Son Raw’s August Instrumental Grime Wrap-Up

Rabid, Rico Dan, Famous Eno, Lil JaBBa, and Detboi. Son Raw takes you through the best of August.
By    August 27, 2015


Son Raw with the audio siracha

It’s the dog days of summer and all hell’s about to break loose release-wise, given that every producer and their mum is prepping marketing plans for their album. That doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty to dig into this month, though.

First up, legendary Ruff Sqwad producer Rapid made his eagerly anticipated Butterz debut this month with a self titled EP that sees his smash “Pepper Riddim” pressed to wax. The track, which fueled this year’s war of words between Chip and pretty much everybody else, proved the veteran hadn’t missed a step, merging dramatic strings and trancy synths to a hi-definition orchestral palette.

The rest of the EP continues to update the traditional Ruff Sqwad M.O: loopy beats to shell to, complete with hard basslines and uptempo drum breaks. It’s probably the most conventional grime EP Butterz has ever put out, which somehow means it’s… unconventional? As a bonus, look out for Riko Dan’s devastating “Ghost Chili” vocal – an unreleased gem that’s easily the best “Pepper Riddim” version.

Manchester party/label/good time in the making/ Swing Ting may have officially launched their imprint less than a year ago but they’ve rapidly amassed a catalog full of banging UK club music, merging dancehall energy into up & coming styles.

Longtime associate Famous Eno’s “Jaws Riddim” continues their streak in a tough, martial stylee: those snares and horns are straight militarized soca and the track packs enough sub-bass to kill a hippo (or shark for that matter). I wish there was a B-side, possibly a vocal by Serocee, but when a beat is so hot, you can’t complain.

Lil Jabba’s a name that I haven’t written about yet, but it’s high time I showed the Local Action vet some love. While Jabba’s previous work has leaned heavily on footwork mutations, the Keep double-EP sees him open his style up to straight up hip-hop and grime influences without losing sight of what made his stuff so unique in the first place. In fact, the added space in between the beats actually lets the gorgeous synth melodies and atmospheres in music breathe, and makes the hyper speed stuff, like jungle banger Waila sound even more forceful in comparison.

Recommended if you like futuristic space music with as much detail in the high end as the low.

Keysound has long shown a reverence for classic jungle while also keeping a healthy distance from established drum and bass conventions, so it’s no surprise that they’ve recently released music that explicitly merges classic Metalheadz sonics to contemporary frameworks.

Following mutations by Etch and Sully, Detboi’s debut Scatter EP might be Keysound’s heaviest nod to jungle yet, flipping Amen’ breaks at the leisurely 130BPM that’s become the label’s signature. Better yet, while a lot of “Future Jungle” (I’ll try to never use that phrase ever again, I swear) feels a bit rebore, every track here manages to capture the rush and intensity of full-on drum & bass while sticking to speeds that allow for garage’s swing and space. See also: Etch and K-Lone’s latest 12’’ on Wisdom Teeth, an even slower and lower exploration of dark junglist dynamics.

Finally, this month’s Bandcamp pick comes courtesy of Invader Spade, a producer who caught my eye last January courtesy of Slackk’s “Solid Steel” mix. Since then, he’s kept busy by releasing tracks and edits across a few key compilations by Blacklink and Grime Disciple, but Invasion Level 1 is his first full release, and it’s a banger.

While a ton of grime focuses on gnarly electronic textures, Invader Spade’s clearly a lover of classic soul and hip-hop, and he’s got a particular deference for Madlib, chopping up the California native’s psych-soul into micro edits on “Fallin’.” “Jungle{ is another highlight, reprising Drake’s ballad but (crucially for most people reading this column) omitting Drake. It’s a warm, inviting release and I have no doubt we’ll be hearing more of Invader Spade on radio and on larger labels, soon.

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