Music Reviews

Artist: Sami Baha
Title: Free For All
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Planet Mu
You can’t sneeze in the UK at the moment without hitting some grime music, it’s absolutely everywhere. A lot of it is turgid, self-aggrandising timewasting music made for rattling the windows of over-pimped Vauxhall Astras that I find profoundly dull. Thankfully though, Planet Mu have developed the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff and release grime albums that are actually worth checking out- Mr. Mitch, East Man- and here’s another one.

At times, it’s pretty conventional- slow rolling beats and plinky melodies underpinning some languid rapping, like on “Discreet” with Dimzy, but it’s atmopsheric enough- and concise enough- to keep it interesting. The Egyptian flavours on “Ahl El M8na” are a slick example of grime fusion, if that’s a thing.

There are quite a few instrumental tracks, and some of the instrumental work is really strong- for example “Glory”, with its slightly baroque tones and breakbeat, sounds a little like label boss μ-Ziq’s own work but paired with modern car-shaking pure subbass notes, while “Limba” with its choral keyboard sounds and pitch sliding is nicely quirky. “Path Riot” is worth paying attention to as well.

It’s not all quite so interesting though. The lazy-styled performance and dynamic-free groove on “When The Sun’s Gone” end up falling a bit flat. Using gun cocking sounds as percussion on the lyrically mundane “Thugs” feels rather done.

At 34 minutes it’s a compact little package of unusual and characterful grime-electronica tracks that passes Planet Mu’s long-established high quality threshold.

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