- Bristol's Joe Cowton has tended to mine his most glittering gold from the ruptures between genres. But some of Kowton's brightest moments have come through channelling the chest-out aggro of grime. We've had the solo highlight of his recent EP with Julio Bashmore, "And What?"; the spit and distortion of "TFB"; and "Dub05," which sounded like a haunted house on a north London estate.
There have been moments where Kowton's redlining has slid too far into noise, and his sense of groove has been subsumed by aggression. But though "H-Street" is rough—very rough—there's enough swagger in the snares and glass-shatter cymbals to temper it with some subtle funk. There's a delicacy to the rhythms that's like watching a gorilla tap dance—destructive power masked by a fleet-footed beauty. By comparison, "Helsinki Sunrise" is positively soporific. Elastic garage subs flex and twitch below a "Spastik" drum line, with the occasional wail of the emergency services offering some urban grit. Where "H-Street' is pure hoods-up music, this is the kind of track that'll get the girls on the floor, too. Considering the coarseness of Kowton's approach elsewhere, those flashes of softness make both sides stand out.
B Helsinki Sunrise