Recommended: Lockah – Only Built 4 Neon Nights

“Put back the sunroof, let the cool air breeze through the buttersoft leather upholstery.”

Aberdeen’s Lockah casts us into darkness from the get go on his new EP “Only Built 4 Neon Nites”. Cicada’s sing, an engine roars, a hymn to Kraftwerk rises on the car radio and throws us onto the Autobahn as we are carried from the metropolis’ outskirts to its heart, surrounded by buzzing rods of light and immaculate glass construction. A luminous, red cloud of light pollution drifts overhead. Welcome to Lockah’s neon universe, we hope you enjoy the ride. As the label head of Tuff Wax Records, Lockah has mined Aberdeen’s flowering musical landscape with great success, including releases from fellow Aberdonian up-and-comers Bones & Money, Grobbie and Yoin. As a producer, Lockah sprang onto the scene with releases on Mishka and Mad Decent’s Jeffrees imprint, but this time he teams up with Brighton’s excellent (and mostly free) Donky Pitch, never a stranger to slamming, synth-driven, hip-hop bangers, for a collection of, well… exactly that. It’s big, it’s fun, it’s hedonistic and it’ll make the club rumble.

Stream: Lockah – Only Built 4 Neon Nites (Donky Pitch)

Young Neon Countach” kicks things off with blossoming builds and a stomping, laser-y breakdown that’s lathered in rolling hi-hats and a probing sub-bass that surges from the shadows. It’s emotionally stirring, beautiful, party music made for swaying around in bliss on the dance floor. Moreover, Lockah handles the trend of US-importation remarkably well. Footwork’s tension and release strategies, for instance, are executed expertly in the neon bliss of “Guards Red Carrera”. Lockah pulls off half-time switch ups with steeze, as blaring synth fanfares float atop tightly coiled Chi-town percussion before cooling off with glowing chord sweeps and choppy vocal samples. “Let the Cool Air Breeze” is reminiscent of fellow Scotsman Rustie in all his over-the-top maximalism (which he appears to have taken to yet another level) with its sweeping drops, lacerating synth work and crunchy snares. Lockah, however, seems happier to stick with his themes and melodies than Rustie, and it works for him too – thus creating tracks that are swirly and hypnotic rather than hyphy and driving. Something also must be said about Night Slugs, as Lockah sounds like Girl Unit in particular at his most bombastic. But more than synthy bigness, the Aberdeen producer echoes part of Night Slugs’ aesthetic, if on more of a retro bent. Think of the sex red Porsche gracing the cover, the constant references to neon, and perhaps even a tip of the hat to Jam City’s Ballardian mechanic fetishism in the engine revs that envelope the EP. Overall, “Neon Nites” is an impressive release, one that deserves to get rinsed at many parties to come, and one that seamlessly carries on Donky Pitch’s legacy of exporting great beat music into the new year.

Lockah’s Only Built 4 Neon Nites will be available on March 18th through Donky Pitch.

Tobias Shine

1 thought on “Recommended: Lockah – Only Built 4 Neon Nights”

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