Son Raw punches the beat pad like he’s trying to get a UFC contract.
Equiknoxx thrive on subverting expectations, whether that’s quoting Biggie over a twisted take on Brooklyn techno, zeroing in on forgotten moments in musical history, or delivering abstract instrumentals that don’t quite fit the boxes listeners try to place them in. They’ve also got a history that goes far deeper than what their Discogs page might imply, having grown from producers for hire to some of dancehall’s fiercest to experimental artists with the freedom to pursue their muses down increasingly wooly paths. Crew founder Gavsborg’s Kevin From Ivory Coast and Quality Time Sound System are two such explorations, born from a ‘meme off’, voice notes, tweets, and a Jamaican Kumina Ceremony.
Though among their most hip-hop influenced work so far, Kevin From the Ivory Coast nevertheless lands in the genre’s furthest reaches, with opener “Did Not Make This For Jah-9” sounding closer to a spoken word interlude than a proper rhyme. “Earth & Clan” meanwhile, makes good on claims the project was influenced by 90’s rap mix shows, with an incessant horn loop colliding with more modern 808s. It’s “Overboard,” the final track, that comes closest to hip-hop however, if by hip-hop you mean classic Flying Lotus parsed through the lens of a pop culture mischief-maker. Named after a metalwork statue gifted to the group by an Ivorian artist, and exploring the spaces in between Black American, Caribbean and African art, Kevin From Ivory Coast is a strange project, but definitely one worthy of your Bandcamp bucks.
Closer to the dance music Equiknoxx is known for, while simultaneously their biggest stretch yet, Quality Time Sound System meets at the intersection of live Jamaican drumming and the early development of NYC House Music, specifically, the deep and dubby records put out by dancehall veteran Bobby Konders in the late 80s and early 90s. Chugging along at a leisurely 115 BPM, the track imagines an alternative vision of “dub techno” with a greater emphasis on the dub, and a looser, more improvisational approach towards the mechanistic forward drive of 4X4 music, augmented by plenty of live flourishes. It’s the sort of track made for those early morning DJ sets, when the hype and energy of peak time has dissipated into the liminal space between night and dawn, when the party’s survivors are at their deepest and most open minded.