- Elijah and Skilliam are the kind of plucky duo you find yourself cheering for. The men behind Butterz have been doing instrumental grime since before it was cool, bravely founding a vinyl label when the genre was in its absolute doldrums around 2010. Now they're part of a huge wave of artists finding inspiration in grime's past and present. Their style is melodic and funky, and as time goes on their DJing has become more varied. That's what you get Fabriclive 75, a mix that expands on their excellent Rinse: 17 to deliver a broad cross-section of underground UK sounds, from bassline to dubstep to, of course, some really good grime.
Elijah and Skilliam seem to have a newfound confidence here, juggling UK garage and grime like experts. Tracks from Flava D, Lil' Silva, Terror Danjah and Swindle show the breadth of their repertoire, from skronking OG grime to Swindle's Prince-esque "Good Stay Bad," which stumbles in like a drunken jazz band. They aren't afraid to jump between extremes either—consider the way Preditah's ornate string number "Jack Up The Tune" wiggles between harder bits from from Kowton and Darq E Freaker. And they balance grime's old guard with its newer wave of experimentalists: Murlo's bright ivory textures are almost blinding next to P Jam's "Disturbed 2.0," while Kelela's "Keep It Cool" slinks in between Wiley and DJ Q.
Butterz has always been an instrumental grime label first and foremost, but their mixes reinforce the vitality of the MC. Fabriclive 75 is no exception: the way JME snarls out his bars on "Integrity" (and the way it fades in from Footsie's custom Butterz plate "Hit Him") is the undoubted peak, sending the mix reeling through its final run with more vocals from Wiley and JME.
"Integrity" gives that latter section a good kick in the ass, and it's not just a placebo effect—the tempo creeps up steadily throughout the mix, eventually jumping off into 160 BPM decadence for Swindle's finale. It's done so smoothly that it's easy to miss. This kind of subtle touch shows how Elijah & Skilliam have grown as DJs. They've gone from instrumental grime outliers to prominent DJs who show how perfectly the genre fits within the current patchwork of UK underground dance music.
01. Royal-T - Intro
02. Four Tet & Terror Danjah - Killer
03. Terror Danjah & Champion - Stone Island
04. Flava D - Hold On VIP 3
05. Lil Silva - Venture
06. D Double E - Sickman VIP Dubplate
07. Royal-T & Champion - Mufasa
08. Swindle - Good Stay Bad
09. Royal-T - I Know You Want Me
10. P Money - Roll Call / Kowton - H-Street (138 Mix)
11. Preditah feat. JME - Jack Up The Tune
12. Darq E Freaker - 666 Sauna
13. P Jam - Disturbed 2.0
14. Murlo - Into Mist
15. Footsie - Hit Him (Butterz Dubplate)
16. JME - Integrity
17. 040 - Let It Be Known
18. Swindle & Silkie - Twinkle
19. Wiley feat. Andreena Mill - Born In The Cold
20. Kelela - Keep It Cool
21. DJ Q - Two Faced
22. Sir Spyro feat. JME & Alahna - Pull It Up
23. Flava D - Home VIP (Moony Remix)
24. Swindle - Outro