Missives from the intersection of rave, hip hop, dancehall and the infinite cosmos
Flowdan - Serious Business EP
After getting all misty eyed over grime classics last week, this week I’m coming bang up to date with a new EP from a grime veteran who’s relentlessly stuck to his (no doubt semi-automatic) guns – Flowdan. The former Roll Deep man has been lacing grime with Jamaican patois since the early noughties, and thank fuck – especially considering the success his contemporary Doctor has gained jumping on a bait poppy drum & bass bandwagon - he’s in no hurry to switch styles soon. His latest EP on Hyperdub is proper heads down hoods up gun finger gear – my favourite cut on the 4 track being the closer, ‘No Gyal Tune’, where Dan insists that his sound system will never ever spoil the sheer fucking relentlessness of an ideal rave by playing ‘gyal tune’. Funnily enough, of all the tracks on the EP, this is one I can most imagine girl’s shacking out to. He might have shot himself in the foot a bit there. Still, it’s fucking heavy, go and buy it to terrify your neighbours/ the old bill/ gyals.
Available on digi from the mighty Hyperdub now – I think vinyl is out in a week tho wax addicts, so maybe hold tight til then.
Maxwell D – Shuffle In A Rave
Sticking with the grime theme, there’s been activity from Flowdan’s former production partner, Maxwell D. Max has taken a different path to Dan, constantly switching sound to work with whatever tempo is currently running the rave, and liberally pissing off purists in the process. From winding up the UK Funky scene by turning a Lil Silva beat into ‘Blackberry Hype’ to committing house sacrilege by voicing ‘Au Seve’, Max clearly a) doesn’t give a shit and b) loves it. I missed this one from him first time round– it came out in April - but one listen tells me it’s a flipping banger. The video’s not the most bling, but I doubt he’s got any record label backing him, so forget the visuals and just enjoy the glee of it all. ‘I’m like keep your views,’ he raps, sounding like South Park’s Cartman airdropped into Eski Dance… There’s a free download to a whole album worth of vocal shuffler tunes in the Youtube description, and I’m not ashamed to say I love it from start to finish. You can forget your epic, minutely produced Aus Music chin strokers mate, all I want to do is SHUFFLE IN A RAVE
DJ Milktray – Functions on the Low Remix
It looks like I’m actually getting some sort of theme this week. Wow.
I played with Milktray last Saturday and heard him drop this, his remix of one of the greatest grime instrumentals ever written. Previously I’d listened to it on soundcloud and not really been sure, but in a rave, it was unstoppable. As we watched a room full of kids go mental, to the point where they were singing along with an instrumental (which has always gotta be the sign you’ve smashed it) Tim from Don’t Watch That pointed out that Milktray’s taken a grime classic – that should be rights be untouchable - and somehow flipped it into a dancefloor classic. No mean feat. Again, there’s a free download in the description, and you can listen to Milktray’s other remixs and originals over on his soundcloud.
Dr Sid – Baby Tornado
Finally, just when it looked like I was going to have some sort of ‘grime updated’ theme, I’m gonna blow it by sneaking in some afrobeats. This killer track from Dr Sid is getting a UK release, and, as is the way with these things, there’s been a remix verse stuck in – in this case from Alexandra Burke. I didn’t put her name in the heading cos half of you would have straight switched off, which would have been your loss- it’s a dope track and Burke does a fair job on it, keeping right on the vibe and even having a pretty accurate (to my white boy ears at least) crack at pidgin. With so many UK afrobeats artists heading down an EDM hybrid course – possible ill advisedly – listening to Sid’s deeper take on the genre is immensely satisfying. I’m not sure this will have much traction outside the scene, but hopefully Burke’s presence will help the genre gain that little bit more traction on UK shores.
As a quick aside, if anyone is in East London tonight - June 4th - I'm going to be playing at hte first anniversary of Misfits, which is a mid week blow out of UK urban shit (bashment/ RnB/ house/ funky/ aforbeats/ whatever). Graham Norton came down one time, no lie. For that reason alone it's going to be a roadblock, more details here