Having performed on the Overdrive Infinity platform and contributed a track to SND.PE VOL.05, Loom’s alliance with the Sound Pellegrino family feels about as natural as an artist-label relationship can and on June 3 he’ll be releasing the Burnt Glass EP through the Parisian outpost. Comprised of three stunning originals and remixes from Le Dom, Lloyd SB and Doline, Burnt Glass is another huge notch in the Suffolk producer’s belt, continuing to blur the lines between experimental weightless forms and breakout club material, all with sonic palette that is quickly becoming his own. Burnt Glass is at times delicate and at times full throttle aggressive, subverting listeners’ expectations with rapid switch-ups and a sort of manic sound design that sounds as fresh as ever.
As far as out and out dancefloor efficacy goes, “Hardest In The Year” might reign supreme and Parisian producer Le Dom has offered up an expertly crafted flip of the track, reinforcing the original’s metallic framework without succumbing to industrial austerity. Having previously released on Liar’s club tool-focused Tessier-Ashpool label, as well as placing “Bayern” on SND.PE VOL.05, Le Dom is perfectly primed to take on the peak time energy of “Hardest In The Year” and by stripping back some of its more consuming elements the sharp edged percussion and bleeping melodies are allowed some refreshing space. Burnt Glass is out June 3 and can be pre-ordered here.
In an interview with Passion of the Weiss’ Son Raw last October, Ipswich-based artist Loom responded to a question about the dichotomy of classic grime influences and sonic motifs that could be considered outside of the purview of the first wave: “It’s easy, I know what elements of Grime I want to use in my music. I know what I want to hear and the same goes for all the other influences I draw from.” It’s a simple statement, but its intent is what is important, a driving desire towards experimentation in a genre rife with both incidental and purposeful postulation. And as someone who references Erik Satie, The Knife and Wiley as influences, it’s no surprise that there’s something tangibly different about Loom’s output, a sound tangentially tied to eskibeat, but with an element of sprawling, panoramic synthscapes reminiscent of Tangerine Dream (without the cheese). It’s no surprise that Loom found a home at Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper Records, a label that, while only restarted last year, has already set the tone as a forebear of what’s to come in the world of grime-not-grime.
Last week, we referenced the inherent griminess of Astral Plane mixer Saga’s production work, a sonic element that informs his work from start to finish. Loom’s productions are also full of digital dirt, dust and grime, whether in the form of roughhewn square waves or pirate radio chatter. Whereas Saga’s work can probably be considered purposefully blunt, the brilliance in Grade, “Mazed” (from Boxed Vol. 2) and the still-to-be-released “Pompelmo Riddim” (a joint production with Tarquin) is the elegant beauty that arises in Loom’s major chords. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Loom doesn’t feel the need to submerge the overt beauty of his work below, within or behind what we consider the “classic” grime components, instead making them one and the same. As grime and our apparatus for identifying what is and what is not in its sphere moves forward, it wouldn’t surprise us in the least if Loom’s catch-all approach becomes more popular.
“Fukushima”, the final track on Grade, is Loom’s excursion into the weightless/beatless territory explored by Mumdance, Logos, Dark0, Deadboy and others recently, matching soundtrack-level dramatics with the pacifying nature of new age. It’s made up almost entirely of square waves, but is further from classic grime than any other song on the EP, and, while it takes some influence from Wiley’s “Devil Mixes”, it wears its exterior influences on its sleeve. Loom’s Astral Plane mix features a wide array of grime-songs-taking-influence-from-elsewhere like Deadboy’s sparkly, choral “Return”, as well as songs-from-outside-the-grime-sphere-that-take-influence-from-grime like Untold’s “Stereo Freeze”. It’s a thoroughly engaging listen from start to finish and includes moments of chin on fist contemplation and hands in the air frenzy. It’s Loom’s ability to cohere disjointed constituent elements into a singular whole that makes this mix and his body of work unique.
The practice of cutting dubs is often viewed as a rather arcane, outdated practice to many people in my age bracket (early 20s), enmeshed in a culture of exclusivity and privilege. More often than not, owning a selection of dubs is presented less as a means of playing out on-the-cusp tracks than a fundamental status symbol, awarding the owner a step up over the plebes without Loefah b-sides. Of course, digital dub culture isn’t any less insidious and the more the forums, groups and download sites infringe on the cool kids table, the more unfortunate conflict arises among young kids and scene veterans, DJs and producers, the United States and the UK. South London’s Riz La Teef seems to be one of the few good natured proponents of dub culture and he has filtered that responsibility into a few dozen, exclusive-laden, mixes over the past 24 months. Rinsing everything from roots reggae to jump up bassline, Riz’s adherence to vinyl and access to dubs from the likes of JT The Goon, Rabit and Novelist make him one of the most in demand and well respected deejays in both his native London and among the hordes of dispersed garage fans across the internet. We asked Riz about his favorite dubs from the past year and he was kind of enough to list them out and take some lovely photos of his hand-marked classics to be. Not all of these tracks will be revealed in the next months, but they will certainly live on in infamy, thanks to Riz’s spacious repertoire, innate deck skills and engaging demeanor. Peep his choices and a slideshow of each and every dub listed.
Gundam – Pulse Wedding VIP (RIZLA SPESH)
Def one of my favourite dubs I’ve cut this year. Played it a day after I cut it in a dance and it got reloaded 4/5 times.
Brackles & Fox – Skank + Famous Eno Remix
Not really a dubplate, but both tunes have a top vibe.
E.M.M.A – Pyramids, Peridot & Light Years
Pyramids is the coldest beat made this year imo and not alot of Emma’s stuff hasn’t been pressed to wax so I had to cut the other two beats!
Fallow – Strings Hoe Refix (RIZLA SPECIAL)
Fallow is a guy to watch out for next year for sure both his refixes and original tunes are quality. Big up to him for doing me special of strings ho refix.
Grandmixxer – Windrush VIP
Melody is so good, has been in my head for weeks.
Boycott – Kowloon Bae (RIZ VIP)
The original is such a sick tune and the guys blessed me with a VIP. Proper colourful vibes.
Iglew – Sleep Lighter VIP
Again Iglew is another guy to watch out for in 2015. Everything he’s done this year has been pretty special – Urban Myth, Cascade etc
JT The Goon – Twin Warriors VIP & Polar
JT is one of the best snm. Polar is a rude beat.
Apple – De-Siegalizer (Logos Refix)
Great cheeky refix and the mastering by Jason on the dub is so good.
Loom & Tarquin – Pompelmo Riddim
Fruity, eski dancehall from another two guys who I expect to do big things next year.
Mssingno – XE2 VIP BIELDUB REMIX PART 1
Actually cut this last year, but battered that dub so much had to cut it again!
Rabit – Black Dragons
Again not a dubplate anymore but was so gassed when Glacial sent me this month or so before its release. GULLY
Shriekin’ – Red Beach VIP
Maybe my favourite tune of the year??
Silk Road Assassins – Deadcell
The waviest beat made this year.
Wen – Backdraft/Walton – Bulldoze
Novelist – Yakuta
So excited to be able to cut this, Novelist is huge rn and gonna be even bigger next year. Excels in both MCin’ & production.
Murlo – Into Mist/Roman Baths
Was lucky enough to cut these before they came out. Into Mist has been in my bag as soon as I got it.
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.