The fifth release for influential instrumental grime label, Tomas Fraser”s visionary Coyote Records, comes in the form of Bristol”s OH91 – a man that moves in the same circles as Kahn and Neek, Boofy, Lemzly Dale and Hi5 Ghost – whose hard, uncompromising Stealth EP is sure to set the thermometer of urban dances around the country from already hot to hellishly hot.
I have written a fair bit on the rise of instrumental grime over the last year, from its humble re-introduction to the underground mainstream by Elijah and Skilliam’s Butterz label, through to Visionist’s almost melodic re-contextualizations, Bloom and Co’s explosive experimental stop start riddims, and the general fetishization of Wiley”s “eskiboy” sound template and have generally come to the conclusion that this new wave of instrumental grime is an utterly compelling and constantly mutating (new) genre.
With so many new releases pushing the right buttons it is hard to document such a sprawling and inclusive scene. Gone are the days of grime being seen as a London centric urban sound as for the first time in the genres fairly long history it has truly gone global, with producers from all over the globe revelling in the spirit of the music’s no-holds-barred attitude and unbridled creativity. If the war dubs saga taught us anything, it is that grime is here to stay as a potent dancefloor weapon, with legions of producers ably reproducing the taught and tense sound of modern urban decay. On the flip of the coin, many a producer, people such as Gobstopper’s Bloom, Glacial Sound”s Rabit, Keysound”s Logos, Tumble Audio’s Sergic, Lost Codes” Filter Dread as well as many others, manage to create slamming, yet intricate dancefloor bangers that work as well in the headphones as they do in the dance. It’s a sure sign that a genre is in rude health when it splinters equally between armchair and dancefloor sensibilities, which over the course of it nascent rebirth, grime has done from day one.
OH91 straddles both camps extremely well. Opening number “Stealth” storms straight into the action with a weighty, distorted bass tone prominently spelling out the carnage that is soon to follow. The tune drops with an unexpected, swinging swagger that for some reason reminds me of Shimon and Andy C’s d’n’b classic “Bodyrock” ( if you know that tune, you will know what I am on about when I mention swinging swagger!) with the tune’s rolling, relentless kick drums swinging liberally around the militantly dry claps and rushy hi-hats. The tune is a simple, effective dancefloor weapon, innovative in its use of swung braindance indebted riddims and its belligerently stale, “wot you looking at” in-yer-face bass line. Supplementing the party is a twisted, portamento ridden eski lead line that provides a nice respite from the hard concoction it is married with.
Spooky steps up on remix duties for the flip, taking the tune into 8 bar, funky meets grime territory, utilizing the originals bass tone, but rather than holding the bass-faced note as OH91 does, syncopates it with the tunes rhythmic backing, creating a rolling number that invites gun-fingers aplenty. The tune breaks down and drops again in a trappy, half step fashion that takes the tracks’ hyperactive sounds in a completely new direction.
It is another decent release from the Coyote camp, a label that is in rude health, revelling in the new beginnings grime has been graced with, and a nice start proper to OH91’s soon to be big career.