Loefah’s Swamp81 sublabel unleash a menacing debut from Manchester’s Hypho.
Following Lamont’s killer Humans EP in November 2018, four-track Round ‘Ere exhibits an uncompromising concoction of searing bass and celestial techno.
With a selection of releases on forward-thinking labels such as Jelly Bean Farm, Encrypted Audio, and 877 Records, alongside pushing his own Manuka Records, Hypho has caught the eye of a multitude of bass-music scholars; recently working with the likes of Biome, being named in Madam X’s ‘top producers pushing the boundaries of bass music’, and now deservedly finding a home on Loefah’s 81 imprint.
Another recent accomplice is Rakjay, who lends vocals to two of the tracks on the EP. The first of which, ‘Round ‘Ere’, features pitched-shifted excerpts of the MC’s lyricisms paralleled by white noise and wailing square synths. Switching up to a sleazier, dub-influenced aesthetic halfway, intrinsic percussive flashes and an oscillating, droning pad maintain an eerie undertone while drawing focus to Rakjay’s bullish bars.
‘Yinliao’ is a bouncier, break-infused affair, with three continual open hats dictating the rhythm and enabling all other elements to float seamlessly in and out of consciousness. Rolling hats and bass delays further complement the hypnotic melody, with skippy claps and amen break bursts jumping resourcefully between sections – a technique that has become something of a Hypho trademark.
The second track with Rakjay on collaborative duties is ‘Graft’, a gritty roller with drifting bass stabs and hefty sub pressure at the forefront. Following suit from ‘Round ‘Ere’, the MC’s assertive flow and northern twang works in congruence with Hypho’s dark production style, with crisp drum-work and ominous atmospherics gluing together the sinister energy.
Closing track ‘Module’ keeps you guessing at every turn, intertwining 4/4 techno and brooding, stop-start turmoil. Sharp, choppy breaks furnish the intervals, with a spectral melody circling the periphery in an absorbingly harrowing journey through the bass music realm.
‘Round ‘Ere EP’ is out now on 81, buy here.
Words: Sam Halligan