Friday, 8 July 2011

Funkbias - Last Forever/Heaven Sent (SWAMP012)

Swamp81 continue their exceptional run of releases with the debut release from Funkbias. The imprint's twelfth release presents the collaboration work between Zed Bias and Rinse FM’s Funk Butcher. The duo’s production work neatly fits the Swamp81 aesthetic, combining vibrant rhythms and neat chords with clipped vocal snippets. There’s something distinctive about the two tracks on display here, a sound quite unique and inimitable.

The A-side is the more identifiable, receiving regular play from Swamp head honcho Loefah, Boddika and Oneman over the past couple of months. ‘Last Forever’ is also most certainly the more upfront track of the release. A rugged rhythm pounds away, with bottom heavy kicks providing the base for precise layers of intricate percussion. Striking synthlines sporadically pierce the surface, whilst an unrecognisably frenetic vocal sample is scrupulously ordered. The elements combine with great efficiency, and the further additions of swelling basslines and sharp claps lend the track its full groove.

Switch to the flip and you’ll find ‘Heaven Sent’. There’s an infectious quality attached to this track which has led me to place the needle on the B-side more often than not. From the initial opening arises a series of soft piano chords that warm the high pitched vocal snippets and subtle toms. The drop takes things in a different direction, introducing the track’s shuffling polyrhythms against a backdrop of surging subbass. The tougher sounds of the multifaceted percussive arrangements take precedence, although it’s soon juxtaposed by the reintroduction of the uplifting chord melody. Crashing toms grow in power, and crisp claps fall on every fourth beat.

It’s an impressive debut from the duo; buy on sit material as per usual from Swamp81. Pressed on 180g vinyl with exceptional artwork from the gifted Will Bankhead (Trilogy Tapes, Honest Jons, Doldrums etc), it’s another essential Swamp 12”.

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