I love walking on a clear, bright Winter's day. Not walking to go anywhere, just walking for the sake of it, becoming part of the landscape and taking the time to really appreciate the surroundings. Had a bit of a Psychbloke moment recently, when overtaken by a strong urge to photograph the latest piece of graffiti at the local skatepark (see above). Not bad, I guess...about as good as the kidz in my 'hood get. But enough of this nonsense, it's time for...
b0a - Big Block (dub)
Headhunter - Sleepwalker (dub)
Skream - Hag (Tempa)
Dev 79 - From The Get (Slit Jockey)
Waifer - Fire Rmx (Slew Dem Productions)
Jammer - Murkle Man [instrumental rmx] (promo)
Wiley - Carnival (Southside)
Newham Generals (Footsie) - Dirtee Skankin (Dirtee Stank)
Blackmass Plastics - Sickostep (Dirty Needles)
Search & Destroy - Candy Floss [Loefah Rmx] (Hotflush)
Darquan - Bigga Times (Storming Productions)
Chris Clark - Urgent Jell Hack (Warp)
Spank Rock - Backyard Betty (Big Dada)
Jimmy Edgar - Semi Erotic (Warp)
Omen - Frontline (forthcoming on Tectonic)
Moving Ninja - Uranium (dub)
Quite a few different flavaz this time. As usual there's all the latest grime and dubstep releases bought at Rooted last month, plus I popped into DSWAT HQ for a cup of tea and a chat with Armin and grabbed a couple of things there too, including a various artists EP from the Dirty Needles label, which I haven't seen mentioned anywhere. I was particularly taken by the Blackmass Plastics track - a filthy, pulverised little halfstepper called "Sickostep", but there's also some ruff breaks material from Warlock and The Dexorcist, plus a fucked-up 2-stepper from the wonderfully named DJ Controlled Weirdness. Check it!
Armin's also stocking the Slit Jockey mixtape and 7" single, the A side of which, produced by Dev 79, is a manifesto for the Philadelphia grime scene. It's interesting to hear American Mc's, if not actually going all-out Anglophile, then at least acknowledging, and maybe even emulating their British counterparts. US rap and hip hop is such an institution that its hard to believe that the flow of influence could travel the other way too, but here's some early proof. Sorry to Dev for pitching his track down to -7, but it was the only way I could figure to mix it with the UK stuff.
Another possible example of grime infiltrating hip hop came in the shape of a four-track promo from Spank Rock, a Baltimore-based hiphop duo who's debut album, called "Yoyoyoyoyo", is due for release by Big Dada on April 10th. Along with Missy Elliott, 2Live Crew and The Beastie Boys, Spank Rock also cite Dizzie Rascal as an influence, and you can sort of hear that coming through with the grimey electronic beats and synths. But they also draw much from hip hop's rich past too, particularly from the '80s old skool (my favourite era) creating something that is both familiar and satisfyingly fresh. "Backyard Betty" has apparently been a 'white label smash', and I'm rather taken with it myself!
Another surprise in the post was "Throttle Furniture", the new 3" CD from Chris Clark (now called simply 'Clark'), available exclusively at Warpmart. His last longplayer, 2003's "Empty The Bones Of You", was a bit of a masterpiece in my humble opinion, displaying the sort of mature, intricately textured production and deep emotional impact that I always thought Aphex Twin should be doing these days. For this new release (a taster for his forthcoming album) I detect a slightly more playful approach, from the opening cyberdelic waltz of "Herr Bar", the brash, bouncy dischord of "Re-Scar Kiln", the headlong breaks carnage of "Urgent Jell Hack" and the twee synthpop melodies of "Frau Wave". The disc finishes with a beautiful ambient dreamscape called "Dusk Swells", rounding off an excellent display of Chris' formidable production skills that will certainly appeal to anyone who still likes a bit of 'propa' electronica.
On the dubz front, this month's show opens with a lush little slice of watery dubwise electronica from b0a. I haven't really got much to tell you about him, other than he's based in the States somewhere and he sometimes posts on the Dubstep forum. This track appeared in my inbox a couple of months ago and I find it very agreeable. Then there's a track from up-and-coming Bristolian dubstepper Headhunter, who I particularly wanted to feature as he's making his debut on the decks at Dubloaded this month. Anyone in the area who likes what they hear make sure to check him out on the night (full details to follow).
There's also a preview of the next Tectonic release - a three track EP from Manchester's Omen, scheduled to drop later this month. Omen will also be playing out in Bristol this month as part of Noir's big Tectonic special, which looks unmissable. Nearly all the artists released on the label so far - Loefah, Skream, Pinch, Cyrus and Omen - will be performing. Of course there is one notable exception: Moving Ninja. Unfortunately there just ain't enough money in it to justify flying Jabber over from Australia for the event, although I'm sure he'll be with us in spirit. Coincidently, I received a cd-r from Jabber just this week full of excellent tracks. Let's hope someone starts releasing them soon cos he's a wicked producer. I'll definitely be featuring some of these on future mixes, but for now the show closes with the beautiful spectral ambiance of "Uranium".