Hyperdub – EP Reviews inc. Ossie & Scratcha DVA
Ossie – Ignore EP
Scratcha DVA – Fly Juice
Both Released on DL/12″
Louder Than War’s Favio has been checking out two EP releases from Hyperdub Records, see below for what he thought.
After some extensive road testing, it’s time for a double feature review of two of the most interesting releases Hyperdub, Kode9’s influential record label, delivered in late 2012. Being as daring and experimental as their releases usually are, it takes a certain frame of mind for them to grow on you. Hopefully the following analysis will help you, our dearest readers, to get the most out of these EPs.
First it’s Ossie’s delicious Ignore EP. The title track is a catchy but classy affair featuring fellow vocalist from Black Orange Juice. Mainly driven by a super funky break beat and a contagious ass-shaking acid bassline it manages to build up a housey atmosphere thanks to some stabbing notes, swirling chords and of course Tilz coming correct on the mic.
While this first cut is a tasteful example of a fine balance between modern forward-thinking production and dancefloor sexiness, there’s more to it on the flipside. “Find it” revolves around chopped up vocals, a bouncy bass loop and some nice drum work that fuses both electronic and organic samples to create a light-hearted swinging beat. It may lack that little something that gets you instantly hooked, which “Ignore” has indeed, but this track definitely works for mid-to-later stages of a set.
The main course though comes from Scratcha DVA. Last year was a busy one for this East Londoner, and there is no sign of him slowing down in 2013. After releasing his album ‘Pretty Ugly’ he has been running his own label DVA Music, let alone performing both in the UK and selected Hyperdub showcases overseas including Sonar Barcelona. But he still had time to produce some more tracks for a techno influenced EP out in Kode9’s label before the year ended.
The title track ‘Fly Juice’ is all about vocal sample repetition and stuttering beats with very few harmonic elements. It has some nice Rhodes piano chords that make up for a comfortable intro with a jazzy feel. But just when you expect the beat to drop, comes a breakdown that feels like it lasts for too long. It is supposed to create tension and release, but I believe the straightforward approach of the 4/4 mix found in the digital package is much better at keeping the vibe flowing when the dancefloor is packed.
‘Do it’ and ‘Walk it out’ exploit a similar formula with yet more vocal sample iteration, bumping beats, stuttering, synth stabs and percussive feeling. The first half of this EP might feel monotonic, especially if you are expecting any similarities with ‘Pretty Ugly’, but ‘Long Street’ seems to be a fresh exception here. DVA hooks up with Cape Town based producer Big Space for something a little bit different where a contagious syncopated beat is used as a canvas for sweet pads and melodic lines. If you haven’t do so yet, be sure to check out Big Space Soundcloud and Facebook page for some free downloads of his ethereal, dreamy house music.
So far these tracks are available both on double 12” vinyl and digital formats. But the real deal here is all about the second half of this extended play, which is digi-only. It is a crying shame that Hyperdub couldn’t manage to squeeze a couple of these tracks in the vinyl release, in particular the above mentioned 4/4 version of ‘Fly Juice’ or the absolute winner French Fries remix of ‘Ganja’.
People have been crying for a release since this smoker’s anthem was featured in French Fries mix for XLR8R back in November 2011. The beat lacks the thumping feel of the original and goes for some 2-step kind of business, but what makes this revamp essential is the addition of new vocals layers that range from a reggae-flavored vibe to some tribal flow à la Fox. T his particular track is currently DVA’s most demanded in Beatport; do I need to say any more?
Well, if that was not enough for you, there are a couple more digital download exclusives; ‘Shook’ and an appealing collaboration with Inga Copeland called ‘Rumours’. I have no doubt ‘Fly Juice’ is going to be yet another solid release in the recent Hyperdub catalog; in the rare chance it slipped under your radar, now it’s a perfect chance to give it a go.
All words by favio db overclock. More work by favio on Louder Than War can be found here.