With an Astral Plane mix in the books and a standout track on Heterotopia still fresh in our memory, Berlin’s Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf is one of our very favorite artists, drawing lines from Lorenzo Senni to Jersey club and NBA Jam. The critical theory minded producer fascination with the voice and, in particular, sports highlight clips, has shown up throughout his mix and production work and his latest effort, long form production mix Video, a combination of the sort of crystalline trance-scapes favored by the aforementioned Senni, oft-indecipherable vocal snippets and bone crunching percussive workouts based in Jersey club, kuduro and grime. Video can be read as shrewd commentary on audial representation and the human voice or the sensationalist, machismo-focused quality of sports highlights, but both critiques take on a different quality when enmeshed in 41:56 of industrial spatial dynamics and in-your-face club music. Unlike much of Biberkopf’s previous material though, Video never really breaks through into the world of club music, remaining firmly on the periphery. It’s a thrilling listen nonetheless, an at times shocking composition (entirely Biberkopf originals) that is delightfully incoherent and aesthetically cohesive at the same time, seeming to skip across the temporal plane with reckless abandon. Biberkopf is certainly an artist of our time and along with the likes of TCF, M.E.S.H. and Why Be, appears to be reworking a critical view of the club. Find a full track list for Video after the jump.
A female grime MC you say? She’s singing you say? I wouldn’t have believed it even six months ago, but in the year of the Yeezus it is meant to be. Bok Bok recently uploaded a 40 minute grime set recorded from a club set and lo and behold, Fade To Mind signed songstress and frequent Kingdom collaborator Kelela lays down vocals across the majority of the mix! Grime is obviously not generally produced with the intention of a female vocalist riding across the squarewaves and incandescent bass hits, but that idea is being challenged more and more these days. First we had Nguzunguzu’s rework of Samename’s “Make It Hot” featuring vocals from Ashanti and more recently, Kelela and Kingdom’s “Bank Head” from the Vertical XL EP, both tracks utilizing distinctly pop/feminine vocals on traditionally rougher grime production. Of course, there are moments when the Bok Bok/Kelela set falls a little flat (the portion at around 29:00 is pretty damn clunky), but the fact of the matter is that this a truly genre breaking moment for electronic music. If grime’s hard-nosed, eskibeat factions continue to collaborate with talented R&B singers, the results will be dramatic and widespread. As seen in this mix and the aforementioned tracks, the production/instrumental work doesn’t have to change, but an open minded spirit must be embraced. Maybe I’m exaggerating the importance of work like this, but I see grime’s sphere of influence expanding greatly in the coming months.