Australia has cooked up some treats and our talent is burgeoning. Something that I’ve been theorising on lately is if we can actually brand our own music as something quintessentially “Australian”. Of course, this is problematic when we have difficulty branding our own nationality as something truly national.
We have been able to brand rock n roll music as successfully australian with groups like Men at work and AC/DC. We have to a lesser extent been able to coin our own hip-hop sound, although this has only really been something that has achieved within our own country borders. Maybe we really do have our own thing going on in the regards of hip-hop, because no other country seems to get it.
So let’s just stick with the more global context for this review, and just let me remark that I would really like to see more attempted fusion of aussie hip-hop content with our electronic music. That’s a personal request that I really think would aid in giving us a real brand within our global electronic market.
Okay, that’s enough ranting, back on track with this review.
Hopskotch starts off with a real bang, with Northern Queensland dubstep artist Backwardsman bringing some real hard whomp wobble in Slingshot that really brings the content of this album into focus that this is one album that’s not going to fuck around with subtleties.
The next track Ramses is a delight with Dysthemic bringing in the same element of hard dubstep wobble, but with a mystical backdrop of vocals and middle eastern instrumentality provided by Miss Eliza’s violin and voice samples. Definately one of the stand outs for me and easily digestible.
Lysdexic’s next track Dysthemia is impeccable in its production, another hard and dark clanger that hits it on the head with huge drops and menacing sounds coming in from every which way.
The next track The Balast by Melbourne hip-hop outfit Tapegun is a bit odd in its contrast to the rest of the album, I’m not sure if it works in the flow of the compilation, but I enjoyed it as a nice little interlude from the preliminary focus on dubstep.
Trimaxis continues with track Alchemy with some huge percussive work in this return into the realms of bass music. Another Backwardsman track follows, titled Lighten Up, continuing the dark exploration in bass music. Again immaculately produced. Melbourne’s The Mollusc takes us even deeper into the possibilities of bass sound with Big Fat Asss, which continues to conform to the objective highly polished bass sound that Hopskotch is appearing to present. So on and so forth with Desiseq.
Blunt Instrument presents a bit of a break from deep dark dubstep with their more urbanic Forcing The Point, which is more on the Glitch-hop vein of things and has the sounds of a glitch hop anthem.
Circuit Bent have my favourite track on the album, congrats guys. This track goes through many changes during Sync Skum, starting off eerily sleek and sophisticated with even focus on all frequencies, and then kicking into an increasing tempo along with lyrics that gets more frenetic until the huge drop. This is dispersed minimally with token wolf whistles nested strategically within the dubby exploration of sliding bass synths and frequencies. This track is just plain fun and has got the guts to go beyond just a singular production idea into what is truly freeform bass in intent.
The compilation keeps a bit more fun with Staunch’s debut and foray into the glitch hop world with Throat Punch. This is followed by Goosebumpz with a bit more of an atmospheric track continuing on the glitch hop vein.
Mr Bill’s Skotch Hop is an adventure in syncopation on multiple levels and is really fresh and fucky. He breaks out of the mold and presents a unique and original sound which probably has the most stand out composition in the album, it develops and progresses well as a song in its entirety that is glitched right out too. Stand out, no doubt.
SKet1’s Robopimp provides a break in tempo and slows things right down. A minimalist approach is adopted that complements the flow of the entire compilation quite well.
Meataxe stays on the downtempo vibe with the more breaksie old school drum infected Downtown Brown, that sounds tough and real gangsta.
Warpaint starts bringing things out into the solar system with the the glitched out Bootyfuzz, which takes things into realms that are atmospheric and more about glitch rather then bass, spacious rather then intense, things slow down. Paranym’s Vliegendevliegers continues on this vein with more of a whimsical hip-hop feel, I really would like to hear more of this style in future, I think it can incorporate and carry aussie hip-hop artists into it. The album ends with the eerie melodic riffs over the top of watery beats of Document Swell, it feels like a dub waterfall and perfectly ends a great first compilation.
I feel this works as a whole compilation, I would like to hear some single works done by some of these brand new artists to see what else they are capable of. There is such a burgeoning bed of talent that needs more clarity, I think these guys (especially Circuit Bent, Mr Bill and Document Swell) have a lot of capabilities that put them above the majority of bass music producers in the world.
The primary focus was into creating Hopskotch as a label in its own right, and this has won on that count. Bass music has never sounded so good in Australia as it does right now, and I’d love to see way more from the Hopskotch crew. Can I has moar hip-hop plz? Vinyls?