Son Raw needs no introduction.
The days are hot, everyone’s listening to Afrobeats, but there’s plenty of weird instrumental madness to keep your crates moving at 140BPM. Fire when ready.
Mumdance & Logos
First up, in a tremendous bit of news, Mumdance and Logos have made their entire Different Circles catalog available for digital download, after previously operating on extremely limited vinyl runs. Considering I never managed to write about future classic singles like “Glass” and “Kazzt” before the wax sold out, this seems like a good opportunity to emphasize how well the label has curated its selection of dark, weird, mostly analogue music.
Along with the digital launch, the duo have also delivered a new single. The aptly titled “FFS” was featured on last year’s label mix CD, but hearing the track in its entirety really emphasizes how far the duo’s weightless aesthetic has come in just a few years. Far from a techno devil mix, the track turns conventions inside out, opening with a barrage of kicks before dropping the bottom out from under the listener. For my money though, b-side “BMT” is the banger: a post-techno hellstorm of haunting bells, pulsating kicks, and kitchen sink bass that’ll separate the weak from the willing. Top gear.
Trends & Boylan
Trends and Boylan absolutely owned 2016 with “Norman Bates,” easily the year’s biggest and baddest grime riddim, so further collaboration was a given. Building on that track’s cinematic appeal, “Untouchable” is like a big budget Hollywood sequel, full of explosions and digital luster with even more Hitchcock strings and Hip Hop samples for the faithful. The two then spend the rest of the 12″ expanding their horizons beyond that signature sound: “Crunch” is ravey grime at its most energetic and “Ryme Tyme” pushes the heaviness threshold to the limit of what’s socially acceptable—just where you want it. Fuck Michael Bay, this does the trick nicely.
Night Slugs co-founder Bok Bok doesn’t release music very often and it can vary from sweltering house to frigid grime, so it’s hard to get an exact handle on where he’s at during any given moment. For his latest missive, he’s firmly in the latter camp but with an added twist: the tracks were processed using classic 12-bit samplers, adding a key extra layer of grit to the proceedings that create that all important “vibe” that too many current grime tracks lack. “Island Hopping” is easy-going R&G for the club crowd, but that’s just a warm up for “Salvage Lurking” and “Already Know,” absolutely frosty numbers that would fit in seamlessly in a 2003 N.A.S.T.Y Crew set. Throw in an atmospheric closer in “PR Drawbridge” and you’ve got a complete EP that points towards a way forward amidst today’s glut of ‘just OK’ grime track.
Finally, Coyote Records has carved out and increasingly minimal nocturnal sound, one that acts as a unifying thread throughout the label’s output, and Marks’ debut with the imprint continues stretching it beyond grime’s confines. Title track “Drain” is capital-T Trap, operating in the same twitchy space as Metro Boomin or the type of riddim emcees like AJ Tracey are riding, while “South Cold” keeps the hi hats ticking but only to power a funerary dirge of a melody that’s just as goth as it is urban. Things veer a bit more eski with “Lantern” and EP highlight “Dash,” and the overall vibe shows a producer confident in multiple spaces and a label expansive enough to accommodate them all. As a bonus, Coyote-veteran Spokes also delivers a highly cinematic experimental remix to “Drain,” that veers from chilliness to grandiose overload.