The celebrated DJ continues to showcase his flexibility.
Louis Pattison 2009-10-22
Zinc made his big mark on the landscape of UK dance culture as part of The Ganja Cru, a London production outfit whose rowdy 1996 cut Super Sharp Shooter pimped out jungle with a pneumatic bassline that would shame all but the rudest modern dubstep wobbler.
Since, Zinc – real name Benjamin Petit – has proven his flexibility, turning his hand to two-step garage with 1999’s 138 Trek and plying his trade as a breaks producer at the helm of his own label, Bingo Beats. This new 10-track collection, however, marks a new style for Zinc – a shift towards the straightforward four-to-the-floor tempo that’s currently captivating London urban music in the shape of UK funky, but one which rejects that emergent genre’s sensual feel and soca-tinged percussion for a darker feel characterised by solid beats, sluggish hoover bass and sporadic MCing.
“The new sound!” declares one such MC, over and over, on Nu Sound – but while one must admit this exact formula is a twist, we’re not talking shock of the new territory here. Essentially, Crack House innovates by taking the brutal bass lines currently popular thanks to Benga, Rusko and their ilk and hooking them up to a hard-hitting house engine.
Still, let’s not pick holes: Horrible is a percussive monster spattered with alien bleeps and an eerie, persistent melody that harks back to the queasy rush of ‘ardkore, while Killa Sound, featuring fast-spitting female MC No Lay, proves Zinc’s formula works as the perfect backdrop for a vocalist. And while this might be house, it finds ways to innovate within that straitjacket – 128 Trek updates Zinc’s garage classic 138 Trek with a deft bit of rhythmic reprogramming, while Pimp My Ride fixes up the 4/4 bounce with snappy rimshot clacks and body-moving bass wobbles.
In short, Crack House works because of its close proximity to current dance trends, not despite it – but it marks Zinc out to be the right sort of awkward figure in the dance continuum, one eager to shake up the constituent parts and join the dots that no-one else is joining.