The Big Pink - !K7 Tapes
As one of the talents behind Merok Records, Big Pink man Milo Cordell has plenty of experience sniffing out the big names of the future, having put out early recordings by the likes of Klaxons and Crystal Castles and more recently material for exciting acts such as Teengirl Fantasy and Salem. It’s the drag/witch house/whatever sound of the latter that dominates this compilation and with the burgeoning scene taking small lurches into the mainstream with their recent debut King Night, now is a good time for the uninitiated to dip a toe into the water.
The main theme of this compilation is low-key, moody electronica wrapped up in a drugged-out haze, with the likes of GR†LLGR†LL and Horse Macgyver offering up some coarse, grinding half-step beats. The flip side to the coin is the sort of hazy pleasure vibes peddled by the likes of Balam Acab, whose ‘See Birds’ is an exercise in woozy brilliance, and oOoOO’s ‘Mumbai’ where detached soulfulness and spacey beats meet in a slow-motion collision, not wholly unlike The xx - one of the more famous names to pop up here, represented by a snatch of their track ‘Fantasy’. Not every number here is a gem though, with Sewn Leather‘s ‘Smoke Ov The Pvnk’ little more than a stoned dirge.
There’s even room here for hyper-melodramatic 80s pastiche, represented by Light Asylum’s cascading ‘Shallow Tears’, as well as a little dubstep in the form of Bristol producer Joker’s early cut ‘Snake Eater’, a wall-shaking effort seemingly determined to meld a James Bond soundtrack with videogame series Metal Gear Solid. The grand high witches themselves, Salem, contribute the aptly titled ‘Dirt’, a grimy, slurring track anchored by heavily distorted vocals and a scratched-out beat. The hip-hop influences of drag are well acknowledged, and are shared by Swedish duo jj, a very different group who none-the-less are just as influenced by the language and hood glamour of rap music. Their gently lilting ‘Let Go’ is by far the lushest thing to be found here, but thanks to those shared influences it fits in beautifully.
Sure to cement M Cordell’s rep as a man with his finger on the pulse even further, this is a dark and murky wander down some of the dingy back streets of today’s music scene. It's nothing if not a highly illuminating journey, and although not every effort hits the spot, it manages to shine a light on an array of brilliant talent that certainly deserves its moment in the spotlight.