Scrolling back to 2012, the name NKC might have meant something to fans of the out-of-favor UK funky sound, a young, London-based producer, teaming up on records with Mak & Pasteman, releasing singles on a nascent label called Awkward Movements (now an NTS show) and being remixed by the legend Zed Bias (as Maddslinky). There’s not a ton of NKC material out there from that period, but there’s enough to piece together a narrative, and then… pretty much nothing. With the exception of a few one offs posted to Soundcloud and a light social media presence, the promising producer seemed to drop off the map almost entirely.
Reborn in the public eye late last year, NKC is now part of London’s undeniable Her Records crew and, based on the fact that his Twitter activity revolves almost entirely around the purported UK funky revival, appears to be just as invested in the twisted hybrid form as he was while releasing songs like “Marie” and “Errthing”. “For Yourself”, from last year’s Her Records Vol 3, was (to our knowledge at least) NKC’s first official release since 2012 and the song’s strutting energy and soot-caked percussion grabbed more than a few looks among the compilation’s twinkling melodic functions. October 2014’s self-released role model single established him further as a talent among new fans, made up of two drum workouts reminiscent of Neana’s Poindexter-cum-Wiley aesthetic.
And scrolling through the track list of his Astral Plane mix, a necessary follow up to last week’s Radar Radio session with Miss Modular, it’s immediately clear that NKC has found a number of contemporary artists working within a similar funky downstream. From Imaabs, Tomas Urquieta and Nunu’s hybrid takes on four-on-the-floor workouts to MikeQ and Divoli S’vere’s searing approach to dancehall, it’s clear that the rhythmically-focused, Afro-Caribbean way of UK funky is alive and well in NKC’s work and while explicit takes on the sound are still few and far between among young producers (who seem more likely to try their hand at grime at the moment), it’s clear that the sped up dembow, kuduro-derived polyrhythms and repetitious vocal snatches are still alive and well for many. Check the track list after the fold and grab yourself some mid-2000s classics, as well as their contemporary counterparts.