Having had a major part in shaping the new wave of Grime by running the popular London Boxed night alongside Mr Mitch, Logos and Oil Gang, Paul Lynch aka Slackk is undeniably a figurehead in underground UK club and radio culture. Growing up in Liverpool, and having cut his teeth on pirate radio for a number of years, the producer is currently based in London and has unleashed a slew of amorphous and highly melodic Grime records in recent years. He also turned in an uncompromising mix of experimental House and Grime cuts for us back in 2011.
Having released his well-received debut album ‘Palm Tree Fire’ on Local Action last year, we were delighted to hear Electronic institution R&S signed him for his next offering, ‘Backwards Light’. The six track EP is a continuation of Slackk’s hyper-melodic approach to Grime, but also sees his more exploratory, free-floating abilities come to light as he channels the plethora of film scores he’d been listening to at the time.
Ahead of the release June 1, we called upon Slackk for an extended YouTube session to hear his thoughts on some of his favourite songs, albums, mixes and sound tracks from over the years. We were expecting some classic 140 gems from the aptly named ‘Grime archivist’, but are also treated to pieces of Japanese Jazz-Rock fusion, Sci-Fi OSTs and Disco classics. Enjoy the playlist below and accompanying commentary.
1. Z-Virus- ‘Rude Sting’
Inevitable that I’d start out with old Grime stuff. As time passes, the more I think this is my favourite non-famous Grime tune ever. It’s a toss up between this and D-Coy’s ‘Barbarian’, but this probably edges it for the odd flute and the extra energy. This is Zander Hardy by the way.
2. Kid D- ‘Feelings’
This is on the other end of the spectrum. I think the cliche of Grime being a purely aggro thing has long been dispelled. Great beat.
3. Osamu Kitajima- ‘Masterless Samurai’
Fucking fantastic album this. Some weird traditional Japanese Jazz Rock fusion stuff, I dunno what you’d call it exactly. There’s some Shakuhachi flute disco on there which should be an entire genre if you ask me. Amazing bonus in this video as well, look at how sick his turntable is.
4. Ernest Hoost- ‘Jewelry Robbers’
Went through a bit of an odd period last year where I downloaded so many obscure 80s soundtracks it was just ridiculous. This one – to Dead Heat – is by and large the same as most; you find loads of the same chord sequences and ideas showing up when you listen to enough of them. But this little sequence really stands out. Amazing arpeggio, lovely string runs, nice key change. Mental the amount of ideas he comes up with to elevate the tension in the piece in less than 2 minutes..
5. ‘Ecolove’ – Stéphane Picq (Dune OST)
Only discovered this recently. There are a couple of riffs in there I wish I’d wrote to be honest, and I was thinking about lifting the little synth run before the drop but decided not to (which is why it’s in here!). Very wavy this.
6. Max B – ‘Porno Muzik’
Speaking of wavy… I wouldn’t be able to do this list without some Max B. Not everyone will agree but he is the best rapper ever for me. All that music went right downhill after he got locked up.
7. WQBC- ‘Love Me Anyway’
The album this is off is desperately expensive. The 7” is a bit cheaper but still. I almost bought it once when I was feeling really flush but in the end I settled for a really good vinyl rip on some site I found through filestube. The joys of the internet mate. I like the idea of private presses, I guess it’s what the likes of Bandulu and that are now.
8. RP Boo- ‘Dude Off 59th Street’
Just the best Juke album/compilation/mix ever really. I still listen to this all the time – incredible stuff.
9. K Dot – ‘WD25’
Incredible minimalism on this beat, might be one of the best unsung Grime ones. K Dot was part of the Essentials and had about a million names. There’s another K Dot now from Sheffield but this isn’t him. The one from Essentials was much better. I think this is probably the best beat True Tiger ever made. They’ve had a few good ones over the years but never anything close to this.
10. Macabre Unit- ‘Sidewinder Summer Ball’
Macabre Unit were the minimalist dons of course. This is a perfect encapsulation of their sound to me. Just an incredible set, everything meshes so well.
11. Bionics- ‘Tinman (Bass Mix)’
This is mislabeled as the ‘Wiley remix’ whereas I’ve only ever known it as the ‘Bass mix’ but we’re definitely going down a minimalist rabbit hole today so why not keep it up. Astounding beat.
12. ??- ‘Nhimutimu’
Amazing stuff and I thought it was nice transition from the devil mix into the next couple. This is from a comp called ‘Soul of Mbira’ which is really good, you should seek it out. I struggle with the vocals on it but this is amazing.
13. Bill Evans- ‘My Foolish Heart’
Masterpiece. He should have laid off the smack really, but at least he left stuff like this behind. Really beautiful piece, it was originally a Victor Young thing, I think but this is the best version.
14. Joe Henderson- ‘The Elements’
Another album! I was on holiday recently and had a bit of Jazz on the go – it’s nice to try and feel sophisticated when you’re pissed and it’s sunny. This was one I played a fair bit, and I’ve kept it in rotation since. I’m a big fan of albums as conceptual suites and it’s only really Jazz that masters that art I think. Air is my favourite section; I’ve sampled the beginning a few times in the early hours.
15. Patrice Rushen- ‘Feels So Real (Won’t Let Go)’
Let’s finish this with something much lighter eh? I’ve talked about this record a lot over the years but it’s pretty much perfect – genuinely one of the greatest songs ever. The economy of it is incredible, not a single foot wrong. Secretly I wish I could write music like this and I’ve been trying to do it for ages on the quiet. One day I’ll get it right.
16. ‘Pan & James’
An even better ending. I think the actual name for this is Super Monkey & Lovely Dog Season. Basically it’s this Japanese program where a dog and a monkey are best mates and they go on adventures. Here, the monkey figures out how to get them onto the tube. We used to watch this a lot when I was smoking weed all the time…
‘Backwards Light’ is out June 1 on R&S Records. Pre-order it here.
Photo: Mehdi Lacoste