MUTEK, the premiere festival of digital creativity and electronic music kicked off its 13th edition with a carefully curated programme including 130 performers including 3 world premieres and 15 North American Premieres. We sent Toronto native Steve Phillips on a road trip to Montreal to witness, among other things, Jeff Mills’ new project, Minilogue and Mathew Jonson’s live show, Clark’s unpredictable mayhem and memorable DJ sets galore.
Legendary London based producer and grime veteran Terror Danjah should need no introduction. Having been instrumental in the development of the genre he has gained a formidable reputation in the underground music scene and beyond. He made his debut on East Iz East back in 2001 and subsequently released a slew of seminal singles, as well several multi artist long players/compilations including ‘Shock To The System’, ‘Hardrive’ and ‘Gremlinz’. Straying away from his home at Planet Mu, his latest release on Kode 9’s lauded Hyperdub imprint is nothing short of a masterpiece, bringing together signature sounds and featuring such notable vocalists as Mz Bratt, Griminal, DOK, Bruza and D Double E.
“Grand Opening” is certainly aptly named, with its dramatic strings, epic choral roar and crescendoing cymbal crashes kicking things off, whilst crisp, cutting lyrics are laid on top of the beat, heralding the start of the something tremendous with a smacking “blaow blaow!” Next up, hoover bass a la Subwave (‘Road Rage’) or Loadstar (‘Link To The Past’) kicks in in ‘Acid’ before Mz Bratt gets her say in radio friendly riddim ‘This Year (Pro Plus)’. Previously released single ‘Bruzin (VIP)’ is a stand out amongst what is, quite frankly, a series of stand outs from Terror Danjah. Going more minimal in the central section with ‘SOS’ to old favourite ‘Minimal Dub’ the bleeping synthy haze does well to dispel some of the ardent fury present elsewhere, with an absence of lyrical input. But rest assured, Terror cranks up the pace again in delectably danceable ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Sonar’ which lead nicely in to the title track. Magnetic Man style trance-y synths the intro of ‘Leave Alone’ and bass heavy post rave comedown track ‘All I Wanna’. As we near the end, everything gets shaken up with wistful musing lyrics, fidgety beats and the magnificent finale, ‘Creepy Crawler’ with a rousing Jukali style lyrical flow to finish things off.
One thing’s for sure, ‘Undeniable’ warrants all the respect and hype it is currently receiving and will no doubt continue to receive in the coming years. If there’s one album you buy this month, it’s this.
Between the hours of 2 and 4am London time last night, the husky tone of Mary Anne Hobbs was heard on Radio One for the last time and she bowed out in fine style with a specially commissioned mix from Hyperdub boss Kode 9 and Burial.
Hot on the heels of his DJ-Kicks compilation, which was released last month on !K7 Records, Hyperdub boss Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) takes one of the exclusively made tracks from the aforementioned album and teams up with long-term collaborator Spaceape to give it a bit of a vocal touch up and a new breath of life for the darker, more intelligent side of the dancefloor.
The quaint, hypnotic cowbell tinkling and richly blended intro of “You Don’t Wash” sits well with the husky, murmuring, slightly MC Kemo-esque lyrics courtesy of Spaceape. The ghost of Kode9’s jungle past creeps in from time to time, keeping things vibrant throughout the silky smooth, rippling flow of the track. Echoing prophetically into the emerging tune with a perfectly placed series of siren bleeps, blowing horns and funky SFX, the words become just as much a part of the melody as the soca riddims and future garage synthy haze (a sort of inadvertent nod to Joker-crossed with-Joy Orbsion’s “Hyph Mngo”). They are merged into the fabric of the music with a shimmering translucence, rather like a finely crafted watercolour painting. Spaceape’s lyrical contribution does not revolutionise the track particularly, or change it beyond recognition, but instead serves to enhance what is already there, and as a result, “You Don’t Wash” resonates deep into the musical consciousness long after it has finished playing. Belinda Rowse