There’s been a spate of really decent and refreshing takes on Grime’s instrumental potential recently – “Logos EP” on Keysound and this new EP by Slackk on Local Action are the best two examples. Shifting his focus away from his recent Patrice & Friends project, which jukes up disco and boogie, Slackk returns to his love of Grime with four cuts of punishing instrumentals that are London through and through. Dirty and claustrophobic like an East London tower block yet invigorating and liberating like a walk through the city’s streets, “Raw Missions” does one thing and does it well.
Opener “Blue Sleet” makes no concessions from the start; pounding drums and a deadly yet energising lead melody are all that’s needed to throw you back into the deep end of what’s made Grime such an essential London genre in the 00s. “90 Years” benefits from a spot on vocal sample intro before the drop quite literally pounds you into submission – the hair on my skin raising as I type this and listen to it again. This is music to lose your mind to in a rave, and I can easily picture a bunch of hungry MCs fighting for the mic to give this the once over. “Fat City” is another synth led riddim, with a rhythm track that’s less in your face than the first two yet just as enjoyable. Someone once told me that if you’re having a good time and things are fine, then London is the best city in the world. However if life bears down on you, London will just as easily chew you up and spit you out. The synths in Grime are a sonic representation of this – on the one hand they’re beautiful and invigorating, and on the other they’re dangerous, the heralds of something much darker about to hit you. Slackk channels this inherent London contradiction in the music on “Raw Missions”. “Almost Transparent” closes the EP with a hat tip to the short lived, yet deeply exciting Sino-grime phase, recreating the often sampled Chinese melodies on his computer - swapping sampling grit for VST cheapness - and it works. Add to this the swarming bass and gunshot claps and it’s like 2005 all over again.
Titled after the East London pirate Raw Mission, this EP is a homage to some great times by someone who knows them perhaps better than most – Slackk was curator of the Grimetapes website, so he knows about Grime. And as far as homages go this is up there with the best, yet it also stands on its own as some damn fine London music.