Son Raw stay working like Future
Between the second Boxed Boiler Room, newcomers like Indecent LDN celebrating their first birthday, and more radio than a working man can reasonably be expected to listen to, it’s grime overload around these parts. To quote Aubrey, What a time to be alive.
Topping up this month’s wrap up, Butterz follows Royal-T’s smash “Shotta” single with a remix pack surveying the wider grime universe. While the label is best known for colorful, club-centric material, “Shotta” was an extra dark reminder that they could compete with grime at its most banging, and apart from a brilliantly silky TQD remix of “Limbo,” these mixes push that aesthetic even further. Kahn & Neek’s version is the one you’ve been hearing in sets, twisting the original ever so slightly to fit their stone faced, bass heavy aesthetic. The real standout however is Wen’s psychedelic, 11 minute excursion into the mind of madness. It’s a complete head trip that stays interesting the entire way through, and it genuinely breaks new ground without losing the original’s essential griminess. It’ll take a brave DJ to drop this one, but it’s perfect for long walks in the rain.
Next up, Local Action’s Finn returns to the label with “Knock Knock,” continuing to build on his sample-heavy aesthetic. I’ve already discussed his Faultz colabration “Iya” in my vocal wrap up, but the rest of the EP is just as worth a look. Sticking to his sound but expanding its shape past grime and into US club influenced territory, Finn’s the rare producer who can nail this sort of fusion aesthetic without things sounding forced. Standout “Coming 2 U” for instance, sounds like a classic MF DOOM sped up to dance tempos, and how often do you hear that these days? Meanwhile, “Finn Theme” ends up reminding me of the Secret of Mana’s soundtrack, a totally left field reference for dance music, but one that still makes total sense. A definite must-have for the dance floor.
Another Different Circles single, another release that’s sold out before I get a chance to cover it. Needless to say, Rabit’s on the verge of blowing up with his Tri Angle debut, but those in the know have been salivating over “Tearz”–a horror themed slice of headfuckery paying tribute to classic John Carpenter and slurry southern hip-hop in equal measure. It’s one of those tracks that’ll stay powerful long after the hype dissipates, and I look forward to dropping it at Halloween bashes for years to come. On the flip, heavily underrated Aussie Strict Face unleashes “Into Stone” one of his most in demand dubs, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The press release compares it to XTC’s “Funktions on the Low” (bold move!) but for my money, the key reference points are JRPGs and Anime soundtracks, scores that revel in huge chords and hyper emotional content. Gaze upon those SoundCloud links and weep at what you’ve missed.
Gundam is the exception to the rule. While usually I frown upon producers making a come up out of remixes/refixes of other people’s materials, the guy’s just got an incredible knack for flipping a sample or reconfiguring drum patterns for maximum impact. I’ve had a pack of his dubs for just over a year now and I’ve yet to see a crowd not lose their shit to his “Nights Alone” flip and when I caught Slackk and Mitch at Boxed, his tunes made for standout moments. He’s recently suffered the bane of all producers, a tragic hard drive crash, but his loss is your gain as he’s gifted the world a bunch of material that won’t see the light of day officially, via his Bandcamp. Standouts include takes on Mumdance & Logos, Maniac, and some tasty originals flipping Indian/Nepali samples.
If you’re a fan of Swindle, Joker, Silkie, or even Californian funkateer Dam Funk, you owe it to yourself to check out Mattwizard. The latest in a long line of producers updating and upgrading the sounds of George Clinton, Roger Troutman and Rick James for a new generation, his music blends the warmth and soul of that era to the gut damaging basslines and drums of grime and dubstep, and it’s a great combination. His debut LP Phone Home is also a big move for Philly’s Slit Jockey records, just in time for the label’s 10th Anniversary. In a year where more producers than ever are drawing for full length statements, this one’s a gem worth exploring, particularly for listeners who like their electronic music a little more human.
Last but not least, Spooky delivers this month’s all out club banger of choice with “Bun Fire” on Project All Out, complete with a bevy of remixes. I won’t spend 200 words describing this one: all you need to know is that the sawlines are buzzing, the drums bang, and Trends’ flip will make even the most hardened American dubstep fan piss himself. It’s that ‘ard.