Fresh Stream



I keep a lot of weirdly specific playlists on my phone. They have titles referencing the sound of a track (“Beefed Out 2-Step Jamz 3″) to my own curated soundtracks for twice-a-year activities (“Cross Country Skiing in the Rain 2018 ”). You can imagine how picky I can be when adding to these guys.

That being said, the playlist “wtf” is the most exclusive of the bunch and is maybe added to three times a year, tops. “wtf” is set aside for tracks that elicit some kind of alarming, gross, body reaction from me (choking on a gummy shark for example) and reshape how I think about music production. Last year Proc Fiskal’s frenzied ‘Skulka’ made the cut. With gulps, cartoon whirls, grunts, and gunshots mashed into a hodgepodge of a grime instrumental, 21 year old Hyperdub signee Joe Power had forged a singular voice in a scene already saturated with fresh voices.

One year later and Proc Fiskal’s ‘Insula’ is making good on the promise of early EPs ‘The Highland Mob’ and ‘Hello Boss’. While still retaining some of the touchstones of classic early grime (square-wave basslines, skittering Eski-beat rhythms), Power is able to explore more melodic and melancholic atmospheres by wading through ambient and IDM styles. ‘Insula’ kicks off with the dark, lurching ‘Apple Juice’ awash in icy synth landscapes and a Boards of Canada-esque vocal sample of ‘okay…”. It’s one of the few grime tracks that bring to mind a lonely countryside over a gritty alleyway.

Even the tracks that veer into a more of a rough-hewn and hard hitting approach still manage to wander off into the mist. ‘2L’ begins with MC chatter and MIDI upright bass, and 8-bit blips before venturing off into the mist shortly before the two-minute mark with somber synth pads. This solitary mood continues into the interlude, ‘Archiltibrute’ where a solemn organ synth creeps along to some audio recorded off Powers’ phone. Two individuals exchange ridiculous threats in jest until “Imma eat your eyes” takes the cake as the most absurd. It’s one of the many voices scattered over the album. During the recording of the album Powers would capture conversations both mundane and bizarre off his phone to decorate ‘Insula’. While not necessarily providing any direct narrative to the songs, these audio recordings do offer a strong sense of place and humor to the album.

The last five years have revitalized the sound of grime in a way few thought possible following a scattering of shady-at-best releases from some high profile artists. From the ‘weightless’ instrumentals of Mumdance and Logos to the sinewy deconstructions of Mr. Mitch, grime music is being redefined by a new generation of artists. With Proc Fiskal new to the mix, I can’t be the only one itching to see where the next few years lead the genre.



Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License(unless otherwise indicated) © 2019