Gang Colours |
In Your Gut Like A Knife |
Brownswood Recordings |
In Your Gut Like A Knife sets a high bar for urban electronica in 2011 and despite efforts to find anything dislikable about this release, it just doesn’t seem to be there. Like a moping ghost, Gang Colours (aka Will Ozanne) sound sways in ambiguity, not leaning towards one genre or the other and ending up in scarily authentic territory. It’s not so surprising then, that the debut EP finds Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings take a slight step towards the post garage oeuvres of labels like Hotflush, whose break out act Mount Kimbie will resonate strongly with this release.
Like Kimbie, Gang Colours arranges aching melodies and chord progressions with inflections of soul and r&b to conjure the forlorn and the mysterious. Yet, this EP isn’t all down beat and holds enough bump and grind for the ‘purple wow’ DJ mixes of Joker or the indie electronica of Gold Panda. There is a plethora of sound to be found throughout the EP with its washing pitch bent pads that roll in and out against grime paced 808 kits, whilst processed noises rip themselves out in front of the mix and sampled vocals are chopped apart and stabbed back together.
The starry journey of Village & The City gives the initial impression that it was produced on a half broken home keyboard – you can almost picture the producer, head bent over and long hair falling over the keys – before you know it, your in and then out of the midst of a groove that seamlessly comes and goes. Placed strategically at the start of the EP, this tune is destined for wide crossover appeal and is much more positive in its emotion than the following tracks.
Fireworks In Pocket carries slow burning sub synth weight, but remains delicate like an r&b slow jam. It’s tight knit stepping hi-hats are nicely offset against a whole orchestration of lo-fi synth melodies, horn blasts and even synth guitar bridges. The track immediately places you into a headphone zone and is an enticing teaser of what Gang Colours might do with a long player in the future.
Dance Around the Subject can be listed as one for the DJ set with its emphatic builds and drops and (eventual) jamming club melody that would line it up as a useful intra-mix tune. However, the eponymous In Your Gut Like A Knife is the standout tune of this release, with its weaving of warm pads with portamento-heavy organs and restrained hip hop shuffle. The gated r&b vocal is also superbly worked and when let out of its cage, sends shivers down the back while the sweetly simple and cyclic melody leaves you with one hand placed over your heart.
There couldn’t be a better place than Brownswood Recordings for this Gang Colours release, where the status of label head Gilles Peterson and his fine BBC Radio 1 show will undoubtedly see the artist reach far across the spectrum this year.
01 Village & City
02 Fireworks In Pocket
03 Dance Around The Subject
04 In Your Gut Like A Knife