M.I.C & Nammy Wams – You Can Achieve Anything
M.I.C’s latest project – titled “You Can Achieve Anything” – is a collaborative record with Nammy Wams, a producer best known recently for his instrumental drill tape “Paradise South”. What makes M.I.C’s music great is his approach. While “You Can Achieve Anything” shares the rapid-fire flows and searing delivery of his peers in the grime scene, M.I.C filters his influences through grime rather than the sound being the sole influence. For Witchclart, it was shoegaze; for You Can Achieve Anything, it’s an industrial web of pitch-bent synths. Neither approach is necessarily better than the other, but M.I.C’s ability to assimilate his sweeping influences into the grime template is a welcome fixture among the rich tapestry of the sound.
Opening track ‘No Numbers’ detonates a scathing takedown of the right-wing while also calling out the capitalist class and critiquing organised religion. ‘K*rn’ – featuring Jawnino and JME – sees M.I.C discussing the state’s treatment of young Black kids, while the featuring emcees offer impactful guest verses.
Stand out track ‘The Only Perfect Place On Earth’ is a love letter to North London. An ode to the food spots, nature hangouts and architecture of the area, the track captures the subtle aspects of the environments people live in, noting the importance of preserving said places in the face of rising gentrification. Final track ‘Fan Service’ has a simple memo: shut down the speakers with banging lyrics and a rough beat. “You Can Achieve Anything” is a project by two artists at the vanguard of underground music, covering a wide range of topics over a varied selection of instrumentals.
Manga Saint Hilare x Lewi B – Glow In The Dark
Manga Saint Hilare’s latest project — titled “Glow In The Dark” — is produced by Lewi B, best known as a grime production wizard and one of Manga’s frequent collaborators. What I love about Manga’s music is his comfort with dropping pretence. He pulls back the curtain with each release, telling the relatable stories over ice-cold grime beats.
Opening track ‘Community Guidelines’ stares into the ether of the soul. Manga discusses life, death, grief and legacy, articulating the acute feeling of mortality after the passing of a loved one. Hope is the closing message, as Manga mentions the importance of his immediate community.
Standout tracks ‘Happy Place’ and ‘Look’ feel like two sides of the same coin. Manga’s hype talk is rooted in substance, as he details how he reached a point of self-belief from riding the downtimes. Both beats use scorched-earth synths and hefty percussion, drawing from both grime and drill to create an impactful hybrid of the two styles.
The message of ‘Human Resources’ closes out the record with clarity: ignore life’s distractions and grapple with the challenges with positivity. On “Glow In The Dark”, Manga’s comfort with soul-baring delivery has a two-way effect: catharsis for the artist and nuggets of wisdom for the listener. He says he isn’t a role model, but I’d argue that this ease at putting his life on wax is a large part of why he’s such a well-loved figure in grime music.
Sir Spyro – TEKKERS 001
New record label launches are always exciting, especially when it’s from someone so revered as Sir Spyro. TEKKERZ 001 is the first drop from Spyro’s new label TEKKERZ, collecting three of his long-anticipated tracks into a vinyl and digital release. ‘Side By Side VIP’ and ‘Check’ are defined by breakneck rhythms, mutant synth work and an all-round screw face feel, but it’s ‘Blue Cheese’ that’s the standout. Used by D Double E as the instrumental for 2018’s ‘Schoolin’, it sounds just as impactful without an emcee, playing out like a cacophony of synth, bass, samples and percussion – everything you’d want in a banging grime instrumental. ‘TEKKERZ 001’ is a strong debut release from Spyro’s new label; it’s going to be intriguing to see what comes next.
Becky On The Beat – In The Algoriddim
Becky On The Beat’s latest release – “In The Algoriddim” – is a four-track EP that gains its power from mood setting over sound system pressure. EP opener ‘140 Baby Maker – Remix’ retains the soulful lustre of its original, adding a fresh vibe with choppy keys and synths. Floaty pads and delicate riffs give ‘To The Moon’ its ambient quality, a flight mode grime instrumental that feels perfect to zone out too. ‘Grime Anti’ – featuring Nasty Jack – closes out the EP, and you can find the review of that here. The instrumental appears on “In The Algoriddim”. It’s the standout track of the EP, thanks to two synth melodies that shine in the background of the tune. It often feels like Becky On The Beat approaches making music with a freshness, something that comes across in her ideas and how they translate well to the headphones.
J Beatz – 4 Slaps
Grime DJ and producer J Beatz’ latest EP – 4 Slaps – features four grime tunes primed for intense radio sets and raves. Opener ‘Essence’ is all mutating lead lines, bass weight and heavy percussion, while ‘Top Technique’ – the instrumental for the vocal of the same name — is an icy banger with a clear dub and reggae influence. Stand out pick goes to closing track ‘Final Fort’, which kicks off with amorphous synths and biting percussion in the opening before blowing off your head with a metric ton of bass. Layered among said bass blasts are subtly modulated riffs, adding depth to all the soundsystem madness happening on ‘Final Fort’. Overall, ‘4 Slaps’ is high-energy and high-impact EP.
Klasey Jones – Hostile Takeover
Klasey Jones’ latest EP — titled “Hostile Takeover” — draws from jungle and breakbeat, creating a dark and club-focused palette to go along with his trademark detailed production style. Opening track ‘Majority Shareholder’ opens with rain-soaked pads and a brief breakbeat before launching into driving percussion, subtle vocal samples and an addictive melody line. Stand out tracks ‘Worst Way’ and ‘Synapse Industries’ gain power from their pulsating lead patterns while atmospheric intros, outros, breakdowns, and subtle vocal sampling add replay value to the tracks. Closing track ‘Against Myself’ features Sooski, her vocals adding a sense of drama to Klasey’s emotional instrumentals. Overall, “Hostile Takeover” sees Klasey Jones bring together all the moving parts of his style into one coherent sound, adding external influence yet retaining the core foundations of what makes him a great producer.
Just Geo – End of Days but Make it Vibes
Just Geo’s latest record — titled “End of Days but Make It Vibes” — is an eleven-track album that draws from grime, garage and bass music sounds, at times feeling like UK music made for big-room raves and festival tents. That’s down to the live drum sounds that feature on tracks like ‘Running to Worthy Farm’ and ‘Be Direct’, the latter of which Just Geo has remixed especially for this album. Elsewhere ‘Osmington Bay’ features deep UKG vibes while ‘Hey You Up’ is an icy take on the R&G sound, with a sweet vocal and cold synth pattern. Grab “End of Days but Make It Vibes” for a producer looking into his influences and nailing a unique vibe.
Ital Beat – Translucido
Brazil’s grime scene has plenty of emcees flying the flag — see Brasil Grime Show and the recent vinyl release of “BRIME!” — but its producers make up a healthy part of the scene too, often young up-and-comers fusing the grime sound with other underground styles. Ital Beat is a producer from Brazil, and according to his Bandcamp page, he’s a beatmaker “influenced by Jamaican soundsystem and UK bass culture”. His latest release — titled “Translucido” — features two tracks. ‘Deep Combate’ is a dubstep influenced banger with brain-frying bass, eski clicks and screeching samples that add an extra layer of the ominous to proceedings. Title track ‘Translucido’ leads with harmonised string patterns, a real minimal grime track with plenty of gloomy atmosphere. Grab ‘Translucido’ for two tracks of fire.