- 13 years ago, Pinch and James Ginzburg laid out the foundations for Tectonic in "War Dub," a seismic sparring tune more riled-up than the mediative dubstep sound out of London at the time. It made blood boil with tough drums, threatening sub-wobble and leaden atmospheres that are partly broken up by a blast of sunny orchestral strings at the end. Tectonic has since evolved away from the deep, dark dubstep-rooted sound that defined its formative years through signature records like 2562's Aerial, Pinch's Underwater Dancehall and Peverelist's Infinity Is Now. More recently, artists like Roska, Distal and Mumdance & Logos have helped widen Tectonic's scope, bringing techno, electro, hardcore and grime to the label. Riko Dan's armed and armoured Hard Food, Tectonic's milestone 100th release, takes us back to its battle-ready "War Dub" genesis.
"Hard Food," produced by Bristol's purple pioneer, Joker, is the EP's most aggressive track. It should also be its most rousing moment, but those ugly distortion stabs are difficult to forgive. This is juvenile mob-rules music, more in line with the US-appropriated dubstep sound than the heady stuff favoured by Tectonic. It's a shame, but thankfully the rest of the EP makes up for it. Merciless and dread-filled, Pinch's "Vibrations" is agro done right. All the power comes from the swaggering low-end, making it a proper soundsystem detonator. Riko Dan's flow is fierce, his vocals jabbing as hard as the beats, with just enough hook in the chorus to sing along to. "Hungry," from Mumdance, is more introspective, utilising sparse technoid percussion and the sound of a car speeding off, which suits Riko Dan's steelier delivery. The chilly grime of the Ziro-produced "Alright Then" brings Hard Food bang up to date.
A1 Riko Dan & Joker - Hard Food
A2 Riko Dan & Pinch - Vibrations
A3 Riko Dan & Walton - Slap It Up
B1 Riko Dan & Mumdance - Hungry
B2 Riko Dan & Ziro - Alright Then
B3 Pinch & Mumdance - Big Slug feat. Riko Dan (Walton Remix)