Not a compilation giving a chance to MCs to run their mouth — and they’d be hard pressed to make words stick here anyhow — it’s the turn of producer overlords and instrumental heavies to pull up and create chaos. From beat one, roughneck enterprise creates pixelated nightmares (Youngstar) raked with too-hot-to-handle bassline gunfire, unwieldy brute force that makes any silence deathly, and realises epic high speed chases (J Beatz) or predatory games of off-future hide and seek. All the while keeping alive a DIY ethic that magnifies the bedroom studio setup to a monstrous scale.
The 2.0 could be code for a form of trap and the creation of a transatlantic bridge, making music for low riders that breathe fire and showing opportunism with Tre Mission putting Rihanna through the blender, Faze Miyake and the bewitching Mr Mitch dropping down low, and TRC giving a footwork shout-out as momentary remission. Despite the unofficially cosmopolitan aspect of the compilation, putting on international acts that vouch for the scene’s expansion, very British mannerisms remain — handclap rhythms (Decibel’s “Bend” sounds almost outdated), faux brass wobbles, synth-played string plucks, percussion sourced from everyday electronics, and the spraying of well-worn dub effects and tubular lasers. There are moments of 8-bar bluster and low-rent grinding that are uninspired, monotonous, uninventive even, but to approach this 35-tracker unprepared or undercooked would be foolish.
If it’s a mini-album sitting in the cradle of glitch, attention deficit surely must dominate. But after the coolly grandiose trap stylings of opener “Breeze,” Ewan Robertson lays it on the line that he’s not your average de-constructor of laptop beats. Humanizing the point and click nature of such electronica isn’t entirely accurate, but Offshore is not hiding round corners or behind 8-bit stencils for anyone, preferring to take on instrumentalism and bass architecture with a purposeful, empowering stride.
Yes there are moments of straggly interference, passing skits of wires getting too close to one another, Brainfeeder fandom (“Name Brand”) and ideas that get terminated when just about to bloom – seize the footwork urgency of “Lifes Too.” Links between tracks are bamboozling and difficult. However, the meat of the program is melodically determined, bearing interestingly different textures such as the slide guitars running through the suavely lazy “Black Bun” and rerouting the indigenous for “Venom.” If you’re thinking of glitch and RPG games going hand in hand/hand on holster, then head to the pixel-built slickness of “Slip”, but Offshore sounds like he’s going around real castles on “Downer” and “Long Now” with medieval gallantry and a genuine interest in history.
Offering much more than expected in a meager 30 minutes, and with a full-length LP targeting next year’s diaries, Offshore shows himself to be head chef in hip-hop’s bleeping boiler room.
It’s awarded itself a headbanging badge of honor using bladed pyrotechnics…but it’s not dubstep. The serrations always wound and it can go into hyperdrive at the drop of a dime…its riffs transform electro into a form of breakbeat clamor, although, again, it’s just off the categorization you’re seeking. One certainty is that Amon Tobin brings the noise brutishly, the Brazilian’s fondness for twisting synths inside out until they require medical attention never found wanting on this Two Fingers victory sign.
With natural affinity to the dark and computerized, “Fools Rhythm” and its ceremonial use of the hoover synth, shoves the sound into one of glitch-hop’s instrumental mazes. But a returning skip and jump is Tobin heavy-handedly showing a degree of roundabout glee. “Snap” sounds like tech-step drum & bass slouching down the street and although “Magoo” seems at a loose end, it becomes a holding zone for Tobin’s guttural bass energy, spewing through the doomsday cacophony “Sweden” and the 4/4 tempo that takes a hold of “Razorback.”
Where riffs lunge and withdraw into a collective noise and clatter, a lack of vocal guidance either curbs development or makes matters more uncompromising. However loud the ringing in your ears, in these times of bass, Stunt Rhythms will have EQ freakers across the board taking their pick. If you’re still looking for a marker to put Two Fingers against, simply file under ‘pro-Tobin.’