Missives from the intersection of rave, hip hop, dancehall and the infinite cosmos...
Theo Parrish – Footwork
If ever there was a track that’d get me back on the ‘erb ( 3 years clean and loving it ma!) it’d be this shuffler from Parrish – for a start, the bassline reminds me of smoking, jazzy steppers Roni Size used to trade in. There’s also a whole lot of space for your head to go trip trapping off into the infinite – the track isn’t much more than that timeless bassline, some warm chords, a few string samples, a looping vocal, and a live rhythm section of hand claps and snaps to move things forward – the breathing room between these carefully deployed elements are where the magic happens... The cheap date within me wants to hear some deep kick drum bursting in half way through, but he’s a sucker who's probably missing the point.
Young Dolph – Cross Country Trapping
Next up, the new Young Dolph mixtape is all kinds of everything. Dolph is an unsigned Memphis rapper who’s building an empire with a series of increasingly hyped mixtapes. The current offering, ‘Cross Country Trapping’, is a lean 10 tracks long, fat stripped to leave nothing but essentials - chest rattling 808s, hazy sunstroke synth lines, and Dolph’s languid deep South drawl. Dolph himself seems like a pretty good kid; footage in his recent DVD of him giving cash out to kids in his hood came across as pretty genuine rather than contrived, and his tails of the trials of the Memphis hood are on point, without relying on the bullshit glamour that, say, fat clown Rick Ross laces his imaginary thug stories with. ‘Cross Country Trapping’ is pretty much all stand out moments, but my current favourite track is the utterly mournful blues of the Gucci Mane & Young Thug collabo ‘Put Yr Hands Up’. There is literally no way Dolph won't be signed by the end of 2014 - unless of course he wants to keep on going it alone..
iMarkkeyz owns Jersey Club
Sticking with the US, but on a very (very) different tip, I give you Jersey Club insanity from iMarkkeyz. In some ways Jersey Club is the perfect 21st Century genre – it’s made up of samples from whatever pop culture shit’s trending, the tracks are super short (like less than 2 minutes is fairly common), and a whole subsection of the scene – known as Booty Bass Music, or #BBM- is centred round functional music, designed to soundtrack dance routines, often for the 6 second burst of a Vine clip. Everything is based round instant impact, constant sample repetition, and sub knackering kick drums. Unsurprisingly this makes a lot of Jersey Club fucking obnoxious, potentially irritating in the extreme, and completely alienating to any ‘serious’ dance music fans. Personally I take all that as more reason to love it – it’s cheap, nasty, punk as you like, and it has a symbiotic relationship with its dancing audience that’s often lost in the current house scene. Anyway, back to iMarkkeyz – he’s churning out an endless stream of top remixes – this week saw him raise the tempo of the DJ Mustard produced ‘2 On’, following head smacking re works of the likes of TLC and Future. Only for the brave…
LAX ft Wizkid – Ginger
This afrobeats number is the first track I’ve heard that draws direct inspiration from Davido’s massive Skelewu – and I think we can expect a fair few more of these over coming months. LAX and Wizkid have worked together before – they teamed up on last years killer ‘Caro,’ making numerous best of the year lists. The Legendury Beats produced ‘Ginger’ is more dancefloor goodness, existing in a particularly heavy place somewhere between South African kwaito and Naijabeats autotuned melody. Apparently the girl LAX is singing to – Belinda - makes him ‘go ginger.’ There is, alas, no mention of whether he also loses his soul in the process.
*LATE EDITION* Trim - Vending Machine
Just as I'd uploaded this weeks Street Sounds, I noticed that the ever excellent Trim had a new track out. Turns out that it's his best for some time, boding well for the album, which he recently claimed would have no choruses and no guest appearances. It sounds like he's sticking to his guns - Vending Machine is 4 minutes of pure Trim stream of consciousness, rolling round the idea of buying a mini Trim from a vending machine, and seeing where it takes him. There's no chorus, and no hook, just a constant river of words over Harmonic 313's low slung beats. Quality.
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