Since the release of his Jagz The Smack (Stuff005) release last December the hype has built behind Rustie and aquacrunk (the name came from Rustie’s passion for crunk and the aquatic electronics of Drexciya). Jagz the Smack sold out and the more recent Cafe De Phresh has proven equally popular.
The music itself is made of slowed down, low-slung beats, with lashings of electronic mutterings and morphing basslines on top. In terms of influences the music owes as much to early Rephlex and Underground Resistance releases, as they do to the sound of crunk stars like Lil’ Jon or Young Buck.
So why has hip-hop from the American south mixed so well with electronica, and in Glasgow of all places? Richard Chater, who runs Stuff records and put out Jagz the Smack, isn’t surprised: “Certain forms of music just suit Glasgow”, he says. “Drum’n’bass never really took off here and neither has bassline house. But hip-hop and techno have always fitted in nicely. What Rustie is doing is an extension of that. People up here regained their interest in hip-hop when it started to get more interesting with producers like J Dilla, Madlib and Timbaland all doing something more energetic and fun.”
Rustie, who is known to turn around remixes in one night, is winning fans with his ability to produce club tracks and emotional slabs of electronica, all with his signature crunk style. His recent remix of Jamie Lidell’s Another Day transformed it from a three minute happy-go-lucky pop song into a dark, emotronic tear jerker. (His influence is stretching into dubstep too, where Zomby’s aquacrunk re-jig of Strange Fruit has to be a candidate for the genre’s freshest-sounding track this year.)
As with most forms of dance music, there is one club that nurtures aquacrunk. The Numbers night at Glasgow’s Sub Club is to aquacrunk what the Paradise Garage was to house and what Niche was to 4x4 bassline.
In recent months, Numbers has grown from a 100-capacity basement where German electro-heads Modeselektor played one of their earliest British gigs, to its current home at Sub Club where they regularly play host to six times as many punters.
Like dubstep before it, and its links to Croydon’s Big Apple, the gospel of aquacrunk is being spread through one record shop. Rub-a-dub records in Glasgow is at the centre of the city’s electronic scene with half a dozen labels like Wireblock, Stuff and Dress 2 Sweat all run out of the shop or by associates.
“Glasgow has always had a healthy music scene,” explains Chater. “Perhaps there is a little too much going on for a city of this size. But that means there has always been a strong community who introduce each other to different sounds and artists.”
It seems aquacrunk is the tip of a vast musical iceberg that is emerging in the city right now. Which means Glasgow could be becoming the most interesting place in the world for urban music.
Edited by Timppa2000 on 8 May 2012, 15:57
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