Son Raw can’t figure out of this column is monthly or bi-weekly.
No intros needed, you know the drill – nothing but the freshest Grime and Bass music to have dropped over the past couple of weeks.
First up, two Boxed cofounders have signed very different records to their respective labels. Mattwizard’s Mathematical EP comes courtesy of Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper imprint and it’s just as unexpected and genre-bending as last month’s Fountains single from Strictface, albeit in an almost opposite way. Inspired by early 80s boogie funk, tracks like the slyly titled Judge Reinhold (Seen above) are just as much about the high-end keyboard jams as they are about London’s usual bassweight, making them must-hears for fans of Dam Funk, oldschool Herbie Hancock, and any other music made for cruising around LA in a drop top with dice hanging off the mirror. Grime wise, the closest comparison is Swindle, but without the wobbling riffage and with an extra dose of melody for good measure.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Slackk’s Sulk project is dropping a 4 track EP from Sirpixalot and it’s about as hardcore and no-frills as Grime gets. Alternating between 8 bar Bass patterns and a euphoric melody, lead track Brazil would fit comfortably in a Slimzee set from 10 years ago, but the added percussive power updates the formula for emcee-free times. Fist of the North Star and Police Brutality are even more stripped down, using little more than drums, bass blasts and well placed vocal samples to tear up the dance. Hardly home-listening material, but in the club? – Deadly. Finally, Submarine chills things down a notch, a mode Pixalot is equally comfortable in. For more proof, check out his excellent D’Eon remix. Yes, D’Eon remade as Grime. I didn’t believe it either.
Further afield, Australian producer Airmax’97 has a new EP on Liminal Sounds that alternates between the experimental and the functional. Lead track Progress and Memory is a lurching, stumbling, triplet infused bit of Bass music that holds the rare distinction of not quite sounding like anything else out there at the moment. Somehow stitching together Deep Medi and Teklife drum patterns on top of some seriously purple synths, it’s the kind of outsider approach may not fit into every mix, but that makes for a track that’s compulsively listenable all the way through. The rest of the EP, including a banging remix by Neana, trends closer to the post-Nightslugs Jersey/Baltimore hybrids currently being pushed by Her Records, Gang Fatale andGoon Club Allstars, and I can see all of them sending crowds into spasms. Airmax’97 also went in on Tropical Waste’s NTS show last week – stick around until the end for a killer back-to-back set featuring Airmax, Seb, Iydes, Sam Elsewhere and myself as well.
Finally, Manchester’s Samename has been lighting up the blogs for a minute now thanks to his ultra hi-definition Japanese-influenced Bass music but he’s just now releasing Yume, his official debut. While the tracks all vary in style, from a chilled out reimagining of Ironsoul’s Chinese Water to stark, minimalist Grime to faster Footwork influenced material, the common thread throughout is a dedication to neon colored synths and explicitly Asian melodies. While way too much has been said about Sinogrime recently, Samename is one of the rare producers who truly makes the style his own, transcending constraints without the intellectual baggage that has sunk some recent attempts at the style. The key is in his sound quality: his music doesn’t simply evoke an imaginary Japan through pentatonic scale, but also through the digital vastness that’s become so essential to a foreign understanding of the country.
Last word from the mix department: Rabit, Logos, Parris and Mumdance have all dropped hours of music worth your time and attention, and Tuesday’s exclusive Tom Lea mix has gotten a great reaction. New Passion of the Weiss Grime mix series in the works? Watch this space.