Every so often, a new sound emerges that galvanizes dancers and DJs and introduces original ideas into the conversation. More often than not, new sounds have been percolating up out of a localized scene for years before they gain ubiquity, a process that will be familiar to fans of ballroom, Jersey club, and, most recently, flex dance music (FDM). The latter has followed a familiar path, charting from its origins as a wildly dexterous dance style called flex in the early 1990s to a distinct genre over the past few decades. Gone are the days of public access television and shared bashment cassettes, but FDM has a new identity and new style, defined by a young, savvy group of producers and dancers who have brought the Brooklyn-born genre to global Rihanna tours and revered underground dancefloors the world over.
Brooklyn’s Epic B is one of the stars of the FDM world, emerging alongside Uninamise as Immortal Instruments in 2015, he has perfected a lean, powerful sound that merges a gruff ragga aesthetic with dramatic sample choices, often from fantasy movies and TV shows. 2016’s Riddims From the Gods Vol. 1 epitomized the Epic B sound with songs named after Greek Gods and an overwhelming sense of grandiosity. The songs are ambitious and over-the-top, but the sparse drum programming and ad lib-esque sample arrangements are so expertly concocted that it flows effortlessly. It was 2017’s Late Night FlexN that brought Epic B to listeners outside of the FDM and online club music community. Released by Manchester’s Swing Ting, who have been championing FDM in the UK for years, the EP is the most expansive FDM release to date, not only showcasing the aforementioned style but introducing Epic B as a vocalist and formalizing the link between dembow and the New York-born genre. The EP has since become a staple for DJs playing dancehall, reggaeton, rap and everything in between, providing a genuine pop moment in “One Time” and some of FDM’s most undeniable bangers in one fell swoop.
Beyond his production work, Epic B has also excelled as a DJ on The Lot Radio, co-hosting the Immortal Instruments show with Uninamise, which has become a go to for fans of the genre. And while he plays a range of new material from across the FDM spectrum on radio, we grabbed him for an almost all-original Astral Plane mix, featuring originals from Late Night and FlexN, Riddims From the Gods Vol. 1, as well as a host of exclusive material (“Mask Off Riddim” anyone?). It’s tightly organized and a sure bet to incite movement with its well timed pops, breaks and silences that work symbiotically with flex dancers. Download the mix here and hit the jump for a full track list. Follow Epic B on Soundcloud here.