Album Review: Mr Benn / ‘Shake A Leg’ (Nice Up!)

Mr Benn Shake a Leg


You’d hazard a guess that Mr Benn is no good to anyone in the winter months. In fact hibernation may be to the benefit of the Bristol-based conductor, giving himself ample time to store up fair-weather vibes. So when Daisy Dukes and sunglasses make an appearance, the dub/reggae unit frontman homes in on festival season and flatbed floats at a full lick.

Amongst the bouncy, sun-powered partying and instruction to get hips on heavy rotation from gravel-voiced selectors, sassy dancehall instructors, hula contest judges and long-term operators like The Ragga Twins and Top Cat, is a concerted display of social conscience. Making you reflect seems at odds with putting your backbone out, but Benn knows tradition. “No More Guns” as rallied by Tenor Fly and the Peppery-steered “Know Themself,” plus “Stand Up” lead by Nanci Correia — a practical, sweeter opposite — have the pace braking for horns to sound off responsibly while applying a live stage chokehold. A friends close/enemies closer theme (“Shame”) sounds like all concerned have had their fingers burnt, with a little hip-hop/bashment casting Serocee (“Rising Star” showing street level prudence) giving the album a thin slice of variation in its delivery.

Is Benn’s soundsystem different to any other? Well his bass can get murkier than most, liable to twist as it boxes your ears at a traditional skank level. For his energetic and earnest endeavours, the great outdoors awaits.

File under: Dirty Dubsters, Prince Fatty, Wrongtom

Album Review: DJ Kentaro / ‘Contrast’ (Ninja Tune)


A turntablist turned dubstep detontator, seduced by gigantic wobbles being able to hit the big time, DJ Kentaro’s kitchen sink mentality is a mere half-hour long, the development of stylus wrecker to Japanese exocet having him breathe fire and running the city into a fever. The cut and dice never leaves him, intelligently worked into “Crossfader” and electro-funk ease-up “Next Page,” and there’s more than enough hip-hop firepower — DJ Krush, D-Styles, Kid Koala, C2C — to bill Contrast as a purely multi-deck throwdown. “Kikkake” and “Higher” however immediately state his intentions to push the plunger down on billowing, chaos-in-Metropolis, midrange dubstep/drumstep, made for snapping stadiums into a state of smithereens. State of the art for sure, even if it’s following a fast becoming long tradition – massive sounding, but in reality engineered spotlessly.

UK mega-mouths Foreign Beggars are the perfect power boosters for “Step In”, and the same goes for ragga runners of de dance MC Zulu on “Big Timer” and Fire Ball on “Fire Is On”, turning what was already a demolition job into a game of wrecking balls playing dodgeball. You’re actually getting your money’s worth out of 30 minutes – too much more would’ve been overload, such is Kenatro’s unflinching bass/synth bloodlust that will estrange those wanting an exhibition of crabs and juggles, but will get a helluva lot more of the market onside.
File under: Drumsound &amp Bassline Smith, Pendulum, Sub Focus