Welcome to Sonic Waffle, a weekly or possibly bi-weekly (or maybe monthly or perhaps even annually, we haven’t planned a fucking thing) dissemination of the music currently bumping & grinding from the speakers and/or headphones of the Purple City Soufflé offices (which are in fact, not plural, more or less fictional and are currently a Wetherspoons in Hackney)
It’s three quid a pint, you can double up for a pound and we’ve got a pretty fabulous selection of records to get through; so don’t waste your time reading the travel supplements of middle class papers that function only to remind you how much you don’t want to be where you geographically are: accept you are stuck here, get bollocksed for cheap and spend the money you saved not buying wanky artisan coffee on some of the releases featured in this column instead.
WHAT WE LISTENED TO THIS WEEK
First up this week comes Me+1, a collaborative project from vocalist It’s Nate and London based beatsmith JD. Reid via the always on point Astral Black. It’s hip-hop and it’s most certainly built in the UK, but don’t dismiss it just yet as more tawdry, “golden-era” 90s boombap styled bullshit that pretty much clogs the UK scene and is largely worshiped by 35 year old stoners from Brighton whose main ambition is to make it off the sofa to go fire-juggling at their mates charity fundraiser (probably headlined by Rodney P or Dreadzone.)
These are tracks are very much of the most contemporary sound and across the whole release neither beats nor lyrics feel in anyway rote or contrived. The skippy Reset is an early highlight, seeing a frantic It’s Nate skate on a nimble flow over the staccato percussion and dense yet uncluttered sonic detail of JD Reid’s almost UK funky flavoured beat whilst Code Switching easily ranks as JD Reid’s most psychedelic and intricate production on the tape. The wonderfully titled WG1KLG (which sees It’s Nate deliver one of his most infectious vocals) is another definite highlight, with its call & response hook and furiously percussive soundbed. The track is only further complimented by the (always on point) Mr Mitch remix which in essence inverts the frantic feel of the original, stripping back almost all percussion, leaving in its place airy synths and blissful melody. Classy like a crimson velour curtain in a 70s bingo hall. You can cop the EP HERE and, if they’re not sold out, take our advice and buy the wonderfully presented cassette edition. Not only do you get some physical product for your wedge but you also get treated to the instrumentals of all the tracks on the release. Which, in a musical context, is more or less like doubling up your gin for a pound in ‘Spoons. Which we have just done.
Next up this week we have the new release from Plastician’s always adventurous Terrorhythm imprint who have just dropped Lost Knowledge from an act called Skuls. We’d never heard of them before this EP but a quick Twitter search revealed they’re a duo from the Bay Area… area and they are rather well good.
Opening track Abyss carries a nice atmosphere in its static laced samples and climbing synth lines but ultimately doesn’t really pick up beyond your standard, slightly fogged out trap tropes. Luckily Obsession, the following track bumps harder than Michael Barrymore at a pool party circa 2001. Taking a similar path to Abyss the track builds on colourful synth lines and twisted vocal stabs but chooses to blast out on some bombastic sub kicks and trilling snares as opposed to coasting along without really gaining proper momentum. It’s an absolute stomper of a tune and will hopefully see some action on dancefloors where people don’t just play shitty Urban Outfitters house all night long. The EP is rounded off beautifully with 404, arguably the standout of the release, a blissful and spacious number that some wanker somewhere is probably hashtagging Vapourwave or FutureChillstep instead of simply just admiring the airy structure and cascading drum patterns in all their glory. Anyway fuck that guy. He probably works at Urban Outfitters and runs a blog about fictional music genres. Strike a blow against impotent blog reposts and actually buy the Lost Knowledge EP by Skuls HERE.
Rounding off this week’s musical selection is Invite The Light, the much anticipated and infinitely upbeat new album from the don Dám-Funk, via Stones Throw Records. Last we heard from Dám was the engagingly (albeit slightly brief) 7 Days Of Funk collab with Snoop Dogg or Snoopzilla or Snoop Kitten or whatever moniker he was co-opting that day. Regardless Invite The Light is a much more coherent body of work (as you’d expect from an album that had a considerably longer gestation period) and is fairly spotless from track one.
Opening cut Junie’s Transmission, a crusty FM radio / end of the world communicae outlining the importance of the funk in times of apocalypse, is pure George Clinton and segues neatly into We Continue, a classic slice of a low slung, cruising altitude head nodder. In fact head nodding is more or less the order of the day whether throughout; it be the blissfully trippy Floating On Air, the frantic tension of Surveillance Escape or the completely immersive atmosphere of final track The Acceptance. It’s not all successful, the whole record perhaps runs a little too long for such a singular style and tracks like Actin, which critiques the modern obsession for social media, misses the mark a little but overall the entire record is a celebration of a musical style from another time. That time being on of keytars, crispy drum machines and slap bass, albiet reframed in a contemporary guise via Dám Funk’s earnest love of the old school and deft touch in modern production. It’s this delicate balance of the aforementioned that saves the record from getting too bogged down in clichéd, revisionist nostalgia or pastiche. So get your finest crushed velvet suit on, spill a prawn cocktail on the nearest member of the bar staff and cop Invite The Light HERE.
WHAT WE DRANK THIS WEEK
Shipyard American Pale Ale – Looked like someone had left a Brooklyn Brewery ale sat on the side to go flat for six hours then chilled it back down to vaguely servable temperature. Tasted like someone left a Brooklyn Brewery ale sat on the side to go flat for six hours then chilled it back down to vaguely servable temperature … And we don’t even rate Brooklyn Brewery that highly. Fuck this bilge pump produce; even if it was a purse friendly £2.49
Bombay Sapphire Gin Feat. Slimline Tonic – People will harp on all day about the delicate herby notes or erudite perfumed nose of a particular gin but ignore that shit: when you stick two shots of it in about a half pint of tonic with an almost glacial amount of ice they all taste the bloody same. And anyway it’s £2.99 so just get it inside you before all that aforementioned ice melts.
Heinenken – Better than Fosters or Carling but we’d be lying if we said we could taste the difference between any European lagers after drinking more than a few of them… Also possibly owners of Fosters / Carling or owned by Fosters / Carling so hardly important. In fact if you are spending much time at all bickering over the tasting notes of DJ Tool lagers you’re probably a bit of a knob anyway. £3.49. Expensive for Spoons, reasonable anywhere else in East London.
Adnams Prop Hop – According to the pump tag (with the oh-so middle class images of a typical English man playing “ruggers”) Golden beer brewed with English hops… Unless you’re a member of the EDL we’ve no idea why you would really give a shit where your hops are from but either way it’s quite a fresh tasting golden ale, not too heavy on the taste buds, and a fairly dench 4.5% so at £2.55 not a bad choice for getting sloshed on without the remorseless gas of fizzy lager. Always nice to rep the local breweries too (Norfolk / Suffolk fam stand up!)
Anyway that’s it for this week, if you were looking for articles consisting of easily digestible, almost non-existent prose that says little to nothing about the music it’s supposed to be reviewing we suggest you fuck off to DJ Mag. This column is called Sonic Waffle and waffle is exactly what we intended to spout. If you have any opinions of your own please feel free to hit us up on Twitter @PurpleCityCo and make sure to join us next week (maybe) when we’ll get bollocksed all over again and talk more bollocks about music.
Keep it greasy gang!