Thursday, 28 October 2010

RECOMMENDED: Becoming Real - Spectre EP [Not Even]

Becoming Real’s new EP for Not Even, Spectre, is a match made in heaven: two wonderfully abstract Eski-styled riddims, a guest appearance from one of grime’s finest lyricists, Trim, and a remix by juke/footwork maestro (and current hot property) DJ Rashad. Grime is in good shape right now: Elijah & Skilliam’s championship of new producers; Terror Danjah’s resurgence and upcoming Undeniable album for Hyperdub; the genre’s huge influence in shaping the more forward thinking ends of UK funky; Hessle Audio’s absorption of its early experimentalism, and hybrids like Untold’s ‘Anaconda’ achieving airplay far beyond the usual circles. Becoming Real is another name to add to the list, then. His music takes the minimalist principles behind Wiley’s eski instrumentals and applies a thin sheen of the future, still working within the most stripped-back template possible but also sounding distinctly of 2010.

Spectre’s lead track, ‘Like Me,’ has been doing the rounds for a while now, but still hits like a ton of bricks. Beyond the instrumental itself - which is one of the best abstract grime tracks to have emerged for a while, beats stripped away to nothing and replaced with menacing blasts of sub and arabesque descending chimes – it finds Trim in characteristically scathing form, flinging withering put-downs with a seeming minimum of effort. As ever, his flow strikes a peculiar balance between straight-faced aggression and sarcastic humour, leaving an undercurrent of menace that’s quite difficult to place. Even better is ‘Showdown In Chinatown,’ where he revisits similar themes to those he explored on Dusk & Blackdown’s ‘The Bits’ – shifting loyalties, the nature of friendship and dogged self-reliance – while Becoming Real’s jagged synths detonate all around. The title certainly couldn’t be more appropriate if it tried. DJ Rashad’s take on ‘Like Me’ meanwhile, is a little too one-dimensional for comfort, heading straight for relentless, wearing pace; it’s a mirror placed alongside the originals, which are potent reminders that grime can still manage to be both subtle and hype at once.

Words: Rory Gibb
Out: 15th November

Becoming Real x Trim - Like MeBecoming Real x Trim - Showdown In Chinatown