A new EP by Girl Unit is huge news, as Philip Gamble really hasn't released all that much, in spite of his role at the forefront of British electronic music since 2010. That year, he put out the “Wut” single - full of helium voices, brilliant beats, and bouncy southern hip-hop influences, making for a cutting edge dance floor anthem. Since then, silence. Excluding a 12” - also on Night Slugs, his first steps into the post-dubstep world ( “I.R.L. EP”, which wasn't as important a release as “Wut”) - a couple of remixes and a mash-up with Kingdom, that's it. However, “Club Rez EP” comes naturally, as if Girl Unit has always been there, regularly releasing new music (it's actually quite the opposite; when it comes to making deadlines, it's total anarchy with this man). That also means Girl Unit has left his mark, and that his memory is still fresh, as if “Wut” were released last week instead of a year and a half ago; which is an eternity in this realm, a period during which many things have happened.
That said, Girl Unit's return makes you forget about all of it: six new tracks (on digital, for now, the double vinyl is due out next week) with a sound going towards electro, similar to the work people like Boddika and FaltyDL have been doing on Swamp81. “Ensemble (Club Mix)” has an 80s vibe with elastic bass lines, breakdance patterns and vibrant synths, old school like Jimmy Edgar (listen to “Majenta”, the similarities are striking) and the people of Numbers. “Cake Boss” is electro as well, but ruder and rougher around the edges, bordering on hard techno, while “Plaza” has a completely retro electro-boogie feel. The three last tracks aren't that nostalgic, but do confirm that this year's Girl Unit is quite different from the Girl Unit on “Wut”: the bass lines are dense and beefy, but the rhythms are slippery; neither crunk nor dubstep. Nor electro, for that matter, in the case of “Club Rez” (which to me sounds like post-Actress techno, only faster and more tense) - although “Double Take” features some grime and R&B elements, as does “Rezday”, which is like an even more experimental version of “Ride It”, one of the highlights of his 2010 single.
It's hard to predict where Girl Unit will be going, but the final message seduces me: he doesn't want to sleep, he wants to keep looking and moving. On the next record, hopefully not too far off, his objective will be to find gold.