crimeboys – Very Dark Past on 3XL
The latest volley in a series of jungle-inflected offerings from 3XL has arrived in the form of crimeboys’ Very Dark Past. If you’re a student of UK bass music, if you simply can’t get enough Black Secret Technology or you just love amorphous, vaporous dub then this one’s gonna be unmissable.
crimeboys is Special Guest DJ and Pontiac Streator – two central players in that increasingly influential axis centred around West Mineral Ltd, Motion Ward, xpq?, and others. The music stirs within an ambivalent space between club dynamism and bedroom listening.
A track like Trippin’, for instance, weaves a submerged uptempo rhythm through a glowing atmosphere of gaseous tones so subtly you might not have noticed but for your legs itching to dance. Deja Entendu then enters the fray with a powerful reese, but yet in that fine and understated way that Instra:mental pulled it off some years back – brooding and affected. Sex and Drugs, landing like another nod to the Autonomic sound, oozes with seedy flickering neon, shadow, and a restrained suggestion of sadness. The tracks sound like a strange alloy of polished chrome and after-hours radiance shot through with all the latent anxiety of a dark and sub-heavy clubnight. As we drift towards the end of the record Haunted Tattoo soundtracks our wander home under amber streetlights, ears still ringing.
This development of their sound, while clearly co-ordinated with the so-called “hardcore continuum“, isn’t an exercise in imitation or repetition. The music is starkly original, taking only fragments of the past and coaxing out entirely new possibilities within them. Just like everything these guys put out, it’s honest, authentic music with heart.