided focused pieces zeroing in solely on my absolute favorites on any given month. There’s so much good music out right now, that the bar has to be raised: a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. And that’s not even including the huge of amount of must-listen radio shows going on at Radar Radio and Rinse…
Anyways, let’s get started.
First up, Coyote Records returns with another debut single, this time by Spokes, who you might have previously heard on the label’s Coyote Kings compilations. While I’ve been a fan of this crew’s output for a minute, this is actually my favorite single they’ve put out thanks to the title track and b-side Ritalin’s ultra-melodic use of square-waves and space. ‘
Fitting right in with recent material by Loom and Iglew, Spokes takes Ruff Sqwad’s most emotional moments as a starting point, before expanding into space. It’s the most refined expression of the label’s frostbitten romance yet, and that’s not even counting the killer E.M.M.A remix on the flip.
JT the Goon has hundreds of tracks in his hard drive, both solo and with Edgem, but frustratingly few of those make it off dubplate, so a new EP from the Slew Dem legend and Oil Gang veteran is cause of celebration. This time, he comes to us courtesy of Slackk’s Sulk imprint, and the label’s left-of-center selection is a welcome wrinkle in the JT sound. Yes, there’s the requisite bangers: “Wars” and “Without Warrant” are chock full of Triton gun sounds and AMS feedback leads, and the opener doesn’t even bother with an intro. But “So Real” marries that style toweird, proto-funky drumming and Sir Pixalot’s “Twist of Fate” remix balances theaggression, with an eyes down vibe.
A perfect appetizer for JT’s upcoming album, which is finally on the way.
On the darker end of things, Tectonic Records is in the middle of a purple patch, having fully shaken off the dubstep hangover to embrace slower tempos and reconnect with their darkest impulses. Mumdance & Logos’ “Proto” is still my favorite album of the year, and May saw the label’s 10th anniversary schedule bless us with two top quality singles.
First, Keysound veteran Wen delivered “Backdraft”–a rolling, slice of darkness very much in the vein of his post-album work. Since releasing Signal, Wen’s tracks have become more textured and subtle, moving away from anything that could be called Grime into experimental, rolling territory. It’s a great look for a developing producer and it’s exciting to hear him explore new territory on b-side Ghost, a D&B tempo excursion that’s so 2015 it hurts.
Tectonic’s second release this month comes courtesy of Pinch, Mumdance and MC Riko Dan. More words on that to come, but suffice to say–it’s murderous.
Finally, the left turn of the month comes courtesy of Sharp Veins’ official debut on Glacial Sound. Frankly, I don’t think this is Grime at all – it’s made by an artist from Alabama and had it come courtesy of say, Brainfeeder, no one would even think of categorizing it as such. Nevertheless, the artist formerly known as William Skeng gets plenty of love from the Boxed crew, so who am I to argue? In any case, the EP is a stunning example of Internet era music: lush, digital and perfect for long nights at your computer. If you’re a fan of Mr Mitch, Yamaneko or Slackk’s recent long players, you owe yourself a listen.