1-800 Dinosaur Presents Trim is one of the finest and forward thinking albums released in 2016 thus far
The musical polymath that is James Blake first started 1-800 Dinosaur in 2010 as club night banner while on tour. It was a way for him, and his backing band, to let off steam and play different music than he is singularly know. 1-800 Dinosaur now consists of Blake, Foat, Trim, drummer Mr Assister, guitarist Airhead, and DJ Klaus and they’ve just released their debut album ‘Trim’
Instead of opening with a salvo of rapid fire beats, bowling loosening bass and the sound of the inner city sprawl, that is Trim’s inspiration, we’re greeted with World Music xylophones and shimmering synths. While the music whips and swirls around us Trim delivers stream of consciousness lyrics are as intelligent as they are entertaining. Instead of rapping about gang issues and other stereotypes, this Grime artist offers us an alternative. And this is what 1-800 Dinosaur is, an alternative to over produced hip-hop that only name checks its postcode and what its wearing. ‘Before I Lied’, picks things up a bit, for the first time on the album we have conventional bass and breakbeats. Sounding like a slower and laid back re-work of DMX’s classic ‘X Gonna Give it You’ with an inspired horn section. Trim’s grime raps are as clever and inventive as on ‘Stretch’, but the beats are tighter and everything has a grittier feeling to it.
‘Man Like Me’, is classic grime in the Wiley Bow E3 vein, but musically its more ad-hoc and shambolic. There are moments when it feels like everything is going to collapse under it loping bass and ungainly beats. ‘White Room’ is tailor made for when you walk into a club, it’s busy, everything is strobing and it looks like the small room is in a different time zone to the rest of the world and everything is in slow motion. However the star of the show is Airhead’s searing guitar riffs. They give the song this feeling of euphoria that when juxtaposed with the stark electronics gives it a warmth seldom seen and hear in electronic music. ‘Seeker’ sounds like a cut-and-paste remix of music and dialogue from the Channel 4 programme Utopia. It’s all choppy beats, lurid, creepy, but ultimately one of the stand out moments of the album. Speaking of standout moments, the best is definitely left for last. However the reason why ‘No Manners’ is so addictive to listen to is partly down to a delicious string sounding loop and it has a catchy as chorus. “The kids got tunes, bangers, And I’m out with the hoodlums, goons, jackers. And they throw us in the works, spanners, And we ain’t like those other grime MC’s, rappers. You might end up with you your whole crew in tatters, you’re whole crew’s in tatters”.
1-800-Dinosaur Presents Trim, is far more than a Blake side project. It’s a fully functioning collective that, luckily for us punters, have put on some amazing nights and released some forward thinking music. The real power of this album is not only the showcasing 1-800’s collective musical prowess and their ability to mix and merge genres and style effortlessly to create music that sounds like nothing that has been released commercially in recent month, but of Trim’s vocals. Throughout the album he is the glue that holds everything together. Some of his lyrics are just roasting and bravado, but others are tongue I cheek rhymes meant to evoke a sense of fun, but there is also a lot of poignant and thought provoking stuff that not only sums up what’s it like to be living in 2016, but hints at a way to try and make it better. 1-800-Dinosaur are much more than a club-night, a label and a supergroup and where they go from here it’s hard to say, but it’ll be well trim!
Slick Don and Walter Ego team up again for another slice of Grime majesty
Collaborations are what make music great. The dream is for the artists working together to end up with something that sits between both of their styles. This is exactly what has happened with Slick Don’s new single, produced by Walter Ego and released through Bad Taste Records.
Don’s raps have the machine gun delivery that has made him a name on the scene in recent years. Ego’s 808 heavy production is as epigrammatic as ever. At times it feels like the laidback response to their 2012 track In Control. That track was glitchy, in your face and all over the shop with bass wobbles and fast break beats. If In Control was a musical representation of a Saturday night out, Brap feels like a reflective Sunday morning. You remember what you’ve done. Some of which you aren’t that happy about, but you’ve made your bed and you’ve got to lie in it. It’s this unapologetic vibe of “This is me. Deal with it” that makes Brap work so well.
What Brap also does well is give show us that Grime is nowhere near being done. For every artist that crosses over, at least five step up to fill that place. While Slick Don isn’t a new comer to the scene, far from it, he is showing his intentions and skills. A special mentioned should be given to producer Walter Ego. His beats are crisp and sharp. The bass is subtle, but strong, and the instrumental is just as strong as the vocal A-Side. Bad Taste? Not at all!
Big weekends deserve big tunes. In recent months there hasn’t been a bigger tune than this. Big Bou Yah sees Coco reunited with Toddla T again, after June’s Target Practice single. It’s basically a massive Sheffield love in or as Coco says “Two Sheffield veterans, what a bargain…”
Squelchy bass, sharp beats and finger clicks kick in after the title/chorus is shouted by Coco. Spitting lyrics out at 100 miles a minute Coco, talks about the trials and tribulations of living in the Steel City and playing live shows on the Grime scene. At times it’s hilarious, but at others touchingly poignant. This is everything we’ve come to expect not only from Coco, Toddla but Girls Music too. Its forward thinking, but totally engaging and catchy.
Considering this single can be yours for less than £1.50 Coco was right when he said it was a bargain…
Binga and Chimpo are slowly becoming a the grime dream team
A few weeks ago Trigga released, quite possibly, one of the best grime tracks in recent years. Production duties were shared by Chimpo and Sam Binga. They must have enjoyed the experience as they’ve done it again. No Messin is exactly what the titles says. From the opening salvo to the closing volley this is, well basically, sick.
Opening to a succession of high pitch blips and beeps, this is preceded by a rolling drum beat. After this is all minimal percussion, deep bassline and blip and beeps. While No Messin never quite hits the highs of the Trigga tracks, but it comes pretty close, there is still plenty to engage with. The lyrics are spat out at a furious pace and at times they are thought provoking and poignant. The B-Side is an instrumental version, and it’s this track that really lets us see these production savants at work.
The real power from No Messin comes from you can’t tell if it’s a Binga or Chimpo track. There are telling signs that either of them could claim that honour, but like a heavy weight title fight that goes the distance, it’s too close to call. Their deft interplay and juxtaposition perfectly complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. What is evident however, is that these two producers work together perfectly and let’s hope this isn’t the last time we see their names together on a track!