DJ Spatts: Works of Friction
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UK release date 30.10.2015
So what happens when you take a love for all things Si-Fi, a unique taste in music, talented DJ / producer and then mix that all together? Well, you get DJ Spatts, a man who has been making music since 1985, and has the grey hair to prove it! Emerging out of the Milton Keynes Hip Hop scene as a member of The Criminal Minds, he now offers us his latest project, Works of Friction.
Spatts under serval different groups, for the past 25 years has brought us some major sonic ammunition, often crossing over and bridging styles (in some cases accidentally) that weren’t meant to be crossed. Spatts has both majorly influenced the hardcore hip-hop sound and co-pioneered the drum & bass sound, ‘Baptised by Dub’ being the Criminal Mind’s foray into that style. Only until now has Spatts ventured onwards to the solo frontier bringing with him his latest project, Works of Friction.
If you’re thinking ‘Britcore is back!’ guess again, Spatts hasn’t tried to please anyone with this release. Quite the opposite, he has presented us with his own sonic landscape, hip-hop as he sees fit. That’s not taking anything away from it either, in fact it’s refreshing, a well needed break from all the static being churned out to date.
Listening to the album, its clear Spatts understands music to a point where others do not. His wealth of knowledge and experience makes for a truly enjoyable listen, you can appreciate the complexity of this work throughout, it’s all killer – with no filler.
His arrangements break the mould of what hip-hop should be. Often in one track he transitions between serval tracks, panning his horns and layers of sci-fi samples and vocal snippets owing to a wonderful full sound. This is the problem with a lot of producers, simplistic drum patterns and loops become the norm, it becomes uniformly melodic, stuck in one BPM range. So when someone like Spatts brings out new works that are so far away from the norm, its value is truly appreciated, well it is by me!
The opening track, Warming up the Machines, is just that, preparing himself and his equipment for this project. The intro sets the sonic landscape and hints at what is yet to come, drawing you in for more...Featuring on serval of the tracks including Spark the Gunpowder and Waiting for the Bomb to Drop is Uncle Mic Nitro, formally a member of the Dark Craftsmen, he has recently started to record once more. Uncle Mic’s unstoppable marathon of similes and metaphors coupled with so many punch lines, it takes serval listens to catch them all, is truly unique in his approach – at the same time listening back you discover more.
The standout track on the album Hip Hop Owes Me Money features a roster of UK and international artists, most notably MC Pebblee Poo. Hip Hop’s first female MC under Kool Herc’s ‘Herculords’ in the early 1970s.
Spatts constructed Hip Hop Owes Me Money in a fashion reminiscent of the block party funk break days, cutting short break loops back and forth – that any oldschool head will love!
Spatts has understood what makes a great album with Works of Friction. There's a variety in sounds, DJ friendly tracks and most importantly not an overload of features. That is one aspect that many overdo. His use of instrumental break ups between tracks is a nice departure from what we are used to, I often think that a relentless stream of vocal packed tracks becomes boring – often limiting creativity.
Work of Friction is now available to stream via Spotify and October 30 will see CD versions and digital downloads so watch out! – Those of us who like our music on the vinyl format, expect a four track sampler sometime in December. – Take a listen, what have you got to loose!
Words DJ True