- Clever, cheeky UK club tracks.
- Fiesta Soundsystem's latest EP starts with a bang—or a blast, to be more accurate—whose echo reverberates then stumbles into a jungle-inspired gauntlet of snapping drums and exquisite wobbles. The tight call-and-response of the rhythm section is only interrupted by the breakdown's twinkling chimes, where the ensemble sounds like a chorus of frogs croaking at each other in a swamp at night—if their throats were fitted with subwoofers.
The vibe of Not To Be is definitely more urban than swampy, though. Look no further than the grimey bassline of "Not To Be (Rude)," lifted straight from the Youngstar textbook. The menace never lets off, whether during the breakdown or the ensuing barrage of breaks. Fiesta is a student of soundsystem culture (it's right there in the name), and he pulls off dense, bass-heavy arrangements while building tension all the while. Take the ominous vibe oozing from "The Slip," whose sparse elements steadily burrow into your brain until it tips into manic territory.
"Acid Tool" is the EP's outlier, its blasé title betraying the frenetic drums within. Fiesta pulls the percussion briefly before bringing it back at a DJ Screw crawl for a couple bars, only to suddenly startle you with a breakneck rhythm again—clever tricks that make it more than just a DJ tool. It reminds me of the great, pioneering DJ Ron Wells: jungle innovator one day, purveyor of wonky acid workouts the next. Fiesta Soundsystem walks comfortably in his footsteps, which is no small compliment.
UK label Of Paradise has always done a fine job of blending four-to-the-floor sounds with the mutated strains of the hardcore continuum, understanding precisely, like Ron Wells, that messing around is what pushes musical traditions forward. UK soundsystem culture and all its descendents are in rude health these days, thanks to EPs like this that balance reverence with a healthy dose of cheekiness.
01. Pulse Fiesta
02. Acid Tool
03. Not To Be (Rude)
04. The Slip