Available on: Night Slugs 12″ / digital

After a year of much-deserved critical adulation for their electrifying DJ sets and distinctive releases on labels like Mad Decent and Dress 2 Sweat, London duo Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990 have turned their attention to nurturing an imprint of their own. With their Night Slugs label, the pair look to expand on the successes of their night of the same name, and plan to make 2010 a prolific year for their own, distinct brand of bass-laden “global gutter house”. The first offering from this exciting collective comes from London producer Mosca, whose gratifyingly deep release ‘Square One’ hit vinyl shops last week.

A masterclass in the subtle nuances of production, with every new stuttering shard or jittery loop of vocals ‘Square One’ transcends the limitations of adhering doggedly to a genre’s conventions. Looped and skewed dancehall selector vocals whoop and rasp over drums that dart contentedly between the neo-tribal war dance of the post-dubstep milieu and the syncopated flicker of Funky. As the heft of Mosca’s warm bass hits are offset by the arrival of magnetic, digitized soul vocals, it becomes apparent that there is both a scatterbrained and anthemic quality to his work; a meticulous exaction bustling with joyous diversity of influence.

Avoiding entanglement in any sort of formulaic convention and effortlessly occupying the shifting void between various bass-centric dance genres, Mosca’s sonic malleability hasn’t gone unnoticed, Hyperdub chief Kode9 recently claiming that the “seamlessly unifying ‘Square One’ renders any nit-picking between UK garage, dubstep and funky totally irrelevant”. Not only is this high praise from an integral purveyor of the underground, but its succinct accuracy captures Mosca’s particularly zeitgeisty appeal. Whilst much of the electronic underground is in near-turmoil trying to label and define its own countless niches, it’s comforting to see a producer value the sheer flexibility of the underground’s sound over any need to adhere to endless labels and limitations.

As if ignoring these limits directly, at 10 minutes, lengthy flipside track ‘Nike’ verges on becoming a full blown musical voyage. Its gradual metamorphosis from rambling pitch-bent Gameboy-step to delay-drenched house is so natural and staggered that it barely registers. A moderately peaceable track, ‘Nike’ is easy to become immersed in, but even though on the surface it’s a simple amalgamation of standard elements, its ethereal delay and eerie vocal snatches render it strangely removed from the familiar.

Mike Coleman



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