RL Grime – Void
LABEL: WeDidIt Records SCORE: 7/10
With three EP’s to his name and a string of critically acclaimed singles and remixes RL Grime has already been stirring things up out of sight, but now is his time to take centre stage with his debut studio album that looks to blow people out of the water with the levels of diversity and complexity that some producers can only dream of. Void offers up a bit of something for everyone and mixes it all together without ever seeming disjointed.
The album begins with the childlike innocence of ‘Always’, with its soft beats and distant vocals. The track is reminiscent of Burial and its maturity is suprising for a young producer who so far has been associated with trap. With pitched up vocals comes a sense of nostalgia for the speed garage tracks, just a more grown up beautiful interpretation.
The tone changes as its moves into ‘Danger’, dark by name and by nature. The track, featuring Boyz Noize does have a less mature sound to it. A kind of hybrid of ghetto funk and bassline that doesn’t quite match up or at least impress that much. Despite it’s inability to impress the different layers and sections at least maintain a level of complexity that must be awarded.
The third track ‘Scylla’ kicks off with a build up to what sounds like it could be off an old Pendulum album, the dystopian horns and elongated futuristic bassline combined with a sinister escalation until that bassline hits, dripping with sex appeal. There really is something about that trap sound that is irrestible despite your views on it. The music has the ability to vary noticeably as often as it want without sounding out of place, offering up a multitude of variations to the horn and drum combinations. Each build and beautifully used break beats leads to a different twist on the previous. The song is definitely the dark horse of the album, catching you out each time and when when that final drop hits it’s completely insatiable.
With ‘Kingpin’ comes the sound of calls for prayer and Big Sean, bringing with it your standard money, power, bitches lyrics. Bragging about counting foreign money and being with women who don’t speak English, be that for their exotic tendencies or their inability to talk back. Not that this is a time to discuss the misogyny of Hip Hop, the song is dark and sexy and undeniably well produced. The album then flips on itself with ‘Valhalla’, moving further into breakbeat territory, this juxtaposed with the big brassy trap breaks create incredibly dynamic levels to the song and offer something for those who underestimate this style. Grime, with the help of Djemba Djemba, really shows what the genre can offer and the complex levels that can be created with a song that has so many drops and build ups.
After a brief interlude comes ‘Core’, a track that stinks of ancient dystopia asking ‘Who do the shit that I do?’ Another track with big builds and bigger drops before moving onto ‘Monsoon’ a more level track within which influences of the late footwork legend Rashad can be heard. Before coming to and end How to Dress Well makes an appearance with a ‘Reminder’ of the days when Justin Timberlake ruled the charts; ‘Site Zero’ brings a Gold Panda-esque beauty before slowing into the dark and grimey track ‘The Vault’. Before ending with the no holds barred ‘Golden State’ with it’s unashamedly brash synths and big build ups comes ‘Julia’ a dark track which combines drum’n’bass and the r’n’b-esque vocals, which is probably my personal favourite from the LP.
On the whole the album is impressive, R L Grime’s ability to play with so many different influences, style ands genres is something that should not be ignored. I’d be truly suprised if this isn’t the start of many great LPs to come from this young producer who is making a proactive step towards breaking down the walls between genres.. and doing it well.
Words: Amii Little