Hype Williams on Hyperdub seems both a huge surprise and a completely natural move; after all, Steve Goodman is nothing if not a savvy and prescient curator. Trying to place the mysterious group in Hyperdub's vaunted lineage seems a rather vexing task initially, but on closer inspection the group's murky internet pop culture soup shares a certain abstract commonality with Goodman's own music as Kode9, and certainly Burial's savant abuse of R&B. The connection is most obvious with "Farthing Wood Dub," where an aching, insatiably searching melodica cries out in tortured pain over a seismic bassline, falling nicely in line with Kode9's earliest dub-wise collaborations with The Spaceape, a 2011-styled dress-down update on their dread epic Memories Of The Future.
A-side "Rise Up" is the star here, however, and it's one of the meatiest, most full-fledged songs the group has released thus far. Impossible to pick out what might be sampled and what's original, the group pushes its curious politics of sound quality and anti-fidelity to the extreme with a backing track that sounds ripped straight off YouTube, low-impact drums swimming through a viscous ocean of compression artifacts and strangled strings. The vocal, mumbled by Inga Copeland, is completely unintelligible and frustratingly fleeting, transient bits of melody wafting by and disappearing like wisps of sweetly perfumed smoke. It's arguably the closest yet the group have come to fully recreating the pop and R&B they love to interrogate, but it's still refracted and distorted beyond recognition.
The other tracks only serve to further contort and obscure, the one minute "Boss Man" revealing an affinity with the kind of genre-free UK dance music that can be found elsewhere on Hyperdub. The genuinely creepy "Badmind" closes out the EP, wobbling on detuned chimes and what sounds like neutered tympanis, laying claim to an uncomfortable dreamworld. It's the kind of thing that could soundtrack an old quasi-educational VHS tape about exotic locales as much as it could a nightmare, replete with an unnervingly unemotional poetry recital laid over top.
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Tracklist: Hype Williams - Kelly Price W8 Gain Vol II EP A1 Rise Up
A2 Boss Man
B1 Farthing Wood Dub