Somewhere in the limbo between the death of UK Garage raves in the late 90s and the emergence of bass-heavy, speaker-crushing dubstep in the mid aughts, dance music producers like Wookie were making sounds that removed much of the poppy cheesiness of what garage had become & repurposing the sexy, shuffling rhythms of the music with harder beats, more complex grooves, and darker basslines. One of the pioneers of what came to be known as 2-step, Wookie’s beats are intricate, groovy and oh-so-wonky, and his melodic elements (violin stabs, squelchy synths, even vocals) tend to have a highly percussive nature, further boosting the rhythm. The datedness of some of the vocals is an admittedly minor drawback although it does add to the ‘time-capsule’ ness of the LP.
This EP is full of hard hitting, head-nodding hip hop beats. Tracks 1, 2 & 4 are more bouncy & synth-heavy, while 3, 5 & 6 are more classically-sampled boom bap bangers. Minimal compositions, heavy kick drums on every track. Very similar in style to ATX’s own BoomBaptist. Killer grooves on this one.
From the press kit: Hyperdub 10.1 is more an ammunition belt than an album. With this compilation, label boss kode9 proves the ability of dance music to be intelligent and unpredictable, and stay banging as hell. Featuring a wide swath of artists from the 10 years of Hyperdub’s existence, kode9 presents a cross-section of the best in cutting edge bass music in the US & UK, from the footwork of Chicago’s Teklife crew, the dark, gritty grime of Flowdan & Terror Danjah, as well as a few rare cuts from the earlier, birth-of-dubstep days like Spaceape and Mala and lots more. At 2 discs there is definitely a lot of material to dig through in this album, but there are so many gems (especially on disc 2) that it’s very well worth it.
By playing all of the instruments on his productions, while also relying heavily on sampling and chopping up his live takes, Taylor McFerrin has found a sound that seamlessly bridges myriad musical worlds and draws the listener into a constantly shifting audio soundscape. Early Riser is an amalgamation of live elements, synths, jazz chord progressions, ethereal vocals and electronic edits combined to truly sublime effect. Each tune steadily progresses into new territory as McFerrin weaves a vast multitude of sounds and melodies in and out, making for an exquisitely detailed & nuanced journey for the listener. The collaborative tracks are definitely the highlights, especially with the nerdgasm-inducing combination of Robert Glasper, Thundercat & Marcus Gilmore on Already There (trk7), or Invisible/Visible(trk11), featuring vocals of Taylor’s proud poppy Bobby McFerrin of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ notoriety.