A female grime MC you say? She’s singing you say? I wouldn’t have believed it even six months ago, but in the year of the Yeezus it is meant to be. Bok Bok recently uploaded a 40 minute grime set recorded from a club set and lo and behold, Fade To Mind signed songstress and frequent Kingdom collaborator Kelela lays down vocals across the majority of the mix! Grime is obviously not generally produced with the intention of a female vocalist riding across the squarewaves and incandescent bass hits, but that idea is being challenged more and more these days. First we had Nguzunguzu’s rework of Samename’s “Make It Hot” featuring vocals from Ashanti and more recently, Kelela and Kingdom’s “Bank Head” from the Vertical XL EP, both tracks utilizing distinctly pop/feminine vocals on traditionally rougher grime production. Of course, there are moments when the Bok Bok/Kelela set falls a little flat (the portion at around 29:00 is pretty damn clunky), but the fact of the matter is that this a truly genre breaking moment for electronic music. If grime’s hard-nosed, eskibeat factions continue to collaborate with talented R&B singers, the results will be dramatic and widespread. As seen in this mix and the aforementioned tracks, the production/instrumental work doesn’t have to change, but an open minded spirit must be embraced. Maybe I’m exaggerating the importance of work like this, but I see grime’s sphere of influence expanding greatly in the coming months.
In anticipation of a slew of exciting upcoming shows, Night Slugs co-boss Bok Bok has, well, gone the fuck in on the third edition of the Fade To Mind mix series. It’s an all exclusives everything affair here and if brand new Jam City, L-Vis 1990 and MikeQ is your kind of bidness, jump on this mix immediately. Almost more exciting than Bok Bok’s transcendent mixing and the heap of exclusives is a more coherent taste of Kowton’s remix of Jeremih’s still simmering “Fuck U All The Time”. The remix entered our collective consciousness through a few shoddy live videos, but Bok Bok has offered it up in all of its rude boy glory. Because really, Kowton has no business remixing this track. But he does. And it’s so beyond everything else coming out right now that it might just be the most anticipated track of the yung year. Stream and download below.
There has been a growing trend in electronic music where traditional “DJ” acts are starting to perform “Live” sets. Now, I’m not talking about a DJ playing only their own music off of CDJ’s. Not some progressive house bullshit. I’m talking about an artist who has spent much of their life DJing, moving into the live realm, complete with drum machines, synthesizers and other hardware. Like every other trend, the results have been hit and miss. Some artists just don’t really know how to utilize the hardware they use in the studio in a live setting. Others are just plain bad at it. Pariah and Blawan’s Karenn project is an example of an act doing it live (fuck it) and doing it well.
It has been a relatively quiet year in the Night Slugs camp, and with the exception of Girl Unit’s huge Club Rez EP, some might be lead to believe that the foremost purveyors in club music are sitting on their laurels. Those people are mistaken. Bok Bok and Girl Unit’s recent one off set at London nightclub Heaven showed the two established producers breaking into new ground, utilizing hardware to the fullest extent for a raw, new live experience. The duo brought a TR-909, Drumtraks, Polysix, Juno 106 and an MPC with them and the results are marvelous, highlighting the technical skill of both producers as well as the malleable nature of using hardware. Girl Unit’s “Ensemble” sounds far more powerful in this setting and the occasional blips in the show add a human texture that doesn’t really appear in your standard DJ set.
Even though many (most?) of the live sets being trotted out are unrefined, it’s a good sign that electronic musicians are diversifying their bonds and moving into new territory. I respect the art of DJing as much as anyone, but it can only go so far and the reproduction of a sound on stage actively refutes the “pushing buttons”/”laptop musician” mentality.
Back in the day, Bok and L-Vis 1990 played back 2 back sets on a regular basis at the Night Slugs club night. The regularity of those affairs is the stuff of legend, but every so often now, the two label-heads strut their shit. Most recently, they hit up London’s Boiler Room, the pitch perfect location for 40+ minutes of space age club music. You can now stream their set from back in June courtesy of Boiler Room. They know us all too well. Stream below.
The good folks over at Night Slugs have been unstoppable in the month of April. Kingdom’s US imprint Fade To Mind debuted its LA party to celebrate the first release from Rizzla. Label head L-Vis 1990 featured in the brand new “Club Constructions” series, featuring “tracky material aimed straight for the dancefloor.” L-Vis and Bok Bok have released a number of remixes including an excellent take on Surkin’s “Gold Island.” Today, the label introduced a new mix series, each volume acting as a sort of “DJ’s manifesto.” Bok Bok is the first featured DJ and predictably trends to the grimier side of the Night Slugs catalogue. The mix is Night Slugs heavy, but who ever said that was a bad thing? Stream and download the mix over at Night Slugs headquarters.