Strict Face - Fountains / Highbury Skyline

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  • "My main ambition is to change people's perception of [grime] and to show that it's not just one dimensional." As you might have guessed from this 2012 quote, Gobstopper Records boss Mr. Mitch is getting along just fine with grime's current diversification. Mitch is one quarter of the Boxed gang, but his label has been pushing interesting instrumental grime for several years now (Bloom's 2012 stormer "Quartz" was probably the label's biggest coup). Its latest release mirrors Mitch's own recent The Room Where I Belong EP, much of which treated grime not as a close-minded formula, but as a springboard from which to explore melancholic synth music of various forms. The producer is Adelaide's Strict Face who, while no stranger to thornier grime gestures, often uses tender synthetic textures that wouldn't sound out of place on a vaporwave release. Rabit and Logos have done things this sparse, and Visionist has been equally melancholic, but none of them have reached such heights of unashamed romanticism. "Fountains" could almost be some heartbreaking David Sylvian tune at its opening; only a sprinkling of blip-blip percussion reminds us what century we're in (well, that and the square wave that delicately pirouettes into view). Things get a touch confused as the intensity builds, but Strict Face reins it in before the close. "Highbury Skyline" works with similar materials; its melody bears traces of Ruff Sqwad's boisterous sentimentality, but it's half-shrouded in reverb. The sorrow glands aren't squeezed quite as tight here as they are on the A, but it's still a pretty captivating statement from a young producer with bucketloads of promise.
  • Tracklist
      01. Fountains 02. Highbury Skyline