Son Raw is jetlagged.
Do not adjust your monitors – I’m actually posting on Passion of the Weiss again, much to the chagrin of those who hate Grime music and to the joy and/or slight interest of those who do. Having spent the past three months abroad with little to no access to new music, I’ve spent the past couple of days on a massive downloading binge to make up for lost time and have whittled the first half of 2013 down to these essential releases. It’s been an interesting year so far.
- First up, Royal-T dropped an all Eskibeat mix live on Rinse FM. A Grime micro-genre built around de-tuned squarewave synth lines and cold, mechanical atmospheres, the Eskibeat sound has found its way into a number of contemporary tunes so this is an excellent primer for those who missed the original sound in 2002-2004. Royal-T also released his second single on Rinse Recordings, featuring the exceptional “I Know You Want Me.”
- Skream went all House music on us and dropped a mix with Pete Tong and Benga dropped an album that was just a bit too hi-def for its own good. Both moves were awkward and nobody was really happy. They still played their standard brand of Dubstep live when I caught them in Bangkok a few weeks ago, so maybe we can all pretend this never happened.
- Terror Danjah’s Harddrive records released its first compilation, Hardwired, to relatively little acclaim – Hell, I can’t find a full review online. It actually features some strong material, tracks by Champion, DOK and P-Jam are particular highlights, but about half the tracks were previously released, not a good look in today’s low-attention-span online market place. Still, worth a look for beat heads and Butterz fans suffering withdrawal.
- Speaking of Butterz, they released their first single in quite a while – Flava D’s Hold On/Whoa. Both tracks are infectious, colourful UKG pastiches aimed squarely at the dance floor. With America currently rebelling against “molly” and the prefab EDM sound invading the radio, artists should consider this kind of material as a comfortable way forward combining modern dance sensibilities and soulful swing…
- Amit’s “Acid Trip”, a long awaited release in dungeon Dubstep circles, finally saw the light of day on Tempa records. Combining squelching 303s to layers upon layers of sub-low pressure, the track is probably the biggest and best full-on Dubstep track in ages. Highly recommended.
- Deep Medi records released James Blake’s refix of Mala’s changes. It was more interesting than his sophomore album. Meanwhile his partner in London club night System, V.I.V.E.K launched his label of the same name with the cavernous Asteroids/Over My Head.
Pearson Sound dropped an incredible mix on Resident Advisor and a new 4 track EP showcasing his latest broken techno excursions. Both are absolutely confounding on first listen but in an impressive mind-fuck sort of way.
- Bristol’s Young Echo collective saw some major releases. Rising star Kahn dropped a self titled EP updating his city’s tradition of greyscale beats and melancholy. Combining dancefloor production techniques to traditional songwriting, the record evokes Massive Attack and Tricky at their best. Meanwhile, Punch Drunk records came back in a major way after an extended absense, releasing fellow collective member Zhou’s Locust Tree, a haunting piece of middle eastern psychedelia.
Finally, Grime label No Hats No Hoods re-released DJ Eastwood’s long lost U Ain’t Ready riddim and Northern revivalist Slackk dove into orientalist sounds on the Minor triads EP.