Tuesday, 9 March 2010

PRE-ORDER: Monkey Steak - Hyped Up/Bombeiros/Tigris Riddim/Haarlem Drift [SteakHouse]

Bristol bass fiends Atki2 and Hanuman – collectively Monkey Steak - have a pretty admirable record for pulling together the best bits of many of the globe’s bass mutations. The first release for their Steak House label was strangely psychedelic, despite its often rapid-fire nature – next to Mr. Gasparov’s comparatively delicate ‘1975’, Lisbon duo Octa Push’s pair of tracks were positively manic, both furiously addictive slabs of funky-infused electro noise. Meanwhile, their recent 12” for the Idle Hands label has proven to be one of the year’s best, notable especially for Atki2 and Dub Boy’s stunning ‘Tigerflower’. It also welcomed a less obvious aspect to their sound, favouring gradual change and melodic progression over simple dancefloor action.

The second release for Steak House sees Atki2 and Hanuman further explore both sides of that split personality: both tracks on the A-side hit like a ton of bricks from the off. ‘Hyped Up!’ and its counterpart riddim ‘Bombeiros’ rattle along at a nerve-busting 150 bpm, their tightly syncopated percussion and frazzled stabs of synth more akin to Octa Push or Buraka Som Sistema’s electrified kuduro than the slightly more sedate vibes of UK funky. The presence of Ghislain Poirier collaborator MC Zulu only serves to solidify this connection, his ever-escalating excitement impressively suited to the music’s manic nature.

The duo’s more experimental side, though, is far better represented on the flip. ‘Tigris Riddim’ is one of the most intriguing hybrids to have emerged so far this year, centred around a lopsided Arabian folk sample that curls around the beat like plumes of shisha smoke. It’s also one of the best, its cut-and-paste nature making it a pleasure to unpick on a decent pair of headphones. Though faster again, ‘Haarlem Drift’ continues in a similar vein, giving equal priority to musical development as to raw dance energy, and in doing so significantly upping its longevity. Though the scorched carnival atmosphere of Zulu’s contribution remains true to this music’s basic purpose, the slightly more exploratory bent they’re taking on the B-side suits Monkey Steak well. Long may it continue.

Words: Rory Gibb
Out: Now


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