Low End Lowlife 01.08.11

Matthew Bayfield reports...

Posted on Aug 1st, 2011 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife 01.08.11 Identity, it would seem, is a most precious commodity in the modern world. Many of us completely overlook our own, in a bid to find one that fits with the people we wish to be identified. Ironically of course for these insecure simpletons, the need for a sense of being frequently crystallized through particular brands of clothing, bands & (very commonly ridiculous) lifestyle choices. Of course, once you've trawled forums & blogs for a band no-one has ever heard of, who you will champion until they actually get a record deal then brand them sold-out, picked up your checked Superdry shirt, fitted new era and brightly coloured Vans (carefully not forgetting to add some "random" coloured laces) and got some god awful song lyric about not wasting life tattooed in Latin on your person, you have indeed branded yourself with a firm identity. The fact that there are 800 others who have an almost identical visual mantra seems to breeze past, gently & blissfully undisruptive to your stream of consciousness. Either that or you missed it on the basis you are in the middle of a packed & sweaty dance, stood to one side of the dance floor "Tweeting" about how "buzzin" or "duttystinkin" the vibes of the place are, and that it's "like a Skins episode". To further reinforce this wondrously amorphous personality cult, the only people receiving that "tweet" are stood next to you re-tweeting the aforementioned tweet to some certified Twitters. But why would you notice them? They are just trying to look like every one else and jump on the bandwagon.

It is with great joy then, that the first record this week comes from an unknown source. Swamp 81, a record label fast becoming one of the most pivotal currently on the grind, have finally got round to releasing ‘Sicko Cell’ / ‘Knock Knock’ on 12" vinyl (180 gram no less) and download. Obviously confident in the tunes no artist has been identified as the creator, and, frankly, who gives a toss. What you get is a pair of rolling funky cum dubstep cum bit of house cum obscure genre tag rhythms, peppered with an almost abstract array of pitch bent vocal samples. 'Sicko Cell', which has been running dance floors across the UK for the last few months, starts with a single insistent bleep, a gentle synth then washes over the back as a rolling tap and bass combo (similar to the Pearson Sound) drags a screwed vocal about 'cocaine information' into a fidgety foot tapping centre. Add to this a variety of other vocals snips which almost feel as if they have been added at random, and a complete break in rhythm and you certainly have a contender for this years most unlikely incessantly catchy release. On the flip side ‘Knock Knock’ is a slightly more spaced out sound, again with a strange configuration of vocal clippings, rolling on a wash of synths, and an almost juke rhythm of the vein currently being popularised by the likes of Addison Groove. Admittedly if you have a sharp ear for production it doesn't take a massive leap to figure out the owner of the works, or if you are dull enough to trawl blogs & chatrooms you can soon find an answer, but why would that enhance the sound of a wonderful record?

Deep Medi Muzik similarly don't seem to care about identity this week either, with their new release from Old Apparatus. The last plate from this unknown person/group/species crept out with no prior warning, no credits or track names and a wonderful screen-print 12" sleeve. The new 10" (which also has a lovely irrelevant sleeve) comes with more of the minimalist industrial ambience of the aforementioned but with an evident step toward a more structured and accessible sound. On 'Zebulon' scratchy drum lines are textured with some very organic, tribal sounds and an ethereal smoky voice sample (which sounds oddly close to honeyed pipes of Julie Andrews) that all roll gently on a warm, shuddering sub-bass. 'Hammerhead' on the flip side comes descending out of the speakers on an almost constant throbbing bass, with only a few spare warping synth lines and the odd drum taps for company and serves as the perfect backdrop to a tense and frantic verse from emcee Mowgli. Following up the last release on the label from Pinch, and countless must haves before it, it would appear Deep Medi is having something of a vintage year. Again.

A few names which are slightly more recognisable dropped new cuts as well this week. Hatcha & Lost released the almost spiritual 12" 'Albarsha’ / ‘Welcome To Tibet' on Sin City, Skream returns to his exhaustively heavyset sounds with the aptly titled 'Exothermic Reaction' and slightly more dodgy (but only in title) 'Future Funkism' tracks for Nonplus+ Records and over on Joker's Kapsize imprint you can find Benga clattering around with two of his heaviest electro fuelled numbers in a while in the forms of 'Faithless' and 'Acid Lie'.

Anyroad, instead of dancing to all this wonderful stuff I'm going to go stand about with the girl with 'crazy' coloured hair and try and get my Tweet wet. Until I realise her hair is probably the only interesting thing about her and go back to running round pissed in my pants... Mental.