Spooky – ‘Coolie Joyride’ EP (Oil Gang)

Oil Gang, the label responsible for releasing Darq E Freaker’s now iconic ‘Cherryade’ back in 2011 and rightfully considered underground stable for some of grime’s fiercest cuts, are to release Spooky‘s ‘Coolie Joyride’ EP on February 18 in an ode to one of the producer’s most sought after tracks.

The very existence of the Slew Dem classic, a track often referred to as ‘Joyride 2’ or ‘Coolie Dance Refix’, has been limited to one-off dubplates and radio specials for the last 7 years since the files to the original were all but lost, giving it’s release in 2013 an added poignancy and a certain mystique that makes it impossible to overlook. Spooky, a veteran purveyor and at times seemingly grime’s day-to-day living heartbeat, is as prolific as they come; ‘Coolie Joyride’ will be his 10th EP (and second on Oil Gang) in a little under 3 years.

The track itself is Spooky’s take on seminal dancehall riddim ‘Joyride’ – a grimy tribute to dancehall’s close-knit influences on the genre, a lot of which continue to transcend the 140bpm landscape today. More a case of classic refinement, Spooky’s alters little, instead utilising the original’s authentic swagger and opting only for additional bass kicks and some neat, ripped vocal sampling to carry the track into grimier territory. A genuine grime classic.

On the flip, ‘Electric Fence’ is where we find Spooky on more common ground, working 8 bar loops with phenomenal ferocity akin to fellow Slew Dem craftsman Waifer. Almost barbaric in it’s delivery, a brutal combination of murderous snares, gunshots and unwavering bass typifies his ability to join the dots between grime circa 2004 and the evolving styles of today.

Last track ‘Rhythm and Slags Pt. 2’ follows on from Darq E Freaker’s initial rework of RBX’s classic instrumental ‘Rhythm and Gash’, first featured on ‘The Quadrant’ EP back in 2011. In similar fashion to ‘Coolie Joyride’ although more imposing this time, Spooky chops vocals and tampers with kicks to great effect, creating a brooding monster of a beat that carries none of the original’s melancholic undertones.

The verdict? Brilliant work from both label and artist in restoring a pirate radio anthem to 2013 glory. ‘Electric Fence’ is the standout track for me though – grime at it’s heavyweight best.

Tomas Fraser

Spooky’s ‘Coolie Joyride’ EP is out on February 18.

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