Maybe it's just the constant (and often hilarious) chatter coming from her infamous twitter account that makes her seem more prolific than she is, but isn't it a little shocking that Up in My Head is only Cooly G's second release on Hyperdub? After a year on the label's roster, she already feels like one of its biggest stars. But this is an idea based more on her own merits than Hyperdub's. Indeed, one gets the sense that she always would have found her way to wider audiences, her sensually breathy and irresistibly elastic sound bound to stand out no matter what context she finds herself in.
The two sides of vinyl on Merrisa Campbell's latest release reveal her split musical personality: namely, smoky slow-burners and liquid-smooth bangers. The A-side "Up in My Head" is very much a pop tune, spiritually connected to her series of self-released, sometimes-R&B-leaning Dub Organizer EPs. The springy drums and softly psychedelic sustained keys are a far cry from the mechanically precise UK funky of "Narst," the hallucinogenic mood enhanced by Campbell's laconic vocals and nearly atonal moans that hover above the track like wispy trails of stoned smoke.
On the other hand, "Phat Si" is a cornucopia of percussive treats, at least until an electric guitar squeals and illuminates the track's unseen corners for a few milliseconds with its white-hot frayed ends. It splinters microscopically before burning itself out completely in a brilliant, blinding flash, a dazzling effect on top of a track rhythmically strong enough to survive without this sort of embellishment. It's tempting to say that Cooly G is finding a way to fit untraditional sounds into some sort of established template, but it's clear that she broke the template before she went anywhere near Hyperdub. That it's allowed her barebones house to trickle down into waters usually inhabited by dubstep, garage and even a little techno is a pleasant and occasionally mesmerizing side effect.
Buy Cooly G - Up in My Head at
Tracklist: Cooly G - Up in My Head A Up in My Head
B Phat Si