Slugabed SlugabedMoonbeam Rider EP
One of Ninja Tune’s latest young signings, Slugabed steps up for his first official release on the label with the “Moonbeam Rider EP” following from his remix of Roots Manuva’s “Witness” for Ninja’s XX compilation – a tour de force the young producer pulled off with a seeming effortlessness and which led him to his newly found home. On “Moonbeam Rider” he delivers five tracks that fully cement his evolution from the more raw, demented ways of his early work to a sound that is still just as bonkers, yet cleaner and tougher.
Having made a name for himself in the last two years via internet only releases – such as the incredible, insane “Simon Says” remix – followed by official releases on labels such as Ramp, Planet Mu and Stuff Records, Slugabed’s move to Ninja Tune is not only a nice accolade for the young producer (still only 21 years old) but also further proof of his talent and potential. Where his previous releases were often about as much “in your face” as it was possible to get without being obnoxious the tracks on “Moonbeam Rider” offer a wider range of styles and influences, while still retaining the bounce and “cheek” that has, you could argue, become his trademark in recent years.
The title cut sets things off by bridging the old and new Slugabed if you will, a slow grinding riddim over which melodies and bass battle for attention while you wonder why you can’t stop nodding your head or moving your body. “Heck Flex” follows, one of the highlights on the EP that offers what I’ve chosen to refer to as the aforementioned cleaner yet tougher Slugabed sound. A bonafide hip hop banger, it bounces along with its sturdy combo of bass and percussion sounds before luring you into a false sense of tension and releasing you back into the grooving rhythm. Works beautifully.
“My Sense Of Smell Comes And Goes” is another throwback to the sounds that made him famous, a trawling monster of a beat full of weird and wonderful sounds which he once described as sounding like “lazer battles in the future” – an analogy I can’t better, so I’ll use it instead. “Tomorrow Morning” flips things around again towards a newer aesthetic, with strong hints of garage and a dancefloor sensibility in the drum patterns that has so far been quite rare in his music and which he wonderfully combines with his lazer-like melodies. The winner for me though is the last and shortest track, “Nu Krak Swing”, a flashback to 80s boogie and swing twisted and flipped in the finest hip hop fashion.
“Moonbeam Rider” is about as promising an EP as you’re going to hear from a young producer this year, and coming from someone as unique and talented as Slugabed it promises much bigger things to come.