Houston grime provocateur Rabit has a special way of tearing apart an original and rearranging and reorienting it in his own, oft vicious, more often beatific style. The man has seemingly had his hand in every new mutation that grime has endured in recent months and the latest recipient of the Rabit treatment is Coyote Records representative Chemist. Rabit’s gurning square waves take center stage while uncomfortably harsh snares play the propulsion role and bare 808 blips prove a necessary respite from the blaring sub bass. Grime can often function on a level of extreme poles with oft-sickly sweet melodic content on one end juxtaposed with unremitting inside-the-box masculinity and aggression on the other, but Rabit consistently manages to draw the two apart and smash them back together as one. Chemist’s Defiance EP is out via Coyote in digital form on July 29 and physical August 11.
We first heard “Defiance” a few months ago at the tail-end of Chemist‘s raucous Astral Plane mix and the punctilious grime weapon has surfaced in official fashion this week. Set for a release on Coyote Records, “Defiance” draws from the industrial, mechanized side of grime populated by SD Laika, Rabit and Saga, utilizing squarewave bass in short blasts over snapping, brittle snares with brutal, dynamic affect. “Defiance” will appear on an EP of the same name, due in the near future on Coyote, which also has a follow-up to the eminently relevant Coyote Kings compilation on the way.
It was only two months ago when London’s Boxed club night, led by Slackk, Mr. Mitch, Oil Gang and Logos, released their eponymous, scene defining Vol. 1, but it appears that grime’s premier shapeshifters weren’t totally satisfied with their first offering. Boxed Vol. 2 picks up where the first edition left off, drawing from London’s rich musical fabric and subsequently tearing it apart, reconfiguring it and presenting it in a perfectly coherent melange of dancefloor and non-dancefloor oriented songs. The Boxed usuals all appear as do Dark0, Strict Face, Rabit, Chemist and Murlo, and the track list actually mirrors many of our most recent Astral Plane mixes. We’ve never had the pleasure of attending a Boxed night, but if Vol. 2 is anywhere near an approximation of Dalston’s finest instrumental grime happening then all of the hype is spot on.
2013’s end-of-year list busting Coyote Records compilation, aptly titled Coyote Kings, rung many a bell through its vivacious, immediate take on grime. Bringing in a mixture of new and old artists, the south London label’s collection featured the likes of recent Astral Plane mixer OH91, old school Skepta running-mate P Jam and relative unknowns (at the time) Spare and Jon DeVille. In hindsight, Coyote Kings was something of a seminal listen for this particular listener, proving in bombastic fashion that contemporary grime can both shmang on a soundsystem level and offer forward-thinking melodic content. Of the Coyote stable of artists, no one epitomizes that coalition better than Chemist.
Like many of his contemporaries, Chemist doesn’t actually have an “official” release to his name yet, but that hasn’t stopped him from garnering plaudits from some of grime’s more esteemed outlets. The UK producer’s “Hoodrat” (his contribution to Coyote Kings) has been utilized as a focal point in many a DJ set, its drastic mutations between feather-pillow loftiness and slamming, percussive weight captivating casual listeners and DJs alike. Chemist’s productions are angular, hawkish and immersive, often fluctuating between aggressive detonations and string-led melodies that are equal parts affecting and chilling. Chemist sits perfectly in the grime continuum, he often draws samples from video games like Metal Gear Solid, but his output also retains a certain tenderness that belies his propinquity for percussive machinations. This Summer, Chemist will release his debut “Defiance” single on Coyote Records, his first “official” record, albeit one that has already made its way into the Rinse rotation. Chemist’s Astral Plane mix brings the sort of gun finger waving attitude that we’ve come to expect from Coyote artists and we couldn’t be more excited to indulge in its madness. New and unreleased tunes from Rabit, Dark0 and Kakarot shine, while “Defiance” comes towards the end and rounds the mix off with aplomb. Enjoy. Track list after the jump.