Hello. We’re on a MySpace Wander – know what one of those is yet? We pick a new artist. Someone making new music that makes old music look bad. We go to their MySpace page, then find someone alluring in their top friends to drop in on. We do this eight times, in total, passing comment on all the fear, throb, echo, wit, brass, meph and bravado we find along the way.
Eliphino’s ‘Let Me Love You Forever’ is one of the finest, most urbane songs I’ve heard so far this young year. It does what a lot of people are doing right now – absorbing funky house shuffle and quiet garage yearn in a liquid drum n’ bass flow – but does it better, essentially because has its own fire and doesn’t leach warmth all gooey eyed and needy from Joy Orbison. It’s real determined and pretty. Another NME-pertinent comparison could be made with Pariah’s moodier sneaks, though this track sounds like Arthur Cayzer getting ready to head out for the night rather than on the way home. The night bus journey has long been dubstep’s kraut-rock motorway, of course – the UK bass moment ‘Let Me Love You Forever’ is keen to belong to seems to prefer the promise of just-drunk early evening rides aboard the top deck.
Next to splash change in the driver’s plastic tray is Floating Points, a 23-year-old producer from Manchester who moved to London recently to study for a PhD in pharmacology. Is this relevant? Yes – Sam Shepherd’s latest 12” release ‘Peoples Potential’ feels composed in typically rigorous and studied fashion; splattered boogie synths and rave sirens hemmed in by a tight rhythmic cage and chaos-quelling synth drone. Last year’s Floating Points releases numbered among the best of 2009 – check out the star-riding ‘Vacuum Boogie’ and the cosmic sweep of ‘J&W Beat’ [below] for indisputable, empirical evidence of that.
Eglo Records, the label Shepherd recently set up with fellow producer and Rinse FM DJ Alexander Nut, is home to this wander’s next specimen. Like that pair, Shuanise isn’t a native Londoner – she has Nigerian roots, was born in Dallas and moved to England at the age of three – but 20 years later she’s making music that has much in kin with Shepherd and Nut; tracks like ‘U Gotta Find’ and ‘Baggage’ bearing evidence of Dilla, FlyLo, Fela Kuti and Erykah Badu. Sultry soul troubled by computer dissonance.
FunkinEven’s another Eglo acolyte making red-eyed, late night music; though his funk isn’t quite as thick with stoner fug as some of his peers’ is. Louche, kitsch and slightly absurd, like cartoon pornography or if hearts were shaped like stars. Dodging fan club pages for Suicide Girls, Paris Hilton and retired adult actress Taylor Rain, it’s off to the lair of Grade, whose on-point hip-hop instrumentals have a wry and decent push n’ pull to them, even if they aren’t gonna blow your brains to the insides of your skull.
His mate Still Philosophy claims the name ‘Phil Dodds’, which is either ‘a massive coincidence’ or ‘a lie’, as his into-outer-space synth work vibrates with a curious alien menace. Check the video below and weigh up the truth of the statement for yourself, before deciding it doesn’t really matter all that much when you’re head-butting heaven and kicking big, black holes in your computer screen.
Surging on, The Dene Road’s awkward and enveloping dreamtronica seems to exist between moments; as miniscule and important as the one light left on in a 40-storey tower block wondered at from afar. It’s funk, but funk in a vegetative state. Kona Triangle – a collaboration between the mighty Lone and one of the guys from Keaver & Brause – are a little more lively – jumping around on soul clouds, getting a wetness in the face from funk vapour. That kind of thing. You into that, yeah?