Gamma: 'Permanent'

Like having a group of angry people read you three books at the same time through a megaphone, only more hypnotic...

The first time you hear it, you think they're taking the piss. Gamma, four disparate hip-hop elements converging in a single space, don't sound, speak, or, in all probability, smell like anyone you've heard before. Their points of reference are as scattered as their backgrounds - Birmingham, London, Texas and Canada figure in the Gamma biographical equation - and the mix makes for unsettling, disorienting listening.

The obvious comparison is with the Wu-Tang Clan, the barrage of voices skittering over rattling, skittish backing tracks, colliding and bouncing off the insides of these musical padded cells. The rappers - Juice Aleem, Ebu and Lord Redeem - seem to be able to adopt different styles at will, adding to the confusion, voices intermeshing at light-speed. Stray fragments of lyrics stick out of the aggregate, spiking anyone who handles it carelessly: "Sit still and see insects talking/Robotic controls/A pale horseman walking on the roof/Of this vocal booth"... "I'll hang you from the Rotunda/Mic style's bangin' like thunder/Ka-boom!"... "Zim zimma, who's got the money for my travelcard?"

It's like having a group of angry people read you three books at the same time through a megaphone, only more hypnotic and probably less focused.

An intense, if bewildering, experience.

Angus Batey

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