Back in April 2013, Keysound Recordings released the This Is How We Roll compilation, a technicolor ride through the Keysound roster and beyond. The tape created a rumble at the time, largely due to its hybrid approach to what is now, by-and-large, being considered instrumental grime, and looks even larger in hindsight, both due to its collection of producers (Visionist, Wen, Moleskin, etc.) and wot u call it aesthetic coherence. To define the This Is How We Roll aesthetic would be near impossible, but various offshoots, sprung in the past several years, can be identified, There’s the sorrowful, choral take on grime championed by Visionist, Dark0 and Mssingno, a deeply melodic sound that could also encompass the new age tendencies of Deadboy, Strict Face and Loom. There’s the hybrid techno / dubstep sound pushed by Acre, Facta and Beneath, a tumbling, sound system-specific brand of dance music that’s pushing sonic barriers. And then there’s Wen, conflating pirate radio, dubstep and grime into his unique melange.
Few deejays master a single sound over their career, let alone several, but London’s Parris, founder of Soundman Chronicles, has managed to corral the This Is How We Roll aesthetic better than just about any other selector. Part of a close-knit collection of Keysound artists and affiliates, Wen, Etch and Facta included, Parris has functioned as one of London’s best keep secrets for several year now, taking dubstep’s roll into bizarre, slower territory, performing regularly on Rinse, first as a guest on Youngsta’s Minimal Mondays and now with his own show, and curating several must-have releases as the man behind Soundman Chronicles. With a rare attention to detail and a proverbial bag full of dubs, Parris has produced a joint single on Tempa with Wen, released music from Rabit, Etch, Epoch, Facta and J.Robinson on Soundman Chronicles and become everyone and no one’s envy: a touring DJ.
And while Parris has his own productions played out on Rinse and other stations regularly, his mix work is still the best place to understand his personal aesthetic, as well as the Keysound aesthetic if we’re being honest. In hindsight, it’s easy to view the development of young producers like Gage, Neana and Sudanim in a vacuum, or firmly ensconced in the Night Slugs lineage, but the role of Parris, This Is How We Roll and Soundman Chronicles cannot be undersold. Parris’ Astral Plane mix sees the Londoner boiling his polyglot sound down its richest essence, a bass weight-heavy blend of discordant dubstep and fundamentally sound, blippy techno. Parris’ fam aren’t just prevalent in the track list, they are the track list and while some crew mixes might seem indulgent, Parris’ enviable reach makes this mix anything but.