In this age of endless uploads and releases, trying to keep up with the flow can be pretty overwhelming.
That’s why every month we’re going to be highlighting some of our favourite tracks from the past four weeks. Our writers have chosen a potent mix of big anthems and stuff that might have flown under the radar, from veterans and newcomers alike. Hopefully you’ll discover something new in the roundup.
This month we’ve got some right crackers for you. Lo-fi Dutch electronica on 1080p, Will DiMaggio’s spaced out house, cold 3am Lewisham grime, Neana’s ace Night Slugs bootleg, and plenty more. Fill your boots below.
Commodo’s already proven his penchant for working with vocalists – something of a natural extension of his grounding in hip-hop – and continues to exhibit his talents on this, the first single from his forthcoming debut LP, How What Time. It packs in all the crunchy basslines, shuffling hats and scattered percs that have helped the Sheffield native dig such an infectious groove to date. For his part, Rocks FOE blends a skippy, raw and rolling UK flow that dips occasionally (and effectively) into the kind of half-sung lean popularised by his US counterparts – but without succumbing to the sort of awkward stop-start one life flows that have shown up even the most accomplished Brit MCs. A worthy warm up for an album that’s sure to break more new ground.
Will Pritchard (@Hedmuk)
Jersey boy Will DiMaggio debuts on Future Times with a thick and fizzy serving of spaced out house. Switching up his style from the poppier sound of his output as Jaw Jam, this isn’t a million miles from the vocal chops of Anthony Naples. The earworm sample takes a hold of you and immediately transports your body to “the spot”. The single-sided 12″ ain’t out yet but this track definitely has the wow factor. Label boss Max D does a stellar job describing the vibe: “Essential for those who feel that need to close your eyes and play air keys when you hear an absolute beast rip thru the speakers”. TIP.
The stand-out track from Keiron Ifill’s debut album under his Culross Close alias. The album’s heart lies in Keiron’s home of Tottenham, and its relation to the 2011 riots. The music is far from riotous though. The atmosphere is pensive yet keeps us nodding through until the point where the dialogue arrives, and we’re gradually left with only the delicate trickle of keys cascading towards their last lingering drop.
The first offering from Lewisham MC Koder’s forthcoming LDNZ EP, ‘Zone Again’ is built around a vocal sample from Skepta’s legendary 2008 freestyle on Westwood 1Xtra. The spacey beat (courtesy of BlameBlame) is a real draw, setting cold 3am synths against propulsive drums. Clearly a talented MC, Koder is equally adept at witty introspection as he is at memorable imagery. One listen is all it takes for you to remember his snacking preferences while in the writing zone (“Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations, cold Supermalt and I’m waving”). World domination may be a few stages off yet for the self-proclaimed Black Andy Warhol, but on this evidence he’s got the skills to move up to the next level.
Shimmering Rhodes chords and dynamic syncopation make for pensive listening on ‘Bob’s Riddim’, the unassumingly titled B-side on Tenderlonious’ All Your Way EP. Its pace is slow and track length long in comparison to its counterpart, but the contrast is welcome. A brooding synth laced with ornaments emerges three minutes in to take centre stage, and blends convincingly with a Moog bassline which surfaces purposefully to fill space when needed; this twisting, echoing lead definitely makes it one for the early hours.
There hasn’t been an act that’s filled me with the joy Sicko Mobb have in well over five years. As an avid fan of Trav and Ceno since the release of Super Saiyan Vol.1 (which is still a personal favourite) it’s been rewarding to watch them grow through their mixtape trilogy. Whilst the hyper-saccharine aura of their first effort has decelerated into darker and more introspective forms in recent months, their penchant for unforgettable hooks is still unrivalled in rap’s current landscape. ‘Out West Chicago’, from their recent Super Saiyan Vol.3 tape, lands as a potent medium between their giddiest early work and the steady paced, more orthodox raps of late. West Chicago to the world…
Neana – co-runner of the Gang Fatale collective – drops ‘Nightshade’, a bootleg on the Night Slugs white label series. Built for the clubs, ‘Nightshade’ combines weighty low-end and skittering percussion with tropical melodies designed to make you float, feeling right at home back on Bok Bok’s Night Slugs. The undeniable funk of Neana’s synth work and glowing instrumentation teases a call and response with rolling subs and gritty drums, and with its playful energy will be sure to bring the room back if attention has been lost.
Some immersive Dutch electronica. A really ’90s lo-fi feel mixed up with shimmering vaporwave-esque keyboard sounds. The track is held together by this descending synth line that has a really spaced out, Boards Of Canada feel to it. The whole piece is pretty ambient until the duo bring it together with these punchy 808 beats that are super energetic and counterbalance the hazy atmosphere perfectly. Great composition.