Reviewed by Alex (dot-alt.com)
In London the major label free-for-all signing of grime artists continues and the hype is verging on the ridiculous. Meanwhile in Manchester, MarkOne and the Virus Syndicate MCs drop an album on an IDM label and it's like hardly anyone really even noticed.
Distinctly different from the clicky, militaristic state-of-the-art sound of London grime, MarkOne's productions combine the breaks of older garage with towering DNB basslines. The results are immense industrial rave/post-rave soundscapes for heaving cyberpunk discos.
Somehow the ingredients of Mark's tracks, when compared with that of say, Terror Danjah (the later's littered with loads of fascinating digital audio-graphics) are much more familiar, and so often the more minimal productions fail to astound.
The vocals featured on three of the album's tracks are overall much less aggressive than those of London MCs, both in content and delivery. The social realist, broke-and-proud anthem Stand Up is a definite highlight – sort of a radio-friendly Pay The Rent of grime/dubstep – but otherwise it's mostly vocal acrobatics and puns on the crew's name. A little underwhelming.
MarkOne is at his best on tracks like Bang Bang Boy, when his beats clunk and seethe, basslines pump, framed by tongue clicks and gunshot snares. And while that description comfortably fits only about half the album's tracks, One Way is important because it further blurs the line between frisky MC-driven grime and heavier, ravier dubstep. It's a sign that these young sounds are spreading out of London to other sprawling urban areas around the UK, and alternative takes on it are very welcome.
- Various - The Cosmic Forces Of Mu
- Venetian Snares - Defluxion
- Venetian Snares & Speedranch - Making Orange Things
- Joseph Nothing - Dummy Variations
- Hrvatski - Swarm & Dither
- Mu Allstars - Criminal
- Hellfish & Producer - Constant Mutation (Mixed)
- Leafcutter John - Microcontact
- Nicole Elmer - Beef Bouilion
- Tim Tetlow - Beauty Walks A Razor's Edge
- Phthalocyanine - 25 Tracks Fer 1 Track
- Leafcutter John - Concourse E.E.P.
- Luke Vibert - '95-'99
- Jega - Geometry
- Capitol K - Roadeater E.P.
- Kid Spatula - Full Sunken Breaks
- Jega & Kid Spatula - Unity Gain / Hard Love
- Capitol K - Sounds Of The Empire
- Slag Boom Van Loon - So Soon
- Tusken Raiders - The Motorbike Track
- Slag Boom Van Loon - Slag Boom Van Loon
- Jega - Spectrum
- Horse Opera - 3 Cornered Room
- Capitol K - Island Row