11 September 2005


Another damn fine evening at the second Ruffnek Diskotek last night, where we were treated to another set from local 16-year-old wunderkind DJ Joker and his crew. Full-on bad bwoy grimey bizzness, Bristol style! I'm not gonna say too much else about him for now, cos hopefully he's gonna be putting together a special mix for me soon. The Joker don't talk much, but he doesn't need to, cos his partner MC Shadz does all the talking for him! Seems like the crew are up for the idea and will record a mix, complete with MCs, exclusively for Gutterbreakz at some point in the near future. Stay tuned...

Next up, Monkey Steak rocked the house with their Grim laptop set, dropping some seriously lean, punchy wobble-bass riddims, with digi-skank and bollywood soundtrack overtones that've got me drooling for their forthcoming Werk Discs EP. They applied just the right amount of splatterbeat trickery as punctuation, ensuring the grooves stayed innovative yet still solid enough to keep the crowd moving. Atki2 was the consummate head-nodder, barely looking up from his Traktor software, whilst Hanuman was a bit of a showman - bouncing around behind the mixer in true beardy-weirdy-mentalist-raver style. But that was just the first half of their set. Things got truly sublime when guest MC Miss Rennee Silver (as featured in Atki2's mix last week) took the mic. Over a shit storm of Monkey beats and microphonic feedback, she proceeded to teach the kidz a lesson in the fine art of freestyle MCing, barely pausing for breath as she unleashed a bewildering speed-rap assault that had my jaw on the floor and my heart bursting out of my chest. Yes, I've fallen in love with MC Renee. A member of the audience challenged her to make a rhyme about chess, which she actually pulled-off. Then she asked the rest of the crowd to fire twenty random words at her, which she wrote down on her note pad and then proceeded to use as the basis of her next rhyme, which again she improvised without so much as a single stutter. I swear I was getting a bit tearful about the whole thing. I'd forgotten how exciting this type of MCing can be, and I think I've written before how I've always had a fondness for the lady rappers. She had the kind of gutsy delivery I used to admire in Roxanne Shante, my favourite female mc from the '80s, but with a London accent of course. Later on, after their set, I spotted Atki2 deep in conversation with DJ Pinch in the corridor outside. I wonder what Bristol's premier Grim and Dubstep exponents were talking about?

The evening was rounded off with a wicked bashment/dancehall set from Ruffnek-high priest Tim 'Dub Boy' Rayner back to back with Henry (Turbo Dominator, Heatwave) and Top Secret (aka Krys Forensics) providing some 'have-a-go' MCing - a true jack of all trades, eh Krys? Interesting to note that Tim kicked off his set with Monkey Steak's "Ruff Ting King" (that's the track on the 'bar code' side of Grim Dubs Vol.1). Having heard it in Monkey's set just beforehand, it really was struck home to me how much more powerful Tim's 12 inch copy sounded, compared to the 'live' laptop version. It just goes to show you - at least in terms of soundsytem requirements - that even the highest quality digital media cannot compete with properly mastered vinyl. Fact.

It seems there are several places in Bristol where you can get dubplates cut now. There's one somewhere on Stokes Croft where you can get a two-sided, ever-lasting plastic dubplate cut for 25 quid (although if you asked Loefah about that, he'd tell you plastic dubs are shit, and only proper metal acetates can truly give you the full sound quality!) But I'm quite tempted to give it a try. Not so much for my own stuff, but for some of the unreleased material from other artists I'm sitting on. The fact is, I've managed to blag a dj slot for the next Ruffneck Diskotek on 6th October (back at Timbuk2, where they've secured a monthly residency) and I'd quite like to play out a few tunes from some of the unsigned artists I've been featuring on GutterFM. They don't seem to bother with CD turntables at these events, so I'd have to cut some dubs if I wanted to play 'em. Problem is, a lot of these tunes I've only got in MP3 format and it would seem a bit daft trying to cut a decent dub from a basic 192kbps file. I shall have to have a think about this...

Speaking of dubs, Pinch, Loefah etc, I was amazed to receive a cd-r in the post last week containing the next two releases from DJ Pinch's Tectonic imprint. You might recall I wrote about TEC001 a few months ago - the excellent collaboration between Pinch and P.Dutty. The second release, a three-track EP from Australian dubstep pioneers Moving Ninja is out now, and it's great - check the generous selection of MP3s at their website for proof. Pinch must be commended for his commitment to putting out tunes from relatively unknown artist like this, although by contrast TEC003 is gonna be one of the biggest releases from two of the biggest names in the scene. It's a collaboration between Loefah and Skream. The a-side will be "28 Grams", as featured on Youngsta's "Dubstep Allstars Vol.2" mix, and it's one of the heaviest half-step anthems on the planet right now. But wait till you hear the flip! "Fearless" is absolutely essential - a stripped-back landscape of dread bass pressure, ominous atmospherics and metallic, reverb-drenched percussion that's got me completely spooked-out. Dubstep at it's darkest and deadliest. Not sure when the exact release date is yet, but fear not - I'm on the case. TEC004 will be a four-track EP from Random Trio, who I first wrote about back in January with their "Lost City" EP. Another excellent selection of tracks, but I'll write about that a bit nearer release date.