Dirty Mac: The Last B-boy On Mars

Dirty Mac’s highly anticipated return gets right to the gritty rub with four cuts of slow-burning and erstwhile white hot, dance floor choice. New Tingle, a slow-mo Caribbean belter, has the trademark Dirty Mac buck-wild rhythm heard on his Sub-plate releases. The spacious programming, loosely hung and crisply executed hats and splashy snares steal through a listing, wormhole-acid lick and shimmering glockenspiel, while the 8-bit steelpan device combines for a muscular and agile groove. The towering, opiate bassline looms forward an unrelenting groove that menaces and entices in equal measure. This is how a fleet of tropical, spear-bristling war-ships sound as they cut a sizzling, ineffable path of destruction to a dance floor near you.
There is a masterful nonchalance to Fourth is the Charm of a kind that would smash up your best school project and hand back the bits with a smile, leaving you disarmed but entirely enthralled. The arrangement of sassy sample triggers keeps the ride nasty, but sharp over an unstoppable tilting low-end section, amorphous and buoyant, and booming around a low-slung 4×4 groove. The high-end electrics provide a contrasting dissonance, while bubbling acid licks propel everything forward so that you can’t help but bop your head. Flies well below radar and guarantees dips in the hips!

Junior Barky has all the front – part grime, part dancehall, part electro-funk – to bring together each element into a surprisingly emotive and dystopian ‘Living In A Land’ redux. The evocative and almost wistful sound effects keep the atmosphere spacey and distant, while a quaking sub-bass lours in and out of view. The spiralling acid motif trips over itself endlessly, like a optical illusion in sound, fudgy and emphasising the surrounding high-definition arrangement. In fact some astonishing sountrack-esque production here. A track of stripped out, dub-wise space-funk, cut adrift via Croydon into another galaxy and beamed back to us from the future.

Coming to Dry Heat and we find a proper barn-stormer. Here we see the safety come switched off as almost unmitigated dance floor pressure ensues. Not immediately obvious as the groove starts pensive with deep, bubbling aquatic sfx, a cinematic sub-bass rumble warming up underneath. However, the drop is nothing if not dramatic, as the fierce attitude of the acid line, stutters and builds in relentless sharp edged fury. Inventive use of syncopated wood-percussion sounds permeates throughout and tees up the haunted-dancehall break. This winds and escalates in thick slabs of reverb and space-echo until the ebullient 303 tears back centre stage, all pots blazing. A truly stand alone track which masterfully switches between full throttle and emotive, harmonic restraint. The transitions between the two are sheer neck bristle.

This is Dirty Mac on his bossiest best. The sense that these high-octane pieces were immaculately forged and belies the production finesse of an accomplished studio hound. The effect feels like listening in 3D, as if you can inspect the reverse side of every razored hat and corrugated clap that fizzes past your ear. With a full compliment of vintage analogue, we hear the product of years in the dusty craft of machine-funk engineering: a keen insouciance that has no truck with routine and demands careful attention.

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