- Baobinga is one of Bristol's most well-known, excitable, and all-purpose DJs, always ready for a party and armed with whatever it might possibly require. Dubstep, drum & bass, garage, house: you name it, he'll play it (and usually well, too). Joint Ventures is part label compilation and part artist album, a disc of almost entirely collaborative efforts from a man who makes a quasi-religious habit out of working with other people. Binga's percussive sound-the man has drums for days-lends itself exceedingly well to embellishments from others, something which this tireless collection makes clear.
Joint Ventures is if nothing else exceedingly playful: Oftentimes the drums are so springy they sound like bouncing balls, and nearly every track has some sort of huge, hands-in-the-air synth melody. Strings are a staple, evidenced on the surprisingly regal opener "Heartburst Riddim" (a Ginz collaboration), and even ruffer rhythms like "Wang It" and "Gun Talk" are coated in the silky stuff. Simpson includes some of the BUILD highlights thus far, which also means the album features the exhaustive synth workout "Anything for Now" with Hyetal and the '80s baiting "N.S.G." with Mensah, and even remixes a remix with a retouch of Roska's rework of "Tongue Riddim."
Baobinga also has a way of bringing out strange tendencies in his collaborators: "Hard Hands" with Geiom sounds little like the Kamal Joory I know, dousing a drum track with big jiggling globules of synth, and Kowton goes plastic for "Proper." Gemmy's turn, which could have been a synthed-up bliss-out of previously unheard proportions, is not one of his "purple" dubstep tunes but instead a sleek and subtle take on drum & bass, nourished with softly-swelling pads that hold the beat in line rather than run on tingly tangents.
The two tracks which also make up the newest BUILD release are the album's best, and showcase a partnership with potential for longevity that nearly manages to outshine all of the other dream combinations on display. Baobinga's burly frameworks render Guido's grime-leaning synth funk healthier and more well-fed than it's ever sounded before. Alternately moody and awestruck, "Ballin" interrupts its machismo chug for impassioned synth melodies rich enough for the finest of classic Japanese RPGs, while "Bumba" lets Guido's lush synths ride Baobinga's short and perky percussive waves.
If there's anything you should have clued in on by this point, it's that Joint Ventures is relentless in every aspect, just like its creator. While it's too colourful and smiley to ever really sound heavy, it's all a little fatiguing in the end, and the album could probably benefit from being shorn of a few tracks (the xxxy collaboration "Barbakan" is sleepy and the Untold remix of "Ride It" feels like a fish out of water). Nonetheless, through sheer force of personality (or, in this case, personalities) Joint Ventures comes off as a winning collection of tunes.
01. Ginz & Baobinga - Heartburst Riddim
02. Baobinga & I.D. - Wang It
03. Baobinga & Hyetal - Anything For Now
04. Rider Shafique - Gun Talk
05. Guido & Baobinga - Bumba
06. Baobinga & Geiom - Hard Hands
07. Baobinga & I.D. - Tongue Riddim (Roska Remix (Binga's Refix))
08. Baobinga & xxxy - Barbakan
09. Baobinga - Make Me Feel
10. Gemmy & Baobinga - Rockfall
11. Baobinga & Kowton - Proper
12. Guido & Baobinga - Ballin'
13. Baobinga & Mensah - N.S.G.
14. Baobinga - Ride It (Untold Remix)
15. Jack Sparrow & Baobinga - TransPennine Express