Rating 8 / Format: CD/LP / Label: Highpoint Lowlife
There’s a real glut of new underground producers in Britain right now, sharing a broken space between hip-hop, dubstep, RnB and techno. The last time I was this excited about a group of musicians was – well, almost a year and a half ago, when Zomby, Rustie, Darkstar and their assorted kin came to prevalence in late 2007/early 2008. Right now feels like the second wave of the-phenomenon-thankfully-no-longer-called-wonky – or at least a succession of producers influenced by that first wave – people like Floating Points, Sbtrkt, Rekordah, most of the people featured on Alex Nut’s forthcoming Rinse 08 comp (which increasingly, to my ears, is sounding like a reference point every bit as telling and micro-era defining as the Kode 9 and Flying Lotus Rinse session from late 07). And 10-20, a Devonshire based producer who’s just put out his debut album on Highpoint Lowlife.
As nice as it is to have (or as is probably the case with this review, half-invent) a context for 10-20, his music would sound amazing without it. 10-20 specialises in a similar vein of clipped, grayscale techno as The Village Orchestra, but over the course of an album he really gets the opportunity to spread it thin – over industrial whirs and clangs on ‘Nei’, flattened hip-hop bumps on ‘Wdtrhjvelgrad’ and ‘Inb’, sweet piano transmissions on ‘Jjuvxszla’, icy-cold minimal on ‘Milvus’. There’s a great four-or-five-second moment where a soul vocal drifts over the music, and that’s when it clicks how Burial-esque 10-20 is – but with less of a narrow focus on innercity pirate frequencies and more childhood musical memories haunting Devonshire’s eroded cliffs and rolling moors.