Available on: Now Again LP
Dimlite is, quite simply, that dude. That dude that most of your favourite producers really like and whose music they look forward to. That dude who made some of the most bugged out hip-hop and electronic funk in the mid-’00s. And that dude who quite clearly wants to always keep the listener guessing as to what will happen next.
Grimm Reality loosely picks up where Dimlite’s first two releases for Egon’s Now-Again label (in 2009 and 2010) left off, with the Swiss producer pursuing a sound that’s fuller than before, less reliant on electronic tricks and twists and more focussed on organic, fuzzy reverb that remains until long after the last note has echoed out. It unfolds rather beautifully across 12 tracks, twisting and turning and never really letting the listener go: on ‘XY’ Dimlite unleashes a beautifully melancholic, fuzzy guitar melody over lush drum breaks that evolve over three minutes with deeply longing undertones, while ‘Blur Blur Blur Blur’ kicks in with yet more funky drums, a head nodding escapade that steadily builds up momentum before climaxing on some highly effected vocals.
While Grimm Reality is removed from Dimlite’s more hip-hop leaning previous work, and definitely from any sort of current dancefloor trends, I can’t help but hear connections between some of it and classic boom bap rap (despite being told that it’s unhelpful by the album’s press release). They’re not obvious ones, and granted, maybe are just a result of Grimm Reality‘s drums sharing a similar quality to a lot of the classics that were sampled to death in hip-hop’s formative years, but tracks like ‘Fridge Note’ and ‘New, Better Pain’ have a quality to their grooves that wouldn’t be misplaced in the more experimental side of modern hip-hop. ‘New, Better Pain’ in particular echoes the intense distorted funk of certain modern producers rather eloquently.
It’s quite clear, even after just one listen, that with this third album Dimlite is being true to himself as an artist, unbothered by trends and expectations. He delivers music that isn’t challenging – that would be pretentious on my behalf to imply – but rather so brutally honest it can take the listener by surprise, especially those unfamiliar with the previous Now Again releases. Stick with it though and the rewards are as enchanting as the artwork that adorns the CD release, a colourful world of musical oddities, grooves and melodies that in some ways is as beguiling as the best work from The Stark Reality – the band’s whose name the album’s title is a pun on. Like all of Dimlite’s music, it makes you stand up and pay attention. It’s good to have him back.