Bustling machinery surrounds you, and begins to roar with exuberant life. Panels slide in every which way, compartments open and close, and a colossal door slowly rises in front of you. You step through, and into a hallway adorned with cylindrical glass containers on either side. You can’t see anything through the fogged-up transparency of the cylinders, until you arrive at the largest at the end of the corridor. A woman sits inside. She starts to sing . . .
Genre hybrids are what keep music interesting and consistently evolving. The more disparate the styles are from each other, the weightier the risk of incoherent clashing, but also the greater the potential for unique magic to occur. It’s a tightrope-walk, but even that perilous activity sounds more plausible than the marriage of r&b and grime. Fones is the newest releases from anonymous London-born producer MssingNo.
Most artists that contort the sultry vocal samples of r&b tend to do so in an effort to fill the holes in their instrumentals, but the advantage of this particular artist is his masterful ability to create productions that cradle featured singers, rather than swallow them up. MssingNo crafts compelling, grime-tinged arrangements, with distinct flavors of Burial and Timbaland, that lovingly embrace the pitch-shifted, ethereal voices.
In most cases when singers are involved, a producer shouldn’t stand out from behind the control panel. Restraint is crucial, especially when merging two elements as seemingly discordant as grime and r&b, and it’s a component that MssingNo utilizes in the most tasteful of ways. This brief collection of songs is otherworldly, sexy, and captivating throughout. If you’re seeking ethereal r&b-grime, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)