The pairing of Martin Kemp and Frijsfo Beats makes perfect sense. Both artist and label have released some of the most compelling, party ready and adventurous music from the garage-y end of the bass spectrum these past few years, and they both share a refreshingly low-key approach with regard to the hype machine. Accordingly, Frijsfo’s release schedule has often championed cult artists such as Submerse and Sully — who work largely with experimental 2-step — alongside rangy cross-tempo fare from eclectic journeyman Geiom. Martin Kemp, meanwhile, released what was surely one of the most original records of 2009 — bona fide classic “No Charisma” — before mysteriously disappearing off radar. On this EP he releases some of his strongest — and certainly his trippiest — material so far.
“German Salad” is a warped affair — scattershot snares, dark synth lines, and off-key vocal snippets: UK Funky reimagined through the mind of a mescal-fueled goblin. “Closer” leads on a more pensive vibe, with moody synth drones and running water samples moving around dizzying layers of tribal drums. The best is saved for last with “Cracks,” though. An ancient-sounding African drum loop is vamped around a cacophony of kicks and snares with a menacing two-note stab of a bass line and a clipped voice counting “one, two, three, four” — compulsively hypnotic exotics. This EP is full of the raw, woozy, and mildly delirious beats Kemp has made his own. It’s heartening to see a producer with such a scant discography nail a sound so idiosyncratic as to be instantly recognizable, and this very strong record ably adds to his modest but perfectly formed discography.