Following his limited edition one-sided 12″ on Tru Thoughts for Records Store Day, Darq E Freaker debuts on Glaswegian label Numbers with two club-ready tracks. Since establishing himself in the public sphere with his production for Tempa T‘s ‘Next Hype’, Danny Brown‘s ‘Blueberry (Pills & Cocaine)’, and the infamous but similarly constructed ‘Cherryade’, Darq E has remained active in production work, again for Danny Brown on the impressive ‘Handstand’ and for Nigerian MC Afrikan Boy. Solo material has come to fruition sparsely through compilations on All City and Big Dada.
That being the case, a solo release seems aptly timed. Numbers is an expected home for this artist, as the coalesce of club-friendly sounds and commercial appeal seems to be one of the label’s specialities. The repellently titled opener ‘Minger’, begins with a simplistic and ominous string and horn combination, before propelling in to a sub-heavy drop that has since long ago become a standardised framework for club music of the Trap/Grime/Hip Hop ilk. Nevertheless, the energy of the piece is undeniable and effective within its frame of reference. The hackneyed synth line is rescued from the brink of the pop charts by its compelling rhythmic pattern, a case which is also applicable to the drum programming automations later in the track. Refreshing.
The B-side, ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Dun Know)’ has more to offer in terms of musicality and timbre. The repetitive vocal hook quickly becomes absorbed by arpeggiated synth lines and percussive one-shots immersed in delay. The classic 808 drum kit is harnessed proficiently complementing the light and airy synth lines and reverberated vocal. Busy kick patterns add pace and propulsion to the half-time drum programming.
Whether it’s a textural, aesthetic intention or not I’m unsure, but the production value throughout ‘Minger’ espouses one that is overly compressed and condensed. Advantageous to the producer, critiques such as this would most likely go unnoticed within the intended context the tracks potentially operate within. A remix for Scissor Sisters and a collaboration with London Grammar exemplifies the audience Freaker is intending to impact. Considering these factors, the release is perfectly acceptable. Productional finesse and creative innovation can be found elsewhere. This release executes the unambiguous criteria it sets out to fulfil.
‘Minger’ is released on Monday June 2nd. Pre-order your copy here.