Pistons pulsating, gears twisting, lights flickering, compartments opening, compartments closing. You stand upon a slowly rising platform, amidst a sea of the undulating machinery. Your eyes are clouded in steam and smoke, but your vision clears when you reach the platform’s destination: a strobe-light-infested dance floor filled with swaying bodies. You look closer, and see that the limbs of every individual are attached to the machinery below . . .
Atmosphere is pretty much everything when it comes to grime music. If an artist can immerse the listener in compelling surroundings, the battle has already been won; but crafting something fresh requires fresh flavoring, and maybe a dash of historical appropriation. Enter dancehall, a time-honored genre ripe with interesting ideas, and due for a unique overhaul. Savage is the newest release from UK producer Endgame.
The instrumental palettes for these songs are decidedly grime-leaning — thundering bass, cavernous reverb, jagged samples, and sickly-sweet melodies — but the producer contorts these mechanistic components into bouncy, riddim-focused tracks that’d get any crowd writhing. Glistening chimes, mallets, and strings embellish the compositions with entwining polyrhythms that show off the artist’s impressive rhythmic versatility.
The cover image perfectly emblematizes the producer’s achieved goal; this is music that tears at the seams of definitive styles like dancehall, trap, and grime, and chains the pieces back together in unorthodox, yet entirely satisfying ways. It’s robotic and human at the same time, and contains more captivating elements than many full-lengths in four brief tracks. If you’re seeking experimental, grime-tinged dancehall, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)