There are many avenues to approach Anthoney Hart’s work, each offering different view of the same whole, which might be why his work appeals, and often frustrates, so many. Seemingly always busy, you may have come across Hart’s hazy, abstracted Imaginary Forces project, his brilliant collection of pirate radio recordings, or 2015’s dancefloor-focused Basic Rhythm album on Type, all remarkably distinct projects that somehow speak to a cohesive, or at least coherent, whole. Originally rooted in hardcore/jungle/drum & bass culture, Hart maintained a show on Rude FM in the late 1990s into the early 2000s before becoming bored with the rigidity of the format and striking out into more experimental territory. Mostly known as Imaginary Forces until last year, Hart joined up with John Twells’ Type label for Raw Trax, his first official project as Basic Rhythm and an album that has shown off his abilities as a musical polymath.
Influenced by a huge range of material, from Coil and Kate to Bush to D’Angelo and Kendrick Lamar to contemporary producers like Gage, Rabit and the Her Records crew, Raw Trax is a hypnotizing listen, full of sparse, forceful percussion arrangements and vocal samples that rarely sit high in the mix, but create a mesh of rich, organic textures throughout. Hart’s roots in pirate radio are readily apparent from raw, often manic, energy of tracks like “Raw Basics”, “Break It Down (4 Da Kru)” and “Prototype”, but Raw Trax is not a jungle record and the hardcore continuum is one of many influences to be found across its eight hypnagogic bombs.
With discussions over nostalgia in rave music coming to a fore via the Bloc founder’s acerbic letter a few weeks ago, commentators are quick to lump acts into the heap of revivalists, but Basic Rhythm neither glorifies the sounds of yore, whether they be hardcore, jungle, garage or something else, nor does he rest his music output in those sounds, instead grafting a whole spectrum of influences into his own unique project. Raw Trax is inherently referential by nature of its sample choices, but you won’t catch Hart looking forlornly to the past and if you want to hear straight up drum & bass you can check out his third alias. Hit the jump to check out our interview with Hart. We talked Basic Rhythm, Type, moving back to London and more. Track list coming soon.