“What You Do With What You Have”
R&S RECORDINGS (RS1198, 12” + digital)
If anything has become clear over the past few months, it's that in the British underground - which was once dubstep and is now some unclassified else - house is an essential force. Like wind or water, it plays a strong role in the present construction of the sound. In most cases it's the recovery of garage through 2step and its syncopated rhythms, vocal funk samples and erotic charge. But then there are those who have taken in house like a dose of speed or a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. One of these people is Blawan; a man who in spite of making his first steps on Hessle Audio and with the shadow of Burial hanging over him, has turned into a fan of spraying the dance floor with acid and brutal jacking - closer to Green Velvet than to MJ Cole.
Which is nice, because among all the pristine productions and speed limits of 130 BPM, Blawan stands out (like he did with the tremendous “Bohla EP”, though on that release he was gravitating towards electro) and he's now delivering a 12” that will make 1998 Dave Clarke sweat like a pig. What's more, “What You Do With What You Have” is reminiscent of the interpretation by people in the UK and other countries nearby (Djax Records, anyone?) of the naked, acidic and merciless house (with bloody goblin vocals in the background) of labels like Dancemania or Cajual - and particularly of Clarke hits like “Protective Custody”. It is an abrasive shower of corrosive materials on your back, a slice of club madness with the power of the old days, of clandestine house, when DJs were still spinning without the condom that is Serato. And as one track seems like nothing much, “Vibe Decorium” repeats the exercise with a bit less lysergic acid and a fiercer beat - like a march invading some country with a pack of orcs - close to Marc Acardipane, bless him, and even closer to DJ Funk. I suppose the Chicago juke boom (and the consequent renewed interest in ghetto-house) is to blame in part. In any case, let's be happy: here's a man who smelled blood and is coming to bite.