- "Come To The Dance," the highlight of Nervous Horizon Vol. 2, is best understood as UK funky updated for our times. It's as if Ill Blu had cut their teeth on '10s instrumental grime: the production is slick and futuristic, and the genre-standard bedroom R&B singer is replaced with a rising MC, Jammz, who rails against people who refuse to dance in the club.
Imaginative, expertly realised and above all fun, the track isn't the Nervous Horizon crew's first bullseye. Before it came last year's "Facts" on Black Acre, a syncopated monster let loose on the dance floor by Nervous Horizon cofounders TSVI and Wallwork (with the vocal, this time, from Nico Lindsay). Two months earlier, TSVI's ghetto house update "12345678" bulldozed large dance floors in the hands of DJs like Objekt. The producer followed up with Sacred Drums, which pushed UK funky into new, hyper-percussive zones, while further Nervous Horizon EPs from Second Storey and DJ Missdevana approached drumophile club music from two completely different angles (IDM-electro and Dutch bubbling, respectively).
The beginnings of the label weren't so auspicious. Their first compilation, released in 2015, explored the swirling ecosystem of contemporary club styles—grime, UK funky, Baltimore club and ballroom house, Jam City via Her Records—with enthusiasm but not much clarity of vision. Parts of Nervous Horizon Vol. 2 do this sound better. Lokane's VIP of last year's "Body Double" is vertigo-inducing, centring on stuttering kick patterns that throw up dust clouds of hiss. On Wallwork's "Havoc," distorted synth stabs shriek past like the white-hot projectiles in a Hollywood battle scene. The weaker tracks in this style explore cooler moods: Wallwork's "Final Fantasy" and Lloyd SB's "Beat046" are meticulously made, but drowned out by their rowdy companions.
Echoes of London's raving past grow stronger elsewhere. (Though its founders are Italian, the collective's sensibility is profoundly UK). Grime's eight-bar structures shape the Loom-featuring "Black Magic Ocarina," which wobbles and burbles with strange synth melodies, and Ikonika's no-nonsense "Shovel." "Paradise 660" is a decent turn for TSVI and Wallwork's steroidal UK funky sound—that's to say, not much more than a 4/4 thud and a bristling phalanx of syncopated percussion and snare drums.
Elsewhere, the slurred soca beat and white noise drops of "Lazer" tread deftly on Enchufada's toes. DJ Missdevana's hyper-compressed "Come Back 2017" is a blunter but no less effective rave tool. Straightforward is often what Nervous Horizon does best. They give crowd-pleasing formulas a small but lethal twist. Nervous Horizon Vol. 2 achieves this and not too much more—you might be left waiting for another headturner like "Come To The Dance." But it's a solid primer to one of London's most exciting young collectives.
01. TSVI & Wallwork - Paradise 660
02. Lokane - Body Double (VIP)
03. Wallwork - Final Fantasy
04. Ikonika - Shovel
05. Luru - Lazer
06. Tarquin, TSVI & Luru feat. Jammz - Come To The Dance
07. DJ Missdevana - Come Back 2017
08. TSVI, Loom & Luru - Black Magic Ocarina
09. Wallwork - Havoc
10. Lloyd SB - Beat046