If you attended a dubstep rave or listened to a grime radio set last year, you probably heard ‘Gully Brook Lane’.

Joker’s Kapsize EP gave him a reputation outside his native Bristol, where he was a DJ in Kold Harted Krew (“DJing wasn’t enough for me,” he tells FACT on his move to producing), but ‘Gully Brook’ flooded the market without a vinyl release. The only grime and dubstep instrumentals more ubiquitous in 2007 were Skepta’s ‘Stageshow’ and Benga and Coki’s ‘Night’.

Most of the best grime sounds alien (‘Eskimo’, ‘Ice Rink’), but Joker’s productions take dystopian clangs and disparate shapes and add a distinctly human sense of brooding and foreboding. Even the lighter side of his output (‘Grimey Princess’) is leftfield enough to sound like a distant cousin to the recent wave of Dilla-esque erratic hip-hop made by producers like Hudson Mohawke.

So what’s coming next from Joker? “Me and Pinch are starting a label; it’s gonna be called Kapsize Recordings.” Planned releases are ‘Holly Brook Park’ (‘Gully Brook”s sparser cousin), ‘R2D2’ and “the last one people will find out when it comes out.” Oh, and ‘Gully Brook Lane’ is finally getting a vinyl release on Plastician’s Terror Rhythm label: “Things have been sorted now after 100,000 years of waiting…”

After losing one half-way done mixtape, Joker’s got another two in the pipeline: first up is a grime CD with Bristol MCs like Scarz, Buggsy, Double, Shadz and Kilaze, and potentially some London additions. The second will be a calmer, song-based affair. While you’re waiting for those check out lesser-known affiliated Bristol producers Gemmy and Guido and watch the clip on youtube of him mixing T2’s ‘Heartbroken’ into ‘Gully Brook Lane’: it’s only twenty seconds but still the best thing to hit the internet since that clip of Crazy Titch getting thrown off a plane…

Tom Lea



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