96 Back - Flex Time

  • 96 Back dips into rap and grime on his latest shapeshifting record.
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  • Although his first release came out only three years ago, Sheffield native 96 Back is a producer who already seems to have gone through several evolutions. The classic, bleepy electro sound he mined for early releases on Sheffield's CPU Records helped solidify the young producer's reputation as a kind of torchbearer for the city's rave history. Since then—as if to weaken his association with the city's past—he’s moved through various strains of UK dance music, in the process making imaginative hybrids that aren't easy to categorise. On "Flex Time," he throws together elements of American hip-hop, UK grime and club music. It's a sound you could hear traces of on his 2020 Bandcamp-only EP Leeds House. This time around, however, he's joined by vocalists. The opener, "Coup de Grace" featuring rapper Cadence Weapon, quickly proves that 96 Back is perfectly capable of making functional and energetic rap beats. "Plucks," a rowdy grime instrumental powered by crunching bass kicks, neon synths and video-game-soundtrack organs that bring to mind early Hudson Mohawke, plays to 96 Back's strengths. "Y I'm Here" is my personal highlight. It's a stripped back kick-snare beat with agile grimey melodies that seem to weave constantly in and out of each other. This time 96 Back's off-kilter beat combines perfectly with the distinctive, expressive vocal delivery of Manchester's Iceboy Violet. Flex Time is an EP that takes risks that pay off—another exciting change of direction from a producer who’s showing no signs of settling.
  • Tracklist
      01. Coup de Grâce feat. Cadence Weapon 02. Tired Angel 03. Note To Self 04. Plucks 05. Y I'm Here feat. Iceboy Violet