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Dublin beat label All City celebrate the completion of their enchanting  7″ series with a digital bundle wrapping all 7 releases together for only £cheap like it’s crimbo all over again. I could dive right into the highlights, rope in some comparisons and fire off a couple hastily generated franken-genres (e.g. ambient-electro-hip-soul-beat or something equally glib) but an insistent bony finger prods away at my brain-ribs. Yes kids, it’s the internet.

Since the term Wonky received a reception from its supposed champions akin to a fart in a lift, the problems with genre – especially in an area as overgrown and impenetrable as dance music (see! even that sounds pat…) – have been worthy argument fuel. On the one hand, applying catch-all terms and the obsessive compartmentalising of what is essentially an abstract art is a limiting and frequently weak approach (read this interview with Diplo again for some tres interesting points), but on the other there’s no way I’m going to exclusively map these sonic tableaus with nebulous poetry (OUCH). No-one would want that.

I could Say Onra‘s ‘My Comet’ is 90s g-funk shot through a broken super-8, lens flare saturating the colours. Or I could just say it’s super-compressed nu-skool instrumental hip-hop, y’know like Bullion or that stuff on One Handed. What it IS, is both. There’s a place for genre and giving something a name is at times worthwhile, for the sake of those eager to immerse themselves in a sound and pursue its alleyways as much as anything else. I fully understand that it’s partly a reaction against lazy journalism (which I sincerely hope this isn’t) but let’s not forget that these names sometimes help a lot of people navigate what can be dizzyingly complex world.

Back on subject however, 7×7 is a collection which takes this contemporary underwater hip-hop ambiance to places that don’t sound anything like hip-hop – Hudson Mohawke‘s wondrous ‘Star Crackout’ crackles and shimmers like a golden snow globe with a broken harpsichord and no beats whatsoever, nestling next to the fluttering dub techno of ‘Root Hands’ like nothing happened. Elsewhere the beats stagger in and out of consciousness with Mike Slott‘s loping electro slow jamz and personal favourite Fulgeance‘s bumping party circuit-breaker ‘Revenge Of The Nerds’ leading the way.

One of my musical highlights of ’09 thus far. Buy it here.


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