Album Review: Toddla T / ‘Watch Me Dance: Agitated by Ross Orton & Pipes’ (Ninja Tune)


Not remixed, edited or revamped, but agitated, which is absolutely the right description when it comes to the prospect of Sheffield’s digi-dub blazer Toddla T laden with extra bass. Bumped, hustled and re-skinned, stretching the sound system template like ’60s Jamaica has been brought back by flux capacitor are respected hometown historians Ross Orton and DJ Pipes, at Toddla’s own request for a double soundclash that reinvents Watch Me Dance while jamming together dancehall from back to front.

Doing heavyweight speaker boxing on opening two re-skanks “Fly” and “Streets Get Warmer”, it’s “Heavy Girl” bringing the summer vibes showing its red stripes. Redefining the blueprint comes with a preservation of Sheffield’s fabled bleep scene under wraps, where Roots Manuva does his bespoke jitterbug on “Watch Me Dub,” a surefire duck and dive parading in a plastic coating. Followed by the flubber of “Lose Control” and “Cherry Pickling,” Orton and Pipes take TT’s matrix of rave-ready studio sheen to standards previously moth-eaten and lost to dust, while plating up jelly-like bassline ping-pong.

“Take It Back” is rather staid house; one throwback amongst a handful of alterations that lack something when stripping back and playing the game of bass culture. Toddla T fans may claim unnecessary interference, but as it’s only agitated and not lobotomised, there’s no harm in accepting a tweak or two to dovetail the source.
File under: Machines Don’t Care, The Nextmen, Major Lazer