Monday, 6 September 2010
RECOMMENDED: Bowly – Bleeps/Idee D’Un Tropique [Berkane Sol]
Despite the runaway dancefloor success of Martin Kemp’s brilliantly oddball releases on Blunted Robots, there has been comparatively little of the same sort of stuff appearing from other sources. It could well be because Kemp’s take on broken house is a delicate kind of alchemy, and one that’s difficult to replicate outside of optimum laboratory conditions. It’s certainly true that the tricky sense of swing and timing that makes ‘No Charisma’ and ‘What U Got’ so fiendishly addictive – and impossible to avoid dancing to – is a tough balancing act, and one that very few have managed to match. Cooly G’s new 12” for Hyperdub is one contender, though both ‘Phat Si’ and ‘Up In My Head’ are still tied to a far more traditional house template. DVA’s upcoming Hyperdub release again touches on similar territory, but so far this new release from Bowly is the closest anyone’s yet come to matching the unique tension between rigidity and flexibility that marks out Kemp’s tunes.
Bowly’s not entirely there, in the sense that both tracks still pivot around a recognisable house pulse, but they aim for something else entirely. With its slow pace and delicate conga rolls, ‘Bleeps’ is a slightly more contemplative take on the UK funky sounds Geiom’s recently been putting out, hitting similar humid notes as ‘Sugar Coated Lover’ or the best of Hackman’s music. ‘Idee D’un Tropique’ is the more interesting thing here though, and it’s a fantastically supple track, riding off a broken beat that seems to contort into a thousand different shapes over the course of its five-minute runtime. What’s most enjoyable about both these tracks though is how strongly they remain connected to the evolutionary lineage of UK bass music – you can hear grime’s heatshocked synths exploding in the backdrop of ‘Idee’, and the descending chords of ‘Bleeps’ are straight out of the first wave of funky. But alongside the likes of Cooly G, Kemp and Hackman they’re breezily unconcerned with where they end up along the way, and all the better for it.
Words: Rory Gibb