Sunday, April 14, 2013

recommended: Keysound Recordings presents...This Is How We Roll

Dusk & Blackdown's monthly Rinsefm show has been in a class of its own of late. Reflecting the tastes and enthusiasms of the titular production duo (one of whom, Martin Clark, used to write a dubstep column for Pitchfork and is prone to the odd insightful thinkpiece), it's become a vital nexus for a fertile movement-of-sorts that's characterised by 130bpm tempos and a deep, dark mutation of elements from grime, dubstep and UK funky.  In recent months, the duo's Keysound label have released a couple of superb EP's in Wen's Commotion and Beneath's Illusions, while the Dusk & Blackdown Christmas special showcased a number of affiliated and/or kindred spirit producers.

As a compilation, This Is How We Roll does a pretty thrilling job of pulling the various Keysound strands together. 'New Wave' is an entirely appropriate opener: a joint effort between Visionist, Wen and Beneath, it was actually composed especially for the radio show that's bigged them up for the last year or so. Beneath's own 'PVO' combines throbbing, punishing sub-bass with the kind of busy percussion that characterised Cooly G's recent album; Wen's 'Commotion VIP' and Epoch's 'The Steppenwolf' both point to an audible grime influence, the former all cavernous low-end and clipped vocal snatches, the latter alternating bass wobble with an insidious string-like hook. The LHF crew (who supplied last year's Keepers Of The Light album as well as sundry pirate-radio-influenced mixes over the last few years) are represented by the murky, intricate and streetwise rhythms of Double Helix's 'LDN VIP', while Mumdance and Logos' pulsating backwards track 'In Reverse' hits on a compelling midway point between motion and stasis.

The brighter, more garage-y side of Dusk & Blackdown/Keysound is repped by the duo's 'Lonely Moon (Android Heartbreak Drumz remix)', while E.m.m.a.'s 'Peridot' recalls the off-kilter, off-colour synths of Ikonika, albeit more ornate (or baroque even).

The whole vibe around Keysound at the moment is inspiring. The label may have been around for a few years now but it's got an unmistakeable sense of purpose and vitality about it right now, one that reflects its owners' insatiable appetite for new sounds and new hybrids.

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