The ever-mutating sound of UK dance music has a funny effect on some people. Type ‘hardcore continuum’ into Google and you’ll find all manner of pseudo-scholarly discourse on the origins of dubstep and bassline, most of it dryer than a three-day-old digestive.
But while funky, or UK house, might have given po-faced purists the hot sweats via novelty anthems like the ‘Swine Flu Skank’, elsewhere it’s commanding dancefloors with stripped-down riddims and live-instrumental jams.
Shy FX is the latest convert, dropping Attacca Pesante’s deep and soulful ‘Make It Funky For Me’ (out now) on his Digital Sound Boy label. Already tearing up Radio 1, Kiss and 1Xtra, vocalist Shea Soul joins South London producers Zack B, Dean MFJ and Ashley H, whose musical pedigree includes backings for Bashy, as well as working with Miss Dynamite.
Though Rusko and Roqwell & I Sancho provide dubstep and house re-rubs, it’s Shy’s own remix with Benny Page, featuring Donaeo, Wretch 32 & Scorcher, that’s sure to get genre genealogists lighting up message boards.
Defying definition, “it’s drum & bass-influenced at 140bpm,” is Shy’s best description of a sound born from the same mould as Skream’s Amen jungle tribute, ‘Burning Up’, already out on the label. “I’m trying to go back to the days of jungle when there was a melting pot of different cultures in music, which is also what I’m doing with the label,” he adds.
Part of a hugely fertile period for UK street sounds, the Attacca Pesante album promises “all different styles,” according to Ashley H from the outfit. And with further releases from Red Light, Breakage, Benny Page, Bugz In The Attic and Skream, as well as a Shy FX album, Digital Sound Boy is a certain bet to keep both dancefloors, and keyboards, tapping away.