- UK hardcore has been a lurking presence in Ayman Rostom's recent music. It was one of his first brushes with dance music—via his brother, while growing up in Guildford in the early '90s—before he got sucked into UK hip-hop. Since he became The Maghreban a few years ago, he's named a track after a '90s pirate station and often used breakbeats to give grit and thrust to his chunky house grooves. The way he throws samples together, and his favoured musical mood (somewhere between cartoonish and druggily weird), suggest that rave left a deep imprint on his psyche.
Rostom's return to Black Acre (he made an album of ersatz library music for them as Dr. Zygote) brings that influence to the surface. "Lose It" is a giddy swill of hardcore signifiers, from the titular vocal sample (it's hard to tell here whether losing it is a good or bad thing) to the ominous three-note bassline, the shrill spinbacks and the chords that warble into view at the midpoint. Then, at the 11th hour, come the breakbeats, spiky and uneven like the broken glass.
On "Wrong Move," Rostom's hardcore trip descends into paranoia. He's always at his best when he goes fully darkside. This time the breakbeat supplies the groove, thick and loping and trailing a dog-eared bassline behind it. A semitone drone ducks in and out, heightening and lessening the panic, and synth blips set off acrid reverb detonations. The impact moment, when it comes, is subtle but effective. Sour chords have just softened things slightly in the breakdown; they're swept away by a snatch of ragga chatter before that scowling bassline shoulders its way back into view. The drums aren't far behind, and they shuffle off one after another into the darkest corners of the raver's mind.
A Lose It
B Wrong Move