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White Noise: Boddika - Steam

Monday, 9 September 2013

Boddika - Steam

Label: Swamp81

Al Green can be a very busy man, so it’s strange when he goes quiet. The artist known as Boddika (formerly one half of Instra:Mental), has recently supplemented his ace solo productions with a mammoth compilation for his Nonplus imprint as well as a slew of hotly sought-after collaborative releases with Joy Orbison. Yet it’s been almost a year since we’ve had a solo release from the acid-obsessed hardware freak, so it’s a pleasure to finally hear Steam, which easily marks the best release on Loefah’s Swamp81 imprint in over a year.


Although three of these tunes have been floating around on Youtube since last year, they’re still a pleasure to hear in high-def, and have lost none of their relevance. This is because Boddika’s style is rather timeless: bass-heavy structures fed on techno and acid roots - you can tell a Boddika production from a mile off. The mixture of subtlety and grit on opener Steam perfectly typifies the Boddika sound, as tunnelling bass movements propel woodblock percussion and an ultra-clipped vocal. While not quite DJ tools, there’s always something distinctly club-focused about Boddika’s tunes, as he hones in on a particular groove and toys with it, never letting up the pace. He does one better on  second cut Heat, where a sultry female vocal adds mystique to the seething acid riff and taut atmospherics.


If there was a notable restraint to the A-side’s technoid burners, the B shows Boddika getting a little unhinged, and it’s a welcome change. Black is a deeply menacing affair, as 808 cowbells, cavernous bass hits and misted vocals call out over a squealing, all-consuming synthline. Meanwhile companion piece Crack trades in clockwork atmospherics and filtering vocals, all set over roiling basswork. Boddika’s work is always precision-built for the club, but the producer’s attention to detail and atmosphere is ever-present – the material on Steam is sure to set the dancefloor alight, as long as you can take the all-pervading darkness.


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