- Most electronic music fans forget about dancehall until it has an explosive crossover moment every few years. From The Bug's acid ragga beats to Errorsmith's quirky techno hybrids and Murlo's colorful riddims, the style has provided inspiration for a lot of great club records. Meanwhile, acts like Equiknoxx in Jamaica, or the Flex Dance Music producers in New York, straddle both worlds with a sound that is and isn't dancehall. Critics like to throw around terms like "hybrid" or "mutant" when talking about these kinds of fusions, but Low Jack's Les Riddims Du Lieu-dit isn't particularly hybridized or mutated. It's just a killer mini-LP of weirdo dancehall instrumentals from someone who's familiar with the sound.
The Parisian producer references different generations of Jamaican music. "They Rule" is built on an '80s digi-dancehall bassline, with Casio drum machines swimming in just the right amount of reverb and echo. The woozy synths, like something from an Inga Copeland record, give it a weirdly disassociated tilt, but otherwise it remains faithful to the source material. "Brass" has more of a '90s flex, with sub-bass that will sound scarily huge on the right soundsystem. Both tracks feel like they've been pitched down a few BPM on the turntable.
The record is mostly light on melody, with sparse arrangements of rhythm and bass. "Light," the most aggressive cut, is mostly just slamming drums and a saxophone sample, recalling the tough-guy ragga of The Bug's 2003 album, Pressure. Low Jack flexes his melodic side just a little bit on "Raid Leader," which emits a strong marijuana odor, as well as the moody "One Pop," which is danceable despite being slow and abstract. Conceptually and sonically, Les Riddims is air-tight, with a cohesiveness that makes it a listening experience, not just a collection of tracks.
A1 Free Eternally
A3 They Rule
B1 Raid Leader
B4 One Pop