London trio Funkystepz have been providing dependable and fierce foundations for UK funky sets in the past few years. But while they've been hard to avoid, they've been impossible to find, with a dearth of proper releases. Their oeuvre will hopefully solidify into something actually traceable (and physical) in 2011, however, with the help of labels such as Hyperdub.
As with the esteemed label's previous forays into funky, these are aggressive, almost militant tunes. They are laced with brutal bassline and grime influences. "Fuller" particularly embodies this, bouncing a squeaky synth in an empty void along with the occasional organ note and even a lone, resonant airhorn. A little more orthodox is "Hurricane Riddim," which forgoes the weirdness in favour of sheer force, arming its kick drum with melodramatic orchestral stabs and letting a barbed-ware bassline carve its way through. The group's voiceover—a fiercely-intoned "Funkystepz"—rides the beat effortlessly, a deadly serious version of the infamous "Roska, Roska, Roska" audio stamp. The best thing about the group's productions here are how they loop certain melodies or sections into fitfully cycling stuck-gear grooves, building enormous tension before a hell of a satisfying drop. While funky continues to be critically ignored in the wake of a general sense of complacency, Funkystepz make a hell of a case for an overdue re-evaluation.
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Tracklist: Funkystepz - Fuller A Fuller
B Hurricane Riddim