The development of the drum track over the past half decade has been of the more affirming narratives we’ve paid close attention to. The circa-2013 post-Club Constructions/Classical Curves space was full of enthusiasm, but much of the music from that era sounds derivative in hindsight, a predecessor to many divergent, far more original threads that have arisen since. Whether drawing inspiration from traditional UK funky, hardstyle, or Arabic pop, the ground is fertile and a solid infrastructure in the form of labels and parties is growing. Melbourne’s DJ Plead is a surefire exemplar of the expansive potential of polyrhythmic, non-four-on-the-floor dance music, balancing a cracking peak time approach with variant song structures and a focus on weighty low end sounds.
Now two releases deep, for DECISIONS and Nervous Horizon respectively, Plead has a small, but extensive body of work out, full of hand and wooden drum sounds and a deep intuition on how to layer complex rhythmic patterns without overwhelming the listener/dancer. Lebanese wedding and pop music is a prime reference point, giving both EPs a clever celebratory air, as are R&B, footwork, funky and other contemporary club sounds. Prior to 2018’s Get In Circle, we were mostly familiar with Plead’s edit work, of everything from Sadat and Fifty’s kinetic mahraganat sounds to Missy Elliot affiliate Sharaya J, as well as the collaborative Poison project with T.Morimoto that similarly excavated hybrid rhythmic sounds.
Get In Circle marked a major development point for Plead, a body of work comprised of several years of tracks that sat comfortably between a range of tempos, styles and genres, and maintained a distinctly DIY ethos, referencing contemporary trends while existing largely on its own plane. Pleats Plead, released at the beginning of March on Nervous Horizon, functions as another step forward for Plead, a paring down of Get In Circle‘s myriad reference points into a tight, floor-ready composition. More full frontal than Get In Circle‘s often meditative progressions, tracks like “Salt and Pepper” and “Shoulder Pop” make their intention clear from the jump, proceeding on more like grime or footwork with quick cuts and architectural drum arrangements. Plead also recently linked up with Club Chai‘s 8ULENTINA on “Were You Tough?” from the Oakland artist’s latest Bodyguard EP (out now on TT), a track that sees both artists in their comfort zone laying out minimalist wooden percussion and confrontational incantations.
With Pleats Plead still fresh on our minds, it felt like an ideal time to get Plead in for an Astral Plane session and the hour long piece doesn’t disappoint, hitting a comfortable stride from its opening minutes and expanding organically from there. Arabic pop segues into slower drum workout fare, leading to more high tension club tracks and an extremely well executed jungle passage. Don Sinini, Pretty Ricky and Tupac pop up as vocal features and reprieves from the percussive onslaught, although we’re not sure if boredom could ever set in during a Plead set. Download AP Mix 188 here and be sure to grab yourself a copy of Pleats Plead.
Mario Kirlis – Karachi
Cop Envy & Dj Plead – Untitled 1
Sarya Al Sawwas – Shagel Tafkeeri
Dj Plead – Ya Baba
Dj Python – Todo Era Azul
Amar Du Désert – Planète Agraba
Dj Logic – Precision
Blastah & Don Sinini – Level It
Dj Plead – Piece
ELSZ – Dark Room (She spells doom remix)
Jacquues – 4275 (dj plead remix)
Anunnaku – Stargate
Szare – A Minor
Poison – International Funds Transfer
Overmono – iii’s font
Dj Plead – Liquify
Pretty ricky – Ride With Me
G-hadd – Save Your Sympathy