Monday, 19 August 2013

Reviews: D/P/I and 18+

D/P/I Espresso Digital (Chance Images, 2013)

Deep Tapes' head-honcho Alex Gray has had quite a prolific solo career of late, flinging out numerous releases under various guises - Heat Wave, DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE, Purple/Image, and now D/P/I (he has also recently released an album for Preservation under the Deep Magic alias). Somehow, project after project, Gray always manages to impress with his garbled plunderphonics and glitchy, spaced-out beats. It is to his credit, then, that Espresso Digital not only continues this trend, but manages to surpass all of his recent releases in terms of sheer, funked-up quality.

As ever, Gray's sample choices are fairly abstract, but the way in which he pulls it all together is so damn convincing that it all makes perfect sense. Where else could a heartfelt wedding speech sit alongside cries of "SHE CAN YELL, WHAT'S UP?", and jittery ambience cosy up with a spacious drum track? It's strangely intoxicating stuff, but it works, and should you submit to Gray's beguiling lo-fi beat tape charm, you will find plenty to enjoy in Espresso Digital's whacked-out, sloppy, yet coherent tracklist.

18+ MIXTA2E (Self-released, 2012)

Little is known (to me, anyway) about 18+. The mysterious "Boy"/"Sis" duo create music that defies any real classification; it's sort of witch house, with shades of cloud rap in the form of Boy's verses. Actually, a good descriptor of 18+'s sound would be "cloudy"; in the same way that Hype Williams used to cloak themselves beneath a veil of tape hiss, 18+ lurk beneath a shadowy backdrop of lo-fi beats and samples while they spit/sing in a hazy, lazy manner.

Apparently, some of these beats on their second mixtape are sourced from other producers (Holy Other is one name I've seen mentioned), but I couldn't begin to tell you which tracks are original productions and which are lifted from elsewhere, owing to the singular approach the duo take. The grotty, overtly sexual themes found in MIXTA2E's lyrics verge on unpleasant; a fetishisation of the deep web, a porno on a flickering screen in a dark room. The sterility of the music combined with these lyrics give MIXTA2E a dark, almost menacing edge, and it's enthralling to hear. Be sure to keep an eye on 18+; I know I most certainly will.

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