Cooly G, Landscapes


Photo by Felix Kaestle

[Hyperdub]


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Cooly G operates within UK funky in the loosest sense, both literally and metaphorically. But while a majority of producers working within the idiom have begun to rely on an increasingly conservative audio template, her sound remains expansive. But on this, her third release for Hyperdub, she does not quite consolidate the meditative and muscular to her usual convincing effect. “Landscapes,” featuring additional production from Simbad, uses rising pads that slowly build into a mellow vocal track voiced by Cooly G herself. Her double-tracked voice is warm, soaking in thee elements of bubbling percussion, a subtle and bouncy bass line and melodic synths that unfold cohesively. For Hyperdub, though, this is somewhat staid material — surprisingly close to what often peters anonymously out of trendy pre-club bars on any given weekend. Although the beats are very much UK funky, all skittering snares and off beat kicks, there is a smooth, mid-90’s coffee table aesthetic at play here, which makes the end product feel curiously bland.

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The Karizma-featuring B-side, “It’s Serious” is a much more interesting proposition. Hypnotic tribal drums propel the energy forward with a muted ferocity. A variety of interesting samples snake around the rhythm track, from minute snippets of funk guitar to slightly off beat hats and a wonderfully arranged selection of dusty old drum samples. The moody and cinematic vibe is well rendered, and this track will work beautifully as a mid-set bridge into harder styles. Not much happens, but what is showcased is a richly satisfying and deeply warm slab of steely locked groove. The only complaint here is the length: at just below four minutes, you’re left wanting more. Cooly G has emerged as an original within a conservative scene, and despite the anonymity of “Landscapes,” the original drive of the B-side more than makes up for it on this release.

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