One of the most sorely under-represented labels in the crowded mass of 2011 year end lists was Unknown to the Unknown, which was started just last year by DJ Haus from Hot City. Specializing in straight-up dancefloor killers that draw from all varieties of weird, Unknown to the Unknown has been putting out new releases at a breakneck speed from such esteemed and hyped artists as Dubbel Dutch, DJ Stingray, NGUZUNGUZU, and Slackk (but the list really goes on and on). The latest addition to this already stellar roster of artists is 5kinAndBone5, whose new single “Make U Understand” / “Reset” came out earlier this week. The LA/San Francisco-based duo stirred things up in October with their debut “Stomp” / “Pop Painkillaz” on Sinden’s Grizzly imprint, showing off an impeccable ear for swag-infused hip hop productions. “Make U Understand” and “Reset” – two heavy-handed bangers steeped in R&B, garage, and even a little bassline – are definitely a drastic departure from 5kinAndBone5’s Grizzly release, but the result is a remarkable success that stands out even among UTTU’s impressive catalog.
“Make U Understand” goes hard from the start with a tidy, shuffling rhythm that’s sparse enough to keep its rugged edge but full enough to give the track an expansive, cavernous feeling. This is familiar rhythmic territory, but 5kinAndBone5 venture outside of the standard boundaries with a mutant, detuned synth that pulses and flops around on top of the skipping rhythm, giving off some seriously eerie vibes. Throughout the track the duo punctuate this other-worldliness with a smooth R&B vocal sample that balances out the track nicely and grounds it with the right amount of pop appeal.
Following this same winning formula, “Reset” leads off with a more prominent vocal sample that’s been pitch-bent and distorted to perfection. Rhythmically, this track falls right in line with the understated heaviness of “Make U Understand,” but the rough-edged, muscular nature of the synth lines amplify its dancefloor potency. With a total running time of less than 8 minutes, this is a lean, straight-to-the-point single that delivers on all fronts and makes us crave more from this exciting young duo.
5kinAndBone5 – Make U Understand / Reset (Unknown to the Unknown) is out now.