So this is how Rush Hour celebrates a triumphant 2010: by getting knee-deep in one of the sweatiest, sultriest, all-out nastiest house jams to come along in ages. "Nano Kids," from Manchester's Freak Seven (Naveed Akhtar), is gorgeous, but it's also sneaky: it's an anthem in disguise, a spangled gown wrapped in a hobo's rags. The first couple of minutes roll out a tight, steppy drum groove, with staccato 909 hi-hats cutting neatly through murky, molten chords, squelchy and dissonant; downpitched, spoken-word grumbles from vocalist Aniff Akinola flash back to acid tracks like "Your Only Friend."
Then, just when you've thought you were being boxed into a corner, Akinola takes off into a lilting melody, and the song turns into something like a manifesto: "We are the children of technology/ We are the future," and "We are the children from a new life/ We are the children on the moon." It feels, in a way, like an answer track to Larry Heard presents Mr. White's "The Sun Can't Compare." But where that tune was all sweetness and light, all ringing open fifths and octaves, this is a creepy netherworld (nano-world?) of queasy blips and sing-song delirium. (And for those who don't care for the vocals, by whatever quirk of taste, there's also an instrumental.)
"Feel the Soul" is marginally closer in spirit to the Detroit-influenced techno that Akthar produced in the early '00s for New Religion, but it still stands out as something striking and unusual. The structure of the thing is soldered together from drum-machine phrases and possibly a break or two, though it's hard to say for sure; a rumbling, basso synth-tom sound obscures the particulars of the terrain, and breathy chords (possibly sampled from Björk's "The Anchor Song") add an additional layer of gauze. Loping percussion, drones, sax skronk and dubbed-out cries add to the manic mood as the track gathers steam, with Akinola intoning, "Feel the pressure/ Feel the soul"—stock tropes, maybe, but effective. (Again, there's also an instrumental version.) It's reminiscent of Laurent Garnier's Tres Demented edit—but even more demented. In a word, huge.
Buy Freak Seven feat. Aniff - Nano Kids at
Tracklist: Freak Seven feat. Aniff - Nano Kids A1 Nano Kids (Vox)
A2 Nano Kids (Instrumental)
B1 Feel the Soul (Vox)
B2 Feel the Soul (Instrumental)
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