- Following his intriguing but often frustrating Pretty Ugly LP, Hyperdub stalwart Scratcha DVA has been on an impressive run of form. Last year's Fly Juice EP was a colourful, bizarre and often banging dissection of house music, streets ahead of most UK house operators in terms of inventiveness. The Mad Hatter EP is something of a partner piece (the two EPs are also being combined for a CD release), taking a similarly chaotic tilt at the dance floor.
Scratcha told RA earlier this year that he'd been taking inspiration from the wild rhythms and shock-out dynamics of recent A Made Up Sound singles. It's tempting, then, to see "Mad Hatter" as a UK funky counterpart to, say, "Ahead"; DVA pushes the style's rhythmic conventions to perverse extremes, peppering the mix with restless syncopations and leaving yawning holes in the groove. The whole thing is pretty confounding, but the unhinged highlight is the breakdown, where a tinny boogie interlude, operating at a totally different tempo, drifts into view, jars, stutters and lurches us back into the beat.
Scratcha can be forgiven for deploying such an excellent a trick twice, though in "Gang Gang Riddim" it's with a snippet of digi-dub, and the host body is a Southern rap-inspired rhythm track. "Chilli Burrito" was last heard on Kode9's recent Rinse mix, and its oddly prim, triplet-leaning beat isn't so distant from Kode's recent singles (even if the ridiculously gauche drops are Scratcha's alone). Finally, Rashad turns in a remix of Fly Juice highlight "Walk It Out." It's a typically refined effort, but someone should have told our man he wasn't needed; Scratcha's got things firmly in hand here.
A1 Mad Hatter
A2 Gang Gang Riddim
B1 Chilli Burritto
B2 Walk It Out (DJ Rashad Slip Away Remix)