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GROVESTREET

In an era of rapid production and even quicker consumption, it’s easy to forget that the process of delivering music, and art in general, to the public can, and often should, be a drawn out, long winded procedure. As pleasurable as the instant gratification system of Soundcloud is, it’s easy to become lost under the deluge of one offs, release previews and mixes, a crush that blogs like ourselves certainly facilitate and urge on. As far as both releases and mixes go, we’ve reached a boiling point of sorts wherein listeners can’t possibly have the time to take in every new bit and artists often feel pressured by the constant scroll to release music that either isn’t ready, or shouldn’t be released at all. On the mix front, the deluge leads to a glut of uninspired production mixes, rehashes of scene trends and efforts that somehow manage to blur lines between artists instead of defining them.

Oxford’s GROVESTREET has been an Astral Plane favorite since we premiered his track “If U Wanna Try” towards the end of 2013 and his stripped down percussion tracks and energetic grime numbers have quickly infiltrated the club massive in the years since, garnering attention from artists and journalists alike. Official releases on Tight Knit Records and Trax Couture are both excellent touchstones for entry into the GROVESTREET sound, but besides a few low bit rate uploads, the young producer has kept his release rate relatively slow. And while tracks like “Ground Zero” and “Disqualified” can be found in the mixes of many contemporaries (the former was remixed by Byrell The Great and M.E.S.H.), GROVESTREET’s most insightful work to date might be his DJ mixes, which tend to sprawl across genre, but always involve the same roughhewn, minimalist spirit.

Not that the track selection or mixing itself is minimal, drawing lines between Memphis rap, modern R&B, ballroom, Jersey club, reggaeton, industrial-tinged grime and, sometimes, trance. GROVESTREET’s productions are high energy club burners, built out in an overdrive fashion with plenty of peculiar samples and his mix work not only allows the listener to peek into his library, but also his creative subject matter. There are plenty of contemporaries involved in his Astral Plane mix, from Endless rep Lexxi to ballroom don MikeQ and up-and-comcer Sugar Shane. Sissy Nobby, Black Jonas Point and Tommy Wright III sit comfortable together as ballroom classics are mixed with tranced out hard house and earworm R&B is twisted into the intervals. And whereas the final product (a GROVESTREET production) is aesthetically singular, it’s important to delve into a musical polyglots library to work out the building blocks.

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It’s hard to believe that Rushmore‘s Trax Couture label is already at the seventh edition of its World Series, partially because each and every edition has been thoroughly on point and partially because it’s seems like only last week that the label head kicked off the series. The last three volumes have come from Air Max ’97, Akito and Dreams respectively so Vol. 7 had to come with a real punch and GROVESTREET is the perfect man to do it. Five drastically different tracks make up GROVESTREET’s World Series Vol. 7, from peak time percussive banger “Soliloquy” to “Blue Ribbon”, a bouncy, acid-tinged techno number that flips into a twinkly, beatless track midway through. And then there’s “Disqualified”, a track that announces its own grandeur within 30 seconds with a barrage of brass, sub bass and snares. Fittingly, “Disqualified” closes out Vol. 7and after the percussive madness of the previous four tracks, it could be viewed as a palette cleanser of sorts, but it could also be utilized in peak time, its swaggering cool ready to be deployed in a big room setting. GROVESTREET’s World Series Vol. 7 is out Wednesday, April 29 on Trax Couture.

WALLPAPER new 4

There’s nothing normal about a 17-year-old from Oxford falling in love with Memphis hip hop. Largely removed from the genre defining (and defying) London and Bristol scenes, the mecca of higher education couldn’t be further removed from the 808 bass thumps and slumped pacing of Project Pat, Yo Gotti and Lil Wyte. That didn’t stop Jamie Smith aka GROVESTREET from developing a taste for the city’s darkest and dirtiest, a fascination that has manifested itself in a distinctly British manner. Instead of following the template established by early Memphis acts, Smith has imprinted dystopian, horror-sampling tendencies on a modern club trax template. In the end, the result is more mechanized techno than anything Juicy J ever recorded on magnetic tape. “IF U WANNA TRY” is a track in the fullest sense of the word, made up almost entirely of kicks, snares, a demanding Memphis sample and eerily translucent synth work. It all seems to hurdle forward at reckless speeds, but the rhythmic components are actually quite compact and digestible. “IF U WANNA TRY” is one of the first handful of trax we’ve heard from GROVESTREET, but considering his technical acuity and willingness to stretch the norms of sample-based music, I’d expect him to be around for quite some time.