Last year Mumdance delivered one of the best and most exciting mixes of the year when he turned in his contribution to the celebrated FabricLive mix series. As producers Mumdance and Logos sit as pioneers of what they term the Weightless genre. Think part instrumental My Bloody Valentine noise, grime 2.0 beats and old school jungle reference points and you are getting close. Part of their vision is the record label Different Circles. And it is from releases on this label that Mumdance and Logos have compiled this new mix album.
Some of the tracks, which appear here will be familiar to those who listened to last year’s pioneering FabricLive mix, however, there are plenty of new cuts to keep the audience happy. To say the sound of the tracks on the record is like nothing else, even when they have been heard before, is an under exaggeration. This mix sounds otherworldly. At points ethereal but also dark and aggressive much of the sound presented feels like a logical experimental step for the sort of instrumentals Wiley was cooking up around 2003.
Despite its very experimental sound the Weightless genre has caught the imaginations of many grime producers several of whom are represented here including Rabit and Boxed frequenter Sharp Veins. However, many of the tracks are plucked from the back-catalogues of Mumdance and Logos themselves. Though a lack of diversity might exist it isn’t a problem when your productions sound as alien as these.
Different Circles is a short mix which flies by far too quickly and unlike last year’s FabricLive mix there is no exploration of wider genres or of sounds, which may have influenced Mumdance and Logos. However, as everything here sounds so fresh, exciting and experimental the negatives don’t have much of an impact. Different Circles is a great mix for fans of experimental music, lovers of last year’s FabricLive mix and a great stepping stone for those wishing to explore the Weightless genre.
Call it what you want; grime 2.0, weightless or just plain old grime last year was a crowning moment for the producers behind grime music. Instrumentals became almost more vital than the MCs spitting on them. Mumdance produced a staggering fabric mix and albums by Visionist, Mumdance and Logos, Arca and Oneohtrixpointnever appeared in countless best of the year lists. Two producers who have also found themselves tied to this rise are Rabit and Lee Bannon (under the name Dedekind Cut for this release). Rabit released the brilliant Communion last year whilst Lee Bannon produced Pattern of Excel and in 2014 the old school jungle referencing, and well worth listening to, Alternate/Endings.
On R&D these influences and the two producers combine incredibly, with the end product being one of the most exciting releases since Burial’s Rival Dealer. The comparison is apt, for much like that release Rabit and Lee Bannon have avoided traitional song structure in favour of producing something beautiful out of ugly, contrasting and aggressive fragments. Sure the reference points of jungle, grime and weightless hang all over these short few tracks, but what is interesting and exciting to see is the way in which the producers have broken apart their influences and then stuck them back together again almost violently with (one might assume) some cheap pritt stick (which they were later caught sniffing in the back of the studio).
Each listen reveals something new: a voice in the background, noise mutating into music, street level aggression, ghostly breathy bass, all are subtly hidden and woven amongst the layers of this album. Mary Anne Hobbs on previewing the release was so blown away she played the whole thing in one unedited cut, that unedited cut is included on the release and well worth listening to as a seperate track to the four parts which comprises the full release.
There always exists, when throwing away formal song structure, the danger that the end product is unlistenable. Far from falling into this trap Lee Bannon and Rabit have created something, which becomes more listenable and rewarding everytime you press play on your IPod.
R+D, which is only avaliable via Bandcamp, is certainly aggressive, definitely loud and incredibly challenging but the rewards which can be had from listening to it are vast. Rabit and Lee Bannon have truly excelled in producing what will be one of the most experimental yet exciting releases of this year and is highly recommended for all fans of grime and jungle.