Slackk – Golden era grime Tape; a reflection


?Grime is in a funny old place at the moment. Its safe to say that the golden age of the genre has well and truly passed, with the originators of the genre long-since leaving the streets behind to chase chart success and shit collaborations with Calvin Harris. What began as a primal outpouring of disillusionment from the disenfranchised youth of inner-city Britain rapidly lost momentum. As is often the case, once popularity had reached a critical mass, the money started rolling in and dilution was inevitable. The momentum and intensity waned, leading to a market crash that seemed irretrievable. Dubstep subsequently took over as the urban (cringe) sound of Britain and life went on 

But, as the old clich goes, trends move in cycles, and the past year or two has seen a definite resurgence in quality grime thanks to the continued efforts of the likes of Elijah & Skilliam and Logos, as well as the newcomers such as Moleskin and his Goon Club All Stars. Of course, a categoric summary of everyone thats made an impact on this new wave of grime is entirely pointless and ultimately futile, but one figure that has to be up there with the most important is Paul Lynch, AKA Slackk. With a slew of top quality releases and a reputation as one of the most talented DJs around, I was understandably excited by the announcement of his Golden Era Grime Tape in the dying embers of 2013.

As the name suggests, Lynch plumbs the depths of his collection of dubplates and limewire rips (naturally) to construct a mix in honour of a time when grime was played in youth clubs rather than nightclubs. Im not going to pretend I was present at the original Eskimo Raves (I think a pre-pubescent middle-class kid from the suburbs might have stood out somewhat), so smashing this out at full volume is probably the nearest Im going to get.

With unerring intensity, Slackk whips through a heady mix of the skeletal pulse of Eski beat, neck-snapping percussion and more violin-centric melodies than I care to mention. Cerebral stuff it isnt, but its difficult not to get caught up in the rush. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that, for all its simplicity, the vast majority of the material still sounds fresh today, abandoning the chin-stroking tendencies of the modern day electronic music aficionado in favour of the musical equivalent of a kick in the bollocks. The resonating originality of the grime movement is difficult to deny after this white-knuckle whistle-stop tour.

For all of its strengths though, one cant help but wonder what damage would be done if this was a bona-fide live set, with MCs in tow. Then again, that may slightly overshadow the intention of the mixtape, to show case the strength and effectiveness of the instrumentals in their own right. Whilst the egos of those holding the mic often took centre-stage, Slackks rejection of this admittedly pivotal element of the genre shines a new light on it, allowing it to flourish in an environment where the majority of the originators either languish in either a prison cell or gold-plated Jacuzzi.

Clocking in at 85-minutes Slackk does a majestic job of holding the listeners attention, with the mix rarely letting up. Carefully crafted with a meticulously weighted ebb and flow, the tape showcases the dynamics of grime to maximum effect as it was originally intended to be heard. The only true downside (at least for youngerz such as I) is a lack of a tracklist. I guess its time to get back on Grime Forum to chase down those IDs.

Buy the tape over at Boomkat

Patrick Henderson