Gemmy: Johnny 5
Planet Mu

Somehow it seems fitting that the four tracks on Bristol producer Gemmy's double 12-inch release Johnny 5 have been spread across four vinyl sides, as doing so gives each one the moment in the spotlight it deserves. An audacious blend of grime, dubstep, funk, dub, and electro, Gemmy's sound is very much emblematic of the fresh direction Planet Mu and Hyperdub are pursuing at this jucture. The A-side's “Johnny 5” weaves bleepy, cross-firing electro melodies over a rubbery, double-time head-nod composed of snippety hi-hats, off-beat snares, and a warbly bass attack. Alternating between slow to fast, Gemmy tempo switch-ups are as heady as the track as a whole. “Dolla Digital” follows with a viral slab of swirling vocoder treatments, percolating drum machine beats, burning bass throb, and an overall seriously tripped-out vibe. Powered by a brightly squealing synth theme and ten-ton bass wobble, side C's “Wata Down Sound” situates itself firmly within the dubstep tradition for six ultra-skanking minutes, while “Shanti Riddim” opts for dubstep-inflected Trenchtown dub of the most stepping kind, with all of it nicely crowned by a gleefully warbling melody and saxophone-like accents near track's end.

December 2009