Review: A year after their last V/A EP, Boxed let rip with another future-fired session that leaves no under illusion what this multi-crew collective are capable of. Boylan & Oilgang set the record straight with a brutal slab of pulverising alien bass before Rebore dusts of his string quartet and gets busy over a rifle-style breakbeat that's not often exploited in grime. Elsewhere Slackk and Logos take us deep into the swampy jungle with an unnerving set of synth tones before flipping us skyward with an elastic bassline that comes from nowhere while Fallow shuts us down with a mighty slice of gun-toting grime drama. Brutal through and through; it's time to think inside the Boxed once again.
Review: There has been no shortage of bright and bold crossover styles from Slackk over the past four years, with impressive bouts for Numbers, Unknown To The Unknown and Diskotopia marking his work out in that jagged, synth-rich space alongside Rustie, Hudson Mohawke and the Night Slugs posse. Now, having spent some time getting cosy with Local Action, he offers the label his debut album and takes the chance to drop no less than sixteen new takes on his grime-infused musicality with barely a filler or interlude in sight. While the tempos and rhythms may shift, the atmosphere remains consistently in that alien space somewhere out ahead of us, part video game fantasy and part urban uncertainty.
Review: From the opening bars of opener "Blue Sleet", the influence of grime in Slackk's latest missive for the excellent Local Action is obvious - a precise matrix of thin eski synths, composed into interlocking parallelograms of luminous green, accompanied by salvos of rattling claps. "Fat City" takes a similar formula and inverts it, creating a particularly mournful instrumental with a sluggish beat, inspiring images of a rain soaked sink estate. "Almost Transparent" meanwhile, positively swims with melodic charm, and despite going heavy on the Eastern synth flutes and thin marimba stabs it has enough gravitational pull in the thick low end to keep the whole thing grounded. But the real gut punch is "90 Years", the only track that eschews any kind of melody for sheer dancefloor power - utilising industrial snares alongside some thick cylinders of laser bass that feel like they've been fired by an orbiting death ray. Fantastic stuff - and shows the trad house bass wannabes how it's done.
Review: After sturdy appearances on Numbers and Local Action, Slackk returns to one of his earlier outposts in the form of Unknown To The Unknown, throwing down a curious mixture of oriental folk music with grime-inspired beats and the occasional flurry of vintage computer game MIDI business. The beats are slippery and jerky on "Inland" where the synth comes in all side-chained and disjointed, with only gun shots for ballast on the buoyant groove. "Wolf Creek" brings on the aforementioned Monkey Island vibes, using curious keys and harmonies to create a decidedly eerie atmosphere, while "Blue Forest" is arguably the spiciest tune on the EP with its urgent percussion and more involved arrangements of lute action worked into a stomping 140 bpm rhythm.
Review: Following a dalliance with Unknown To The Unknown in April, outspoken grime producer Slackk returns to Local Action on which he released the excellent Raw Missions EP last year. The Failed Gods EP is described by the label as delivering six tracks that cover the breadth of "ninjaman club destroyers to beatless synth pieces, with a healthy dose of weed and Twin Peaks in the mix," and easily stands as his strongest release to date; the melancholic video game vibes of "Empty Bottles", stripped-back square waves of "Algiers" and Eastern percussive tones of "Room Made Vague" all stand out as particularly brilliant. If you've not been keeping up with the recent grime resurgence, this is as good a place to start as any.
Review: Entitled simply Grime 2.0, this mammoth release sees grime originators sit next to a new breed of artists, all compiled by Big Dada label boss Will Ashon and journalist Joe Muggs. Documenting grime's continued development over the past ten years, its track selections also demonstrate that it's still a vibrant and flourishing genre. Some 35 tracks deep, the compilation sees Ashon and Muggs securing exclusive, previously unheard material, with notable grime figureheads such as Youngstar, Wiley and MRK1 contributing alongside current stars in Royal T and Preditah as well as an international cast of emergent new talent, with Local Action artist and Grimetapes documenter Slackk featuring too. Essential!