Son Raw shouldn’t have touched that second bottle of rum.
First up, I’m only now processing how great attending Boxed at Ministry of Sound was. Nevermind the fact that I was one drink away from total annihilation, catching Loom, Iglew Slackk, Mr. Mitch, Trends, and Moleskin on that sound system and with so many good people was an absolute treat. Better yet, the crew’s been going from strength to strength ever since, taking over XOYO’s second room last Friday while highlighting each DJ’s talents through a month of solo shows on Rinse FM.
They were all essential, but so far it was Oil Gang’s excursion into deep Triton territory that grabbed me the most: there’s not many DJs that can craft sets out of a very fixed set of producers but he’s managed to turn his JT the Goon, Dullah Beatz, and Spooky exclusives into a sound palate of their own.
On the release front, Slackk’s Backwards Light EP on R&S is another sign the movement is moving, and it adds another wrinkle to his cinematic sound. While Palm Tree Fire leaned on big melodic movements, his latest release feels more textural, keeping grime’s rhythms but shifting the sounds they frame even further away from what the genre’s known for. Much has been made of “Posrednik’s” acid squiggles but they don’t sound like much of anything you’d hear in an ordinary 303 jam, and they slot comfortably next to “Monument’s” Carpenteresque melodies.
As for me, I’m a sucker for the title track and “Saigon’s” eastern abstractions—territory Slackk’s covered before but never in such organic detail. If anything, “Saigon” manages to remind me of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s classic work with David Sylvian while still sounding like its own thing: no easy task.
Not to be undone, Logos released the Glass EP on Different Circles, although this write up probably won’t help you grab a copy—the 300 pressings have been spoken for. You can still wistfully dream of owning it while listening to the music on SoundCloud however, and I suggest you do so as every track further expands on the ideas from 2013’s stunning Cold Mission.
From the laser-guided blasts on the title track to the atmospheric textures on “No Skyline” and “Savanna Overlord,” it’s perfect contemplation music that can be surprisingly effective in the club, given the right DJ.
I should probably preface this section on Dark0’s Solace EP by stating that it ISN’T grime. He’s been amply clear about that and the release’s focus on hip-hop tempo rhythms and “Suicideyear” proves his point. That’s all fine by me, since every tune on here keeps what was best about Dark0’s previous music—his love of melody, synthetic texture and emotional resonance—while giving it a newfound room to breathe. “Abrasion” is cloud rap amplified, and sounds a hell of a lot better than anything on the last A$AP Rocky album, while Fuschia sounds like a descendant of Ruff Sqwad’s romantic leanings rather than a simple copy.
It’s “The Past” that’s the true standout for me however: a beatless melody straight out of an untranslated Dreamcast JRPG or a Twin Peaks side project, except this time Dark0’s not sampling a pre-existing game.
Finally, last month saw a couple of hardcore bangers released as well, the perfect compliment to more abstract releases covered above. Durkle Disco dropped Hustlin’ by Daffy and Unkey and honestly, it’s one of those pieces of music that doesn’t require some writer pontificating on it in great detail. Simply put: it’s a dark, banging grime beat called “Hustlin’ ” with THAT Rick Ross sample, and it’s made by two lads called Daffy and Unkey. It’s exactly what you think it is, and I’ll probably be DJing it for the next six months.
Equally banging is Zha’s “Southhampton Lengman,” which comes with a bevy of remixes, each ‘arder than the next. It’s tough competition but badman in chief Trends wins the day with a version that’s practically all drums and bass pulses, stripping things down to the essential. Expect my new mix to be heavy on this sound.
Till’ next month…