Baobinga Various Baobinga VariousJoint Ventures
When it comes to the latest musical trends and mutations, Bristol can hold its own as well as London – and sometimes better. For decades now the west coast city has fostered and brought to the world different takes and mutations of the various underground styles which London birthed, from jungle to dubstep. The latest compilation to come out of the city further underlines its ability to better and build on what came before it, and in the process also provide a rather flattering showcase of many of its local talents.
Helmed by Baobinga, “Joint Ventures” is the first full length release on his Build label and features – as the title hints – 12 collaborations between the man and various Bristol acts including Hyetal, Gemmy, xxxy, Geiom, Kowton and Mensah alongside one solo contribution from the man, a remix by Untold and a solo track by Rider Shafique. With this concept in mind, “Joint Ventures” offers first and foremost an interesting take on the compilation concept as Baobinga’s presence on all tracks gives the entire release a cohesiveness that can often lack from compilation featuring disparate contributions from producers with varying styles. Second, and just as importantly, it’s pretty damn dope.
While the focus of “Joint Ventures” could be loosely summed up as bass music, what’s exciting about it is that it often strays from the more obvious templates instead delivering interesting takes on bass-led genres old and new with an emphasis on catchy rhythmic structures and at times colourful melodies. Take “Trans-Pennine Express” for example, a collab between Baobinga and Jack Sparrow, a stripped down, junglistic roller that brings the old and new together rather perfectly. “Rockfall”, alongside Gemmy, fits in a similar junglistic mould rhythm wise though its bassline is bouncier and the melodies more colourful. Then you have “Bumba” with Guido and “Heartburst Riddim” with Ginz, two tracks that bring colourful melodies to the fore over skanking riddims in the finest Bristolian tradition. As my attempts at describing some of these tracks might indicate, another fascinating aspect of “Joint Ventures” is that few, if any, of the tracks on there sound like their creators’ trademark sound if you will. An obvious product of the collaborative aspect, it does at time really strike you though and makes for an even more enjoyable listen.
The only downsides on “Joint Ventures” for me would be the Rider Shafique track, “Gun Talk”, the only vocal contribution on there and thus one that sticks out needlessly amid all other instrumental contributions, and the fact that while the quality is high it can get a little samey after a while especially on multiple listens. That last point however is neatly balanced by the fact that most of the tracks on there are perfect DJ material too.
If you’re new to Bristol’s amazing musical history then “Joint Ventures” offers an interesting starting point from which you can go back and discover a wealth of great music and producers. And if you’re already familiar with most of the names on there then like me I think you’ll find plenty to be excited about in the collaborations Baobinga has curated for this. Definitely one of the most interesting bass music compilations to come forward this year.