The next Infrasonics split 12" is another four-track double A side introducing two new artists to the label and the wider UK bass scenes. The ‘Infra12003’ EP presents Jamie Grind vs Gon: the bright, urban hypercolour synth lines of the former battling the driving funky shuffle of the latter. This record presents another abstraction of the melting pot of styles and influences that permeate underground UK dance, with two contrasting perspectives of sound system culture.
Jamie Grind is a fresh Leeds based producer who creates hip hop influenced urban grooves with a 2-step skip and a healthy dose of optimism. The opening stabs and vocal snatches of ‘If You Want’ are instantly infectious, setting the sunshine vibe before dropping a skippy, yet understated garage beat underpinned by a lurching bass figure that references similar terrain as Brackles or Shortstuff, albeit in less overtly electro fashion. The track progresses to introduce swirling, modulated lead synth lines with the satisfying, humane feel of something from an old P-Funk record, diametrically opposing much of the machine coded modulations from other recent funk influenced dance tracks.
‘Balloon’ follows a similar trajectory, though with a marginally more abstract bent. A doubling of the initial chord movement plus a layered brass-like analogue lead spirals up before dropping a warm sub that locks tight into groove with the stepper’s drums. The subtle embellishments and interjections throughout each track keeps the vibe bubbling at exactly the right temperature; both are tantalisingly short but fully formed, referencing an almost pop sensibility and demanding instant repeat play.
Gon is the work of an Italian ex-pat now settled in Dublin. His house and UK funky-based productions have a maturity of sound, solidified by his wide musical exposure whilst manning the counter at the now sadly defunct Freebird record store.
‘Chaka Mad’ supplies a raucous introduction to his sound, a bashy rhythm centered around a throbbing bassline that cuts, drops, builds and modulates in all the right places to keep the dance blazing. A slight respite is introduced with synthetic pizzicato string towards the end before the cut-off rolls the bass back to sub frequencies and the track deconstructs. This is a DJ plate of the first order, destined to wreck any floor!
‘Riddance’ drops the vibes and BPM a few notches with a beautifully constructed UK funky track that exercises similar restraint as recent Pearson Sound or Ramadanman outings. The instant the thundering kick drum starts with the familiar soca-esque pattern and offbeat sub we are drawn inside the infectious rhythm. Subtle keys and well placed sound fx add empahsis and colour to the beat as the synth line pushes and pulls around the groove.
In delivering their latest four-part must-have, Spatial’s Infrasonics continues its confident growth as one of the pre-eminent outlets of British underground dance culture today.
Infrasonic’s third round of face-offs pairs the fresh skip of Jamie Grind with Gon’s electro-dubby Funky. Hailing from the bass-stronghold of Leeds, Jamie Grind gives the direct 2-step and bouncing chords of ‘If You Want’ and the P-funked synth juices of ‘Balloon’ for the swingers. Gon’s efforts run at a more laidback pace, from the clipped Ramadanman-style shimmy of ‘Chaka Mad’ to the ruder bashment house bass and dubby finish of ‘Riddance’ for the batty winding crew. Fans of Pearson Sound, Spatial or MJ Cole’s recent housey bits should be checking this.
Funk flavours from Leeds and Italy vs Ireland
Infrasonics boss Spatial was ahead of the game with his early future garage releases, and Jamie Grind’s two tracks here continue that psychedelic 2-steppy vibe with the addition of some lush funk synthesiser squiggles. But what we really like here is Italian-in-Dublin GON’s take on UK funky rhythms, full of zippy edits, warm bass and wide open spaces… quirky dancefloor class.
“Sensational, as might be expected. Spatial has enough good tracks in the drawer to win next year on the loose”.
Click here for a scan of the original review in German.
When Infrasonics was a label dedicated exclusively to the beautiful 10’ format, there was only room for one artist and one sound: slow dubstep based on the techno textures of Berlin and clear 2step rhythms of Spatial. However, since the label has taken to the 12’ format, the family has expanded with artists such as Ike Release, Hot City and Xxxy. Jamie Grind (born in Leeds) and Gon (originally Italian, now based in Dublin) are not only the newest signings, but also debutants on the over-populated scene of British bass music, though both show sufficient skills to be confident about their permanence. In the case of Jamie Grind’s style is on the rough side, at the crossroads between metallic dubstep and tropical percussion. In a way it’s the sound patented by Brackles and Deadboy (especially on ‘If You Want’) – , but on ‘Balloon’ you can already see his interest in exploring sunnier textures – like Martyn and Kode9 – instead of fighting the urge to flee to cerebral isolation. His epigraph on MySpace describes it perfectly: post-garage. And that’s why this split single works like a clock: Gon sticks to the funkstep aesthetic without having to think twice. He is laying bets on organic sounding Brazillian street drums, riddled with wobbly bass lines and finishes off his side of the vinyl with those occasional Detroit-style pads – between Actress and Pearson Sound – that are so fashionable these days. A great record, pure zeitgeist.