As one of the key stones in Manchester’s growing grime foundation, Madam X has proven more than capable on major outlets like BBC 1Xtra, but her efforts have always filtered into her label Big People Music and the Murkage collective she takes part in. Her latest efforts were announced over the weekend and take the form of Big People’s first compilation, the finger-on-the-pulse heavy Kaizen Movements Vol. 1. Rumbling soca from Murlo, orchestral patois from Samrai and metallurgic electro from Sudanim take center stage on Kaizen Movements, but the rest of the 10-tracker (Trap Door, Timbah, Dark0 and more) is far from a slack-jawed effort. Download the full comp or individual tracks below and be sure to throw the Madam some praise on her Facebook or Twitter.
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.
In a general sense, grime is generally not thought of as party music, especially the melody-focused brand championed by Rabit and Visionist in recent years. It’s not necessarily after-club music in the night bus variety either despite the fact that it elucidates a neo-futuristic urban landscape better than just about any other form of electronic music. That doesn’t mean it can’t function in either of those settings though. Northwest London’s Dark0 proves that squarewave-based instrumental grime can soundtrack a night out with aplomb. It just might be a night where you got entirely too faded. With an ear for early grime producers like Davinchi and Maniac, Dark0 has a keen ear for the canon’s classics, but that’s the point where he stops looking back.
Last year’s Zero mixtape saw him matching classic acapellas with his brightly melodic, synth-focused productions, showings his ability to adapt the old and the new with a refined hip hop aesthetic. 2013 also saw the release of the I Ain’t A Sweet Boy EP, a more concerted effort that added blistering percussion to his shimmering melodic prowess. Last week, the adeptly titled Sin EP hit the streets, Dark0’s biggest release to date, disseminated by the aforementioned Visionist’s Lost Codes imprint. Sin is a large record in more than just its scope, adding a rough hewn amphetamine edge to his already efined template To celebrate the release, he laced us with a 30 minute mix detailing in blurry cognizance a night out, matching distinctive grime instrumentals with some of the funnest rap tunes to come out in recent years. It’s a fragmented 30 minute journey through Juicy J chant-alongs at the club, bleary-eyed public transpo rides and the eventual attempt to piece together the events of the previous night. In this context, Dark0’s take on melodic grime makes the connection between the before, during and after of the club experience and while the individual components might come off as incomprehensible, the whole makes perfect sense.