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Monday, 5 September 2011

SubVersion Stop 141: Ruff Revival 004: Rick James - Horrorface / Naphta - Copy Rider (Untold Refix)

Jungle's delirium and ridiculousness are two qualities me and Tim from Manacles Of Acid discussed at Oxford's Modernist Disco launch in August, him playing Acid House. In broad context, they shouldn't be confused for the sake of Jungle's birthright and legacy in the current decade. Ruff Revival broaches the difference between connotative sustain and decay, clearing soul and crater bass, that became implicitly associated with the demise of 90s Jungle, and the rise of wall-to-sound Drum & Bass. In certain circles, what I prefer to term 'middle road D&B', populated by older selectors pushing more modernised sounds - DJ Lee being a prime example - there's the adage that music pays the DJ, but with this project the premise is different. To quote Naphta's "My Bitter Sweetness", a work released on label-head Droid's The Fear imprint as a download in 2007: "This history, a lot of people didn't, really, understand what happened then. I'd set my turntables up and play for another seven hours - it was something I had to do". The DJ was still getting paid at best, but the industrious streak, the 'hustler' ethic, further unstripped of greed.

Ruff Revival 004 has been long time burning, like Naphta's preceding album for The Fear. Turning our focus to Untold's version of "Copy Rider", whose burnt squelch, like a wet flannel dousing the coffee-stimualted workaholic masses, we find Dubstep's Woofah-zine interviewee employing an obstructionistic tension between sampled chromatic-scale-bothering downturn, while a tribal ferret drumline runs around the easel, tail between legs. It follows the trajectory of experimentalist label Hessle Audio, where conventional half-time is also sidestepped to see if the Dub can be hectically cleansed of its tiresome sameness, all the while not straying from pleasing dancing posses, by nailing structural phrases into an ongoing mirror pulsewidth.

Rick James' "Horrorface" implies from the title alone a dream where you're being made a fool of, and because it's not lucid, you can't control it. This property is refracted by it's divergence from Amen to Think to Hotpants, alternating like a Peter Stringfellow prayer mat. Creeping up the alleyway of cool via slick modern production values, the work takes a detour halfway in, improving on the head-to-grindstone slack of the Untold riddim with Perfectly Clear sparkle dotted on the outer limits. Despite the stock sampledelia: film samples, trad breakbeats and punnet-fresh melody, there's a strong identity to Rick's - aka Ricky Force - and J Rolla's fusions that place him in unison with Tim Reaper's better efforts of late. Lofty idealism isn't always part and parcel of getting a vinyl like this out, but here Ruff Revival engrave themselves in worthwhile history, with statue-over-city flair.

SC Promo Including Digital Download Availability

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