Truancy Volume 105: DJ Chardi

Geddes Truancy Volume 105

Ged Gengras’ name has cropped up a lot lately. He’s been in bands such as Robedoor and Pocahaunted, he’s released on Truants-favourite Opal Tapes as Personable and then there’s the music he releases under M. Geddes Gengras. In typical fashion, Ged has had a busy 2014 as earlier in the year he released a beautiful ambient record Ishi on Matthewdavid’s Leaving Records and a second instalment of his Collected Works series is forthcoming on Umor RexThen there is Duppy Gun Productions, a label he started with frequent collaborator Sun Araw, which has a collective release Multiply out just this week via Stones Throw. Hugely pervasive, this all exemplifies how varied and prolific he is in his productions, and we’re incredibly excited that he’s agreed to do a mix for us under the guise DJ Chardi. With Duppy Gun, the pair have created some of the most weird and warped dancehall in recent memory and Ged kindly answered some of our questions about it and his other projects.

You’ve had a pretty busy year so far having released your record ‘Ishi’ a few months back and you’ve got the second Collected Works release on Umor Rex. Not to mention the Duppy Gun Productions compilation that you’ve put together along with Sun Araw all coming up. How did the compilation come about? It seems like it was a pretty big project to take on. Multiply has been simmering since January 2011 when Cameron and I first went to Jamaica to record what became Icon: Give Thank with The Congos under the auspices of RVNG Intl. Living under the rasta umbrella in Portmore, we were brought into this amazing community of artists. People were always hanging in the studio that we basically lived in, and it was inevitable that we started to expand the scope of our trip. The cuts (“Multiply”, “Spy”, “Earth”, “Up Wit U Baby”) that made up the first two Duppy 12’s were tracked on that trip. After we self released the first single, and with only one more left in the clip, we approached Stones Throw about working with them and financing another recording trip to the island. They were excited about the project and so we started making the riddims and hitting up some of our favourite LA producers to do the same. It was around early 2013 that we returned and spent two weeks exploring the island and recording new tracks. Multiply is the document of those trips and also the culmination of the first phase of Duppy Gun.”

It’s great that you got in a bunch of lesser-known dancehall vocalists in for the record. What was your process for discovering the vocalists? Were you already familiar with some of them? “The Duppy network has its hub in The Congos. Early One and Lukan I are both residents of Forum, a small shanty village built in the shadow of a condemned hotel. It’s very close to Congos HQ where Roy used to fish. Day One was always hanging around the HQ compound and I Jahbar is Ashanti Roy’s nephew. From there the circle spread out and these artists started bringing their friends and proteges around. They would introduce us as producers everywhere we went, which meant that we were getting pitched songs left and right on the street, at bars and even whilst playing dominos. It was a constant stream of music. As we became more comfortable with the island, we ventured out further and started recording people where they lived.”

One of the most interesting parts of the release is the promise of a ‘Visual Version Excursion’ by film maker Tony Lowe. Could you tell us a little more about this? “I met Tony Lowe in 2010 at a show my old band played in New York. I didn’t see him again until we were both in Jamaica. He had come along to document the Congo’s album and make what would become Icon Eye. What started as a documentary quickly expanded in scope to something that was more of a ‘visual dub’ of the process of recording and living that album. You know when you meet someone and right away you feel like ‘this guy GETS IT’? A freakish devotion to the cause and that same sense of life transformation that Cameron and I felt on the heels of “Icon”. It was obvious from the get-go that Tony would remain a philosophical & practical partner in this excursion. His contribution has been huge and on more fronts than is immediately presented, but he is an equal member of the team on all levels.

For this trip, since all the music was done and we were there to voice tracks only, we decided to skip renting a studio and bring a minimal laptop-based recording rig on the trip instead. Mbox, Shure SM7b, an XLR cable & two pairs of headphones. We bought a 50′ extension cord on our first day there. This ended up being one of the best decisions we made because, in addition to freeing up more funds to pay the vocalists upfront, we were never tied to a schedule and could set up anywhere we could find an outlet. Another benefit was that instead of shooting the inside of a vocal booth for two weeks, Tony was filming our artists recording in bars, derelict houses, by the beach, in the jungle, in a half-built home, on a farm or on the balcony of a rented estate in the mountains. It was just an endless parade of beautiful locations. Videos for some of the songs were culled from this footage, but the meat of the archive was relatively untouched. About a year after the trip, Cameron and Tony buried themselves in a studio in Bushwick for a week, enlisting deep crew Julian Paradise for some analog after burns, and cut together ‘Visual Version Excursion’. While I won’t try and speak to their ideas, I will say that what was so successful about Icon Eye and remains in ‘VVE’, is that there is a deep truth revealed in the mundane, the psychedelic and the borderline between the two. The picture that is painted is so true to the experience that I had there, in part because these experiences usually have no narrative, don’t make sense and are only able to be comprehended in the moment as a stream of random imagery and themes. We used dubs/versions of the tracks from the album along with unreleased riddims, so along with the video there is around 1.5 hours of music in there that isn’t on the LP. So in that way the film is every bit the equal of the record; a true companion-piece, and it turns a laser pointer on for those having trouble getting what this is all about.”

Has dancehall and Prince Jammy’s music been a lifelong passion? Can you tell us about your initial introduction and experience to this music and why you think it attracted you so much? “Dancehall has been something I’ve been obsessing over on and off for years, though it came into focus pretty hard during and directly after my first trip to Jamaica. I did however listen to a lot of college radio as a teenager and a lot of these stations would have reggae/dancehall/soca shows. The dancehall really grabbed me though; it seemed so foreign and oblique to me at that point and combined with the Jamaican DJ style, it really felt like just one of the most extreme, drastic forms of music I had ever encountered. Real minimalism, where every song is basically a loop of 4-6 elements and then there can be untold different songs sung over that loop. It’s endless.”

How long have you been collecting Jammy’s music? It seems like you’ve built up a pretty formidable collection of it. “I guess I started collecting dancehall stuff on that first trip to Jamaica. I had a few pieces I had picked up here and there, but on a trip to a record dealer’s place I ended up spending hours digging through a huge pile of 80s & 90s dancehall 45’s and that was probably the spark. Lots of cuts on Shocking Vibes, Xterminator, Jammy’s and Digital B. I never decided to collect Jammy’s stuff specifically but it’s one of those labels that makes a record worth checking out most of the time.”

Is Jamaica somewhere you spend a lot of time now? Can we expect similar kind of music from you in the future? “There is always another trip on the horizon, though at the moment it’s unclear when that one is. However the torch has been lit and must continue to burn. As I said, this is the culmination of the first phase of this whole thing, so now that it’s on its way into the world we can begin to formulate the next one. You can definitely expect to see more from Duppy Gun in 2015.”

How does this kind of music influence you, if at all, in the music you create as M Geddes Gengras, Personable etcetera? “Extended studio technique, creative solutions to sonic problems and creating new sounds with old gear. All this stuff really appeals to me. Dub music is all about a creative use of limited tools which is more than a skill; it’s my ethos in creating and recording music. Beyond that there is a spiritual involvement and inspiration that links, making music as divine expression and line of communication with that world. Though the sounds may be different, we are creating for the same reasons.”

Building on that, how does your approach to making music differ from when you’re producing with and for other people like with Duppy Gun than when you’re making your own music? Is modular gear still as important for you? “I try to approach every project from a fresh perspective and use the tools that are most natural to me and to what I’m trying to do, so it definitely shifts around a fair amount from project to project. I don’t think I’ve done anything in the past five or so years that wasn’t at least touched by the modular. That could just be because it’s the piece of gear I dump the most money into, but I am really comfortable with that set of tools and that style of workflow. This is especially the case when I’m working with somewhat more generic sounding elements such as Ableton and drum machines. Using the synth to process/modify/augment those sounds outside of a computer is a big part of what I do.

The Duppy process formed in a weird way. In large part it’s based on how Cameron and I usually work, but we make all of our riddims live, mixed in real time and recorded to a single stereo track. Generally I handle the rhythmic elements and mixing while Cameron covers the melodic content. Those lines can blur from time to time however.  The rhythms are made with a hybrid of drum machines and modular gear and everything is routed so that any sound can be sent out to four different effect chains in real time. We work up a frame, jam on it, talk about it, record it, and edit it after the fact. Mixing it live means that we are stuck with a lot of decisions, but it also provides a real human feel, with proportions constantly shifting and everything moving around together in space and time.”

Moving on to your other records, the upcoming Collected Works release is a bunch of unreleased stuff you made from 2011-2012. Did you make these with the intention of them being on a record like this or did the idea come long after they’d been recorded? “The record was conceived in late 2011 as an album. Some of the material had been made prior to that but the idea was always to release it as it comes out now, I was just unable to find a home for it at the time. I had been integrating modular elements into my music for a while, but this was my first attempt at creating a whole world out of them. Using a small system of modules and an old tape echo, I was really trying to explore the limits of my technique and the instrument itself while defining a new form of interaction with it.”

Your other record this year “Ishi” is a beautiful release and, from what we’ve gathered, an incredibly personal one for you. What kind of mindset were you in when you made the album? Any particular backstory that may be attached with the record? “I was trying to create something that was calm. It was a reaction to loss and mental illness and my initial idea was to make music that was small and gentle, but to properly honour those losses meant respecting the chaos as well. The original tracks were processed over and over again and the spread of digital glitch, analog, tape echos and pitch shifting were used to emulate that aspect of it, such as the creeping edges that spill out around every note. These simple melodies became cathedrals of sound and I could hear the buzz of real life inhabiting each corner.”

You’ve recorded the mix you’ve done for us under DJ Chardi. Who or what is DJ Chardi? “DJ Chardi is me toting around a big box of $.50 dancehall 45’s.”

What were you trying to convey with this mix? “This mix is sourced from my collection of Jammy’s dubplates. Dubplates were records (often acetates) pressed for a specific party or sound and often played once or twice and filed away. These often consisted of popular songs of the time which DJs then toasted over, chatting up the sound they are representing. These also included covers, exclusive edits and anything that the selector could use to pump up the crowd and talk down any sound that dared step to them. These were throwaway tracks recorded in the time it takes to listen to them, mixed for maximum dance floor impact and usually cutting out somewhere in the second or third verse with a brutal fade. These records represent some of the weirdest and rawest dancehall and roots music I’ve ever heard, presented in all their thrashed and noisy glory.”

You mentioned the throwaway and for-purpose a lot of the music in the mix is. Is that what drew you to a lot of this music? “That’s a part of it.  I love how rough the productions are, and the idea that some of these tracks might not exist anywhere else.  The trashed labels and generic sleeves make each one a mystery to be uncovered. In general these are weirder, the crooners croon more outrageously, the lyrics are goofier, the backup vocalists are laughing, the mix is totally wrong. Even the format of these acetates means that after 50-100 plays at most, they will be unlistenable. It’s like a ‘disintegration loop’ you can dance to.”

We’re in a place now where everything is cataloged and archived and to an extent the idea that tracks can be played a couple of times and be forgotten about is disappearing. Do you think we could benefit from taking a step back from that? “I think everyone could spend more time appreciating art instead of seeing/hearing/collecting/archiving it, for sure, but I don’t have a problem with those limits being explored and people logging their research. Finding great-but-lost music is a public service. I do worry that accessibility makes people treat things less preciously, but for someone getting into music for the first time, trying to find what they like, this is the best possible time to do it.”

You’ve covered so many different bases recently that it’d be impossible for us to predict, so what next for you? “More bases, more Duppy Gun, more records, new Personable LP on Peak Oil in January and an MGG 2x LP at some point after that. Hopefully a lot of free time to play in the studio and figure out what’s next.”

Words by Antoin Lindsay, 18 November 2014. Leave a comment

Temporary Trax: Sudanim – My Place

Sudanim Truants Temporary Trax Taylor Trostle

Temporary Trax #3 arrives by way of “My Place” by Sudanim and it once more confirms both the diversity and quality to be found in the Her Records discography. Keeping with previous editions of the feature, it also showcases the many different influences that inform the music they produce today. So far we’ve learned of Miss Modular’s love for Prince and CYPHR’s desire to work with more vocalists, but what you find here is potentially more surprising than before. You’ll no doubt recognise Sudanim for club-based EPs such as “The Link” and “Pleasure Flood” but “My Place” marks somewhat of a departure from the tough material he’s put out prior. That’s not to say that there aren’t any similarities. Sudanim’s killer sense of utilising size and space in his productions is not only evident but amplified, as is his ability to manipulate the sounds used in to the likes of which you’ve never heard before. All in all, “My Place” is dark, abstract and beautiful in equal measures and we’re delighted to have it as part of this series. We had what turned out to be quite a lengthly chat with Suda about all manner of things, from the track itself to what makes him tick as a producer. Read the condensed version below and also find out how he had a big part to play in the Temporary Trax concept.

“I made this when we (Her Records crew) were all studio sitting for Kito while she was on tour. It was sick to make tracks with the others and bounce ideas around. Miss Modular and CYPHR both came out with some mental material in that month. I make a lot of stuff in this vein but never have a place for them so I’m particularly excited to put this out, if only for two weeks! It’s a reflection of what I’m listening to when I’m by myself, people like Ekkehard Ehlers. Some of his tracks alone have really changed what i’ve been doing these past 6 months. This one’s an interpretation of “Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead and the mood that it gives me when I listen to it. It’s one of the few tracks that I can listen to therapeutically. Doesn’t matter how many times I hear it the chords will always work magic for me. The time signature’s crazy too and I tried to interpret that in some way. I also wanted to mention the Temporary Trax concept a little bit. I’m stunned by and applaud the fact that Truants don’t have any ads, sponsors or anything. The whole site and brand is so strong. Tobias Shine was also the first journalist to feature us properly with the Functions of the Now mix so I thought that one thing we could do as a label is to give you fun reasons for people to donate.”

[STREAM REMOVED ➝ NEXT INSTALMENT COMING SOON]

Temporary Trax: Ever since the inception of Truants, we have been proudly dedicated to providing you with the best content while remaining free of advertising and other external influences. We’ve managed to do this through a certain level of self-funding, as well as through donations from our wonderful readers. It goes without saying that this means an awful lot to us and we’ve been hard at work to offer you something a little more tangible in return. Temporary Trax is a new feature in which we offer you the chance to download something completely exclusive in exchange for a donation. 100% of your donation goes towards our running costs. Each track will stay live for two weeks and once we roll it out you can no longer get the previous offering. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. We’re delighted to be working with graphic designer Taylor Trostle to deliver you an exclusively designed piece of artwork with every new instalment. Mixing engineer Jeremy Cox also continues the impeccable work he does with Her Records and others on “My Place”.

If you have donated £15 or more in the past and would like to reclaim your Temporary Trax downloads for free, please mail us at trax@truantsblog.com and we will get back to you with a download link shortly. 

Words by Matt Coombs, 17 November 2014. Tags: | Leave a comment

Recommended: Avalon Emerson – Let Me Love & Steal EP

avalon-truants

On October 12, we were presented with yet another sublime record from a young producer whose relatively meek recognition seems to not yet be totally commensurate with her solid product. The discerning Truants reader has been introduced to Avalon Emerson, the San Francisco transplant now living in Berlin, already through Truancy Volume 89, and her new EP “Let Me Love & Steal” for the imprint she was tapped to inaugurate earlier this year, Spring Theory, is yet another reason to tune in if you haven’t been already.

Historically, for however short her career as a producer and DJ has been, Emerson has had a way with drums, whether that means subtly alternating second and fourth beats or seamlessly weaving in syncopated tribals like on the previous “Church of SoMa” cut. While this EP is another testament to this, it’s also a continuation of her affinity for and deftness of vocal sampling. The record’s namesake flaunts an unintelligible pair of vocal snippets, looped and bounced off each other to a head-spinning effect if not ad nauseam, that are just as flustering as the pummeling kicks employed underneath.“Let Me Love & Steal” is Emerson at her deepest, thematically and sonically, and it falls in line with her own statement that this album is more suitable to be heard through a pair of headphones compared to her previous efforts. The Triple Scorpio mix of the title track is one which truly enthralls, first luring in with perfectly swung drums and a whirl of soft sounds, eventually switching up to play out a contorting rehash of the original’s melody. Honestly, it wouldn’t be an Avalon Emerson record without the b-side disparately complementing the front: the producer takes a chance to inflect her techno foundations with a lurching beat and a long, warbling line on “Honest Gangster”.

Buy ‘Let Me Love & Steal’ on Bandcamp.

Words by Michael Scala, 10 November 2014. Leave a comment

Truancy Volume 104: Big Strick

big strick

Last week, Fact Magazine posted their much passed-around 100 underrated DJs list, which we were very glad to see included Leonard Strickland – alias Big Strick. Raised in an influential household that had the Motown sound on the hi-fi all day everyday, Leonard began DJing in the early eighties which soon followed with throwing his own parties and playing events around Detroit. Things slowed down at the beginning of the nineties with Big Strick moving most of his attention to raising a family, yet with some motivation from his younger cousin Omar-S around 2008, Leonard decided to give music another chance – resulting in his 7 Days EP and his debut release on FXHE. Since then, a lot of his time has been directed towards his own label 7 Days Entertaintment, on which he releases music primarily from himself but also offers an outlet for artists such as Generation Next and Reckless Ron. Alongside delivering us our 104th Truancy Volume, we caught up with Big Strick to chat about the label, playing in Europe with his son and making his first house track ever with Omar-S. 

Hey Leonard, just want to start with saying thanks for letting us host the mix, greatly appreciated. I wanted to start with something I read in a 2011 interview of yours, where you stated that the party scene had been taken over by the hip-hop scene. Besides the smaller clubs, there was really no major club venue for underground house and techno music in Detroit. Have things gotten better from your perspective, has there been any development in this aspect? “Yeah, things are looking up for Detroit as far as the club scene is concerned, although it is still a slow process. Let me explain – the club’s main focus is to make money and the problem here in Detroit is that there is a strict law in place where the clubs can’t serve alcohol past 2 A.M. This means that the bars and clubs always close around that time. There are a few after hour spots here and there, but they are here one day and gone the next. In most major cities in America alcohol policies are more lenient than here, and a lot of major cities can go till 4 or 5 o’clock, sometimes even longer. I see there is a German investor that is interested in building a major club here in one of our historical landmarks so maybe that is a sign of a change to come.”

I know you started mixing using one turntable and a tape deck at the age of thirteen. Could you tell us a little bit about the time between then up to your mid twenties? You must have lived in a real hub of musical creativity. “Yeah, it was my 8th grade graduation party 1983-84. I thought I was doing something! My father always had music around me, be it from records to 8 track tapes instruments etcetera. He was heavy into jazz and I remember riding around with him listening to Count Basie, Miles Davis and Art Blakey – you know, the heavy cats! My mom was the Motown sound kind of music lover so that would be on the stereo when I would come home from school and first thing Saturday morning. The scene was popping in the 90s, very diverse and not necessarily just dance music. All urban music had an impact on the scene in Detroit. You could go in the club and hear Blake Baxter and get in your car to listen to Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”. You know, music with a message! Good times in the early 90’s for sure.”

For those not clued up on past Detroit nightlife could you tell us a little bit about the Music Institute? “The Music Institute was a one of the true spots where you could go hear some good deep house music and see the who’s who of the time, whether it was the big name cats or up and coming DJs like me in those days. My fondest memories of the Music Institute was when I got the chance to catch the late great Ken Collier. He played some real heavy shit. A lot of stuff I had never heard at that time and still haven’t heard since, straight up deep! Another time I got the chance to catch Farley Jackmaster Funk, a Chicago legend. His set too was a masterpiece. When I say you could see anybody on any given night that’s what I mean.”

I’m trying to put everything in a timeline but I understand you were also the DJ and producer for a rap called P Square in the 90s? At the time how did this come about?  “Yeah, P Square was short for the Political Posse that consisted of M.C. Stone, The High Priest Saint Nick, The Dam J.I.G. and myself. At the time my DJ name was DJ Delirious, haha! Our crew was and still is much deeper than that, though. We met through a mutual friend Marc Roberts also known as “The White Guy” (R.I.P) and they had just gotten rid of their DJ at the time and it kind of fell in place from there. We were heavy into making music and we had some dope shit! Music with a positive message.”

Can you tell us a little bit about Mark King too? From what I’ve gathered you recorded the first house track you did with Omar S in his studio. “Mark King, that’s my man! Funny you asked as I just saw him for the first time in some years at the FHXE studio. He’s got some music coming real soon. We did our first track at Mark’s studio somewhere around 91-92. It was called “ It’s A Party Ya’ll’. It was pretty good too! How ironic is it that he is now in Omar S studio doing tracks? Got to love it.”

Moving onto 7 Days Ent. Do you feel you’ve achieved what you set out to do when you decided to start your own record label? “No way, not even close! When you set out to do something like this, the sky is the limit so to speak. There is so much to do and not enough time in the day. You’ve just got to keep pushing and be ready when your time comes. You have to believe in yourself, keep a positive vibe and surround yourself with positive people. We have a lot of work to do but trust me we will make an impact in this thing called “the industry” in due time.”

Speaking of Generation Next, a lot is coming together for him with the Nocturne EP release and his big European debut at Panorama bar earlier this month. I noticed you were playing for Smallville a couple days prior to his own gig. How was that experience for you both? “Man, what a feeling to be able to fly to Europe with one of your gifts from God and see people show him so much love. Words cannot describe the feeling! Yeah the Smallville gig was a huge success. Shout out to those guys, they showed us mad love. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to catch him in action at Panorama Bar as I had to play the same night in Geneva with Oram Modular. So yeah, I missed him but from the response he has been getting it sounds like he left a good impression!”

What’s happening with Reckless Ron Cook? “Glad you asked as we have something new from Ron coming early 2015. We’re still trying to plan a 7 Days Ent. label night tour with Ron, Generation Next and myself for hopefully April 2015. If any promoters are interested in booking this event please visit our artist page. Had to get that in.”

Finally, what else can we expect from Big Strick over the next year? “More music and more traveling with Generation Next. Hopefully we will be in your city soon! PEACE!”

Words by Riccardo Villella, 07 November 2014. 1 comment

Recommended: Murlo – Into Mist EP

MURLO-truants

It’s hard to be conservative with superlatives for an artist as singular as Murlo. With releases on Mixpak, Glacial Sound and Unknown to the Unknown as well as a host of other songs and refixes and an early entry in our Functions of the Now series, it’s safe to say Murlo had 2013 on smash. Even taking into account the numerous singles and remixes from further back, Murlo’s tunes all seem to tie into this vast, colourful and extroverted nebula of vitality. Further exploring the synth-heavy, especially melodious strain of grime and occasionally bringing dancehall into the fray, his music is just like his label release history: unable to sit still, never settling, always on to the next thing. He also seems constantly busy, regularly DJing whether that’s with Hipsters Don’t Dance or the Boxed crew. Coming from a background in illustration and continuing to work in creative fields outside of sound, he produced the video for “Into Mist”, title track of his new EP on Rinse.

“Into Mist’s” vibrancy comes from its playfulness, kicking off with restrained percussion before Murlo lets loose with the marimba-type sounds, all light and airy and cushioned by incidental strings. Soft, sensual and exciting, it’s the dream they try to sell you in chocolate adverts. He only lingers on the Malteser riddim briefly however, as those signature harmonious synths have to come in along with the claps and shuffles, turning the track into bouncy, free-flowing glee. Chiming percussion reappears on “Vertigo” and “Roman Baths”, on the former as a sugary supplement and on the latter as a more tempered refrain. The final track on the EP is all minimal string plucks dancing across the layers like light rain. Murlo is a wizard with those sounds, knowing when too much is too much, and when too much is seriously fun. If Mumdance gets to be Grimey Jeff Mills then we’re nominating Murlo for Grimey Steve Reich.

Murlo’s works have reached a stage where it’s fair to expect a certain standard of quality from new releases. The reason why his Into Mist EP excels so much is that he doesn’t just meet those expectations for club bangers, he surpasses them by expressing his versatility more vividly than ever before. Each track on the record proceeds with different pacing, offering something new each time. “Vertigo” follows on from “Into Mist” retaining the energetic aspects, marrying them with a garage cadence and spliced vocals. Even then, there’s still some marching snare-work and videogame-like synths on an adventure tip. The latter two tracks take a decidedly considered approach leaving some room to breath. “Roman Baths” sees a contemplative Murlo take some time out for melancholic reflection as a sample of a girl’s laugh seems to echo throughout in some nostalgic way. Closing with sighing piano notes, “Roman Baths” is a much welcomed unexpected turn. The curveball comes in right at the end though, in the form of “Dripstone (The Chase Scene)”. Here, some padded kicks and throws are kept while most of the rest of the percussion are thrown out in exchange for solid, straight-faced samples from the inner city, from breaking glass, twisting locks to shutting doors. Passing traffic wooshes hover just outside of Murlo’s bubble of bashful strings and shimmering landmarks. In a way, it’s as if Murlo juxtaposes this world of rustic peace with rush of the city creeping around it, in the form of those urban cues.

Juxtaposition of coexisting entities is something that regularly appears throughout Murlo’s work, one way or another. Sometimes there’s this meshing of styles and genres as mentioned, or how “Into Mist’s” inclusion in Elijah & Skilliam’s Fabriclive 75 is yet another signal of inter-relatability across perceived generations in grime. His illustrations and expressed interests have involved ancient civilisations (the “Into Mist” video is heavy on Roman influence) and fantasy worlds alongside videogames, translated towards the peripheries of grime, a genre that exists both on futuristic frontiers and properly grounded in concrete jungle sprawls. Often, the world humours its impulse to impose constraints on artists – what their function is, the way they work, what it is they can be. Murlo is flourishing, paving new ground in any direction he wishes, and his Into Mist EP is a shining example on the merits of simply letting the artist be.

Murlo – Into Mist EP is out now on Rinse. Grab it here.

Words by Tayyab Amin, 06 November 2014. Leave a comment

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