VA: Rogue Style 2 EP

With producers from England (Digital), USA (6blocc, Calculon, Shamanga), Finland (Fanu), and Iceland (Agzilla) taking part, the second twelve-inch installment in Defrostatica's homage to b-boy culture reveals the breadth of its influence. Drum'n'bass is the lingua franca, but elements of footwork and hip-hop also work their way into the four tracks. In commentaries accompanying the release, the artists involved reminisce about their initial exposure to scratching, graffiti, drum machines, and breakdancing culture and the impact figures such as DJ Shadow, Grandmixer DST, and Afrika Bambaataa had on their development. Their affection for the style comes through loud and clear in both words and music, with Shamanga pretty much speaking for all of them in stating, “B-boying has been a huge part of my life since I was nine years old.”

Up first, Digital's “Uprock” struts its stuff brazenly, the emphasis on beatsmithing and swirling cross-currents of snares, kick drums, and cymbals. Adding to the frenzy, staccato synth chords batter the pulse while a bass line endlessly percolates below. “Call Out” sees Calculon, 6Blocc, and Shamanga serving up a dynamic jungle-inflected exercise with no small amount of dub production treatments blended in. Vocal loops, claps, chattering snares, and drum machine skitter add to the non-stop headrush, after which Fanu dusts off his Machinedrum for—what else?—“Machinedrummachine” in a blazing throwdown sprinkled with a hip-hop sample or two. Rounding out the twenty-minute set is Agzilla's shape-shifting “Tessellation,” a funky low-rider whose bass lines slither through noxious synth-generated atmospheres when not being beaten to a pulp by ferocious amen breaks. There's a lot of heat packed into the cut's five minutes, though much the same could be said of the other three, too. Kudos to Leipzig-based Defrostatica for keeping b-boy culture alive and showing it's more than just something for the history books.

March 2018