Tag Archives: Grime

Flowdan – Disaster Piece

(Tru Thoughts, 2016)

After a musical career of about 20 years (as a founding member of the crew Roll Deep among other things), Flowdan stands still strong as one of the most recognisable voices in Grime. After the “Serious Business” Ep and a number of great collaborations with notable producers (such as The Bug) of recent years, the Big Flowdan finally finished work on his new full-length album this year.

The album features 12 songs of quite atmospheric high quality Grime, partly quite minimalistic (and even “safe”) and partly experimental production-wise, but always full of that guaranteed dark and deep Flowdan-feeling.

The production (by Cato, Masro, Swifta Beater, Dexplicit and others) of the riddims relies mostly on a mixture of modern Hip Hop and EDM vibes (mixed with even some Industrial elements) besides the classic Grime-logic when it comes to instrumentation of the synths and drum-beats, with each song consisting of pretty basic and straightforward musical themes (with some songs refreshingly going a bit more progressive than that). Epic orchestrations and percussions colour the etherial and electronic feel of most of the beats, and the overall production and soundscapes of the songs are of much quality and sound professional, altho I would have personally liked to hear a bit more gritty and hard sounds (such as those trademarks of the aforementioned The Bug), which fit Flowdan’s voice and style so well. On the other hand the quite straightforward and articulate feelings of the beats function as a solid whole.

The main emphasis of the album is nevertheless naturally on the voice and deliveries of the man himself, and his strong, deep and dark voice indeed keeps the whole atmosphere of the album intact and unified. The production lets Flowdan speak his mind without too many effects or other gimmicks, which tells of the trust in the abilities and skills of the man, acquired during his many years of involvement in the scene. Two songs also feature old-school friends Manga and Tinchy Stryder (while four songs feature female vox by Animai), but the spotlight is of course on Flowdan.

The lyrics deal mostly with personal and social themes the Grime-way, which are obviously more than familiar to the man due to his  experiences growing up. Flowdan’s lyrics have often been quite dark but very witty, atmospheric, and often straight to the point, fitting this kind of music perfectly. Needless to say, the technical abilities of the man are great as well, making his spitting always a powerful and pleasurable listening experience.

With no clear weak parts in the song-selection, this steady yet much imaginative and always entertaining album is an awesome and much recommended modern look into classic Grime. Honest, hard and simple if you will, but also often complex, emotional and deep. Just like the streets.

Flowdan

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Tru Thoughts

The Bug – Angels & Devils

(Ninja Tune, 2014)

Kevin Martin, has created, produced and remixed music under various aliases, and has worked with such awesome names as John Zorn (of the great label Tzadik), Justin Broadrick (of Godlflesh), Dälek and Flowdan, just to name a few. This is the fourth album he has released under the name “The Bug”, which leaves none doubting why artists like Trent Reznor and Aphex Twin love this man.

Angels & Devils basically combines the Jamaican and African based styles of Dancehall (and Reggae) and more modern Grime with quite heavy and noisy Industrial-like sounds.

Featuring names alone such as Gonjasufi, Flowdan, Death Grips, Warrior Queen and others make this an interesting listen for any lover of experimental Hip Hop or Grime, but the style of “The Bug” is really something so personal and unique it would stand on it’s own even without the visiting artists.

The basic drum-sounds sound quite vintage, old school drum computer like, as do many of the synth-sounds in these synthetic yet strangely organic sounding beats. The overall feeling of the album is quite warm and resounding. Humming, buzzing , drony basses and leads mixed with the deep and also bright percussion sounds create an atmosphere worthy of an universe of it’s own. The soundscapes take me to a futuristic apocalyptic city by night, with buildings draped in red and blue neon. Very soundtrack-like.

Although half of the songs are not that multifaceted, they all have a special feeling of their own, and the clear highlights of the album such as “Mi Lost” with Miss Red,  “Fuck a Bitch” with Death Grips and “Dirty” with Flowdan make this an utterly cool listening experience. Had to actually buy it myself.

8.5/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

The Bug (Ninja Tune)

“Dirty ft. Flowdan” (Official Music Video)