Dego And Kaidi, Dego And Kaidi

[Eglo Records]

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Alex Nut and Floating Points look into their genre ancestry with a pitch-perfect signing to their label, Eglo, a prime London source of woozy funk, deep house, and electronic soul music. This new four-tracker comes from two trailblazing broken-beat producers who probably played an indirect but nonetheless important part in the label’s genesis. In the pairing of Bugz in the Attic’s Kaidi (Tatham) and Dego, also of hardcore/jungle pioneer 4 Hero (who is having a brief resurgence with Berceuse Heroique’s re-releasing an EP from his Cousin Cockroach alias), you probably have the most important duo of the London-born subgenre, which combined jungle, jazz, hip-hop, and house. Here they provide four fingerwaggingly funky and achingly poignant tracks, with rhythms to bend you out of shape, and the cool, glowing soul that’s characteristic of the label.

“Ankle Injury” must be so titled for its high-speed funk breaks that are mauled into something reminiscent of the short-lived drumfunk scene, that refuge of dissatisfied 21st century junglists. Its simple calling riff introduces the EP nicely, hinting at the nostalgic melodies to come. “Acting Up On Some Shit That Don’t Count” therefore feels like the first song proper, and what a fully formed thing it is. Composed in two parts, there is a sudden swap in the middle; what begins with a gentle mix of songbird timbres, fat, squashed keys, and an almost backward sequence of drum flourishes suddenly seems to change direction as the melodies disappear into delay. The riffs right themselves as the drums become firmly planted in your heels to achieve forward motion. With it, a head-shaking optimism arrives, engulfing the emotional malaise of the intro. As if to give voice to this feeling, already painted skillfully without words, a fully rhythmic, almost spoken-word refrain joins the other loops in a tour de force of stylish emotive funk.

On “Don’t Remain The Same,” the mood shifts to something more like a head-muddled traipse home through the city at night. Deft drums are tossed into a throw-and-catch shape with stylish syncopation; synth keys and touches of smooth melody are whipped into a fluid curl of color, searingly poignant and not at all wispy. Those semi-spiritual, beat-attuned vocals return in a second triumph for the EP, which is made all the better by belonging to a style that has little currency elsewhere. “Carrots & Sesame” closes the EP in a jazz-funk journey of increasingly ripe and saturated timbres, the sombre soul piano chords being blotted out by ever-fattening squeezes of synth, ever-chunkier kicks, and claps that slice right through.

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