The New York producer known as FaltyDL often seems to reserve some of his most uncategorizable material for the UK's Ramp Recordings, like 2009's hip-hop-flavored "Metacognist" or the lurching, anti-gravity "Alpafun," from the same year. "Hip Love," recorded around the same time but only released now, fits the pattern: where recent FaltyDL EPs for Planet Mu and Rush Hour have narrowed their focus on interpretations of house or 2-step garage, "Hip Love" is an idiosyncratic blast of broken beats and dubby horns that doesn't really fit any given template. The beat is as unstable as it gets without falling apart entirely; it lurches like an Amen break gone haywire, lashing out with double-time rimshots as the kick drum stumbles, lunging for the downbeat and missing time and again, like a desperate hiker slipping across a rocky stream.
Bleating horn chords help smooth out the mood, though, while pitch-shifted vocal phrases add an air of strange melancholy. As ever, you can link the warped R&B to Burial and Todd Edwards, but the way he lays out the lines, tangling and straightening again, you can tell that Falty DL is less interested in tropes or stylistic convention than in working out solutions to problems of his own design. More than anything, what's impressive about the track is that something so busy—chaotic, even—could ultimately sound so elegant.
Jamie xx turns up on the B-side, returning the favor after Falty DL's remix of The xx's "Islands." (Not a bad swap; with his Gil Scott Heron album about to drop, Jamie xx is one of the hottest properties going at the moment.) It's a brilliant version, with a lumbering groove that clocks in at a dubstep-friendly 130 BPM but feels somehow slower; a hiccupping bassline bubbles up against shuffling drums and finger snaps while reverbed vocals and glowing chords dissolve into a rich, harmonic fog. It doesn't bear much immediate similarity to the original, aside from the fact that it doesn't fit any established templates—not in bass music, nor anywhere else. Both tunes are true originals.
Tracklist: FaltyDL - Hip LoveA1 Hip Love
A2 Hip Love (Jamie XX Remix)
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