Wbeeza, City Shuffle EP

[Third Ear Recordings]

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City Shuffle is the second EP by Warren Brown, better known as Wbeeza, to proudly declare “THIS IS THE HOUSE SOUND OF LONDON” on its sleeve. Oh, that it were true. London’s clubs are currently soundtracked by Phonica-approved, nutrient-deprived, pseudo-deep house, but anyhow, let’s leave the negativity (or truthspeak) to Dope Jams, and accentuate the positive. This is the third EP for Third Ear by the young, Bermondsey, South London resident, and shows his sound maturing from the rough style of the New Skank or Heavy Stuff EPs. “Maturing” in music critic language usually translates to some variant on “dull,” “bland” or “smoother,” but while Wbeeza’s new stuff is certainly more polished, there’s enough bite here to avoid it being lumped in with the aforementioned dross.

If “Candle Groove” lacks the shock of the new that made tracks like “He’s So Crazy” so thrilling, it makes up for it in the subtle fashion that the, yes, “smooth” groove develops. It took a few listens, but it’s a beautiful arrangement that provides respite from the hectic nature of rest of the EP. This is most apparent on “A116,” where a bumping, Adonis-eque bass line, is interrupted sporadically by a furious hi-hat. “Hip Op” retains the wonky, almost jazzy feeling of the previous “Rok’s Dogg,” perhaps indicating that Brown has learned a fair bit from the tutelage of Delano Smith and the other Detroit bods who have patronized his music. One of the reasons Wbeeza’s music rises above the rest of his capital’s is the exuberant personality that can’t help but shine through. “All Those Beats” has Wbeeza’s cousin Damian yelling over the top of a rambunctious groove in a 21st century, London equivalent of Chuck Robert’s “My House,” about the various factions and nations that can come together under the umbrella of some deliberately loosely defined and inclusive rhythm(s). London producers, take note: it ain’t about following fashion, it ain’t about scenes, it is about “all those beats.” Or as another geezer once pontificated before a descent into minor celebrity and gambling debt-fueled purgatory: “Let’s push things forward.”

Joe  on February 11, 2010 at 5:32 AM

It’s not been all that bad here lately!

Joe H  on February 11, 2010 at 7:19 AM

This is sounding nice. Here is a good live set of his from when he played at freerotation last year thats definitely worth checking. http://www.play.fm/recording/freerotationbaskervillehallhayonwye_gb2009081521773#play_21773

brut! records  on February 22, 2010 at 2:13 PM

amazing artist and great record. one of the freshest things i’ve listened in the past few years.

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