Terror Danjah Terror DanjahPower Grid
From the outside, it might seem like Terror Danjah has recently entered into a hyperactive process, a state of creative effervescence, with the urgency to put out work, but this is only because you’re seeing it from the outside, like we said before. From inside the London grime scene, everyone knows that the former N.A.S.T.Y. Crew is a disciplined producer who works steadily and brings out his basses with a regularity that has more in common with a Swiss watch than a beatmaker addicted to roughness, to sounds that scratch like sharp nails, and fat basses with a rusty feel. This feeling that Terror Danjah is lit up, with a high fever and a free hand, might have started with “Gremlinz (The Instrumentals 2003-2009),” the bass anthology put out by Planet Mu last year, which served two purposes: first of all, it showed more than one occasional IDM fan that pure grime has a level of abstraction and sound violence that bastards and carriers (take this in the literal, not pejorative sense) like Milanese would like to have, and second, it upheld the aesthetic validity of a genre that had quickly been given its death certificate when it was hit by dubstep.
Grime has survived over the years thanks to Terror Danjah, in spite of Dizzee Rascal’s incursion into mainstream, and this constancy had to be rewarded at some point. Today, Terror Danjah can put out work at the same rate as before, but instead of doing it on underground labels like After Shock or Harddrive Entertainment, now he can do it with Hyperdub or Planet Mu, who will guarantee him greater distribution, better promotion the possibility of coming to the surface and taking a breath of air to be able to continue to dive safely into the stinking, putrid sewer water. What is notable about Danjah is that, despite his entry into the aristocracy of experimental electronic music, he hasn’t given up any of his initial approaches. He doesn’t even look for MC’s to give his basses a hip hop air, which will always do better on the radio and attract more listeners along the way. But for him, it’s not about attracting quantity, but quality. “Power Grid”, eight songs out on CD and double vinyl, technically an EP, don’t renounce any of the chromatic resources that, over time, have helped him mature as a producer, but the album also doesn’t give the feeling of being stilted or fossilising from a lack of ideas. On the contrary: from “Space Traveller” and its video-game melody with a science-fiction plot (and terror sub-plot) to “Ride 4 Me”, what you notice most of all is a mature Danjah, a Danjah who has dominated all of the ins and outs of his language, and who puts them to use with an admirable fluidity. So, there are cuts like “Menace” and “Pulse”, with their galloping breaks, epic riffs, and tons of noise on top of it, in the old-school grime style, the sweeping and dizzying “Twisted”, the homage to old hardcore production tricks –with a breakbeat and everything, as dynamic as those of nearly twenty years ago (in the line of “Weird Energy” by DJ Hype)– that we find in “Power Grid”…
Terror Danjah produces by memory, with his instinct in top form, his senses alive and his signature on every song: the malevolent laugh of a gremlin, that animal roaring sound that is like an attacker’s calling card on the scene of the crime, and without which you can’t say that one of his tracks is complete. The only problem with “Power Grid” is that since it isn’t really an album, in spite of its length, it can put his technique to the test, but not his ambition and desire to keep himself up-to-date. All of the last work from Terror Danjah seems to be focused on cleaning house and settling accounts with the past, starting with the “Gremlinz” anthology and continuing with the release of the album “ Shock to the System” (originally from 2007) as an authorised download, while the turning of the screws in his own sound become more unusual, hidden in isolated pieces of 12-inches like “Acid / ProPlus” that he recently put out for Hyperdub. Will Terror Danjah be capable not only of asserting his own greatness, but also of turning over a new leaf in his nonconformity, in a future album that will break moulds and seal his undeniable entry into the Olympus of the rave continuum? If anyone can do it in grime, he will be in the small group of the chosen few. That should be his challenge, and that should be our pleasure. Javier Blánquez