In an ever-cyclical musical landscape where old sounds and trends can be re-hashed and adopted by new waves of producers at any time, it’s both interesting and exciting to see what the next sub-genre will be to see a resurgence. If 2010 saw Addison Groove’s ‘Footcrab’ spark a slew of footwurk/ juke adaptations with a slightly less frenetic UK twist and Ramadanman inspired a raft of 808/303 based productions with heavy references to Warp Records circa 1990 in 2011; this year has most certainly been dominated by the tough, iron-wrought, bassline dominated hip hop instrumental – beats built for the club, first popularised by Three 6 Mafia et al in 1996 and then re-invented by guys like Lex Luger over the last few years. With their shared club-rocking potential, there are so many obvious synergies with this sound and the bass-centric dubstep/house scene that it is no surprise that everyone from Kutmah to Kode9 have deployed some form of ‘trap’ weaponry in their sets. Producers such as Lunice, Hudson Mohawke and Baauer have benefited from straddling both hip hop and dance audiences, seeing their popularity catapulted to Felix Baumgartner-like heights.
As with any trend rapidly gaining momentum, it paves the way for a myriad of terrible, cookie-cutter template beats from every kid with a DAW to flood the internet, which helps perpetuate the negative connotations that have now been attached to the term ‘trap’, and does an injustice to all the serious producers making heavyweight club-ready instrumentals that ultimately are straight good honest fun. For the engaging, properly mixed down, and creative side of the coin, think Desto’s buoyant 160bpm refix of Kowton’s ’Jam03’, the dingy swirling aesthetics of Chesslo Junior’s remix of Deft’s ‘Thought You’d Fancy It’ or the grime infused beats coming from Mr Mitch, Faze Miyake and Royal T.
‘Fluro Black’, the latest A side from eclectic Brighton based label Donky Pitch also fits into this mould and sees the might of Alix Perez (aka ARP 101) team up with Elliott Yorke on a low-slung, gut-wrenching banger that deploys the touchstone skittering hats and high pitched 808 snares, with class and precision. Building on those with snatched gasps of vocals, and layers of wildly darting and progressively more and more mangled synth melodies that dart and weave over a heavy bassline it really holds your attention.
The B-side is a complete switch up to the aforementioned styles, with two gorgeously vivid and colourful synth-lead tracks that err more towards experimental, home-listening vibes. ARP 101’s second collab with Yorke on the release, ‘Polybot’, features lolloping, wonky rhythms at around 100bpm and unpredictable scaling, arpeggiated melodies with healthy lashings of groove that rolls playfully. Perez goes for dolo on ‘SLAM’, building dense, oscillating bass pressure before breaking into audaciously funky synthesized basslines, heavily processed vocal layers and brightly twinkling touches of melody to create a truly ‘future’ sounding slab of electronic funk.
The vinyl version of Fluro Black is imminent, you can get the digital for free when you pre-order the record via the Donky Pitch bandcamp.