Given that, opening with Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland's astringent, harpsichord-flecked "Signal 2012" is a weird move. It is brilliant, but in an unapologetically strange way. Likewise, "Never Defeated" by Fhloston Paradigm (AKA King Britt), a particularly fraught and sonically elusive slice of neo-soul, could hardly be said to lack chewy complexity. There is plenty of esoteric sonic stimulation in the rhythmically slippery undertow of DJ Rashad's pop-soul deconstruction "Only One," as well as on Kode9's closing track, "Lies Lies," and even on Jessy Lanza's new one, "You And Me," a typically insidious piece of laptop-soul and falsetto gymnastics.
As expected, Hyperdub's output retains a pretty sophisticated tone even when it's dealing in pop hooks and party tracks. The dusty '70s soul samples and block-party vibes of Morgan Zarate's terrific "Sticks & Stones" (featuring Eska and Ghostface Killah) could not be more retro, but it's executed with irresistible oomph. Meanwhile, several tracks pay homage to the tricksy genius of Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins and early-noughties R&B in a way that, while not boundary breaking, is hardly dumbed-down. Terror Danjah's "You Make Me Feel" or Cooly G's "Obsessed" could (and this is meant as high praise) be lost Destiny's Child tracks.
Every Hyperdub collector will have an opinion about whether or not these are indeed the label's best songs (no "Aidy's Girl Is A Computer"?) or whether Hyperdub's experimental wing is properly represented (no Laurel Halo?). But taken as an attempt to prove that you can make intelligent, credible pop music, Hyperdub 10.2 a classy blast.
Fri / 8 Aug 2014
01. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - Signal 2012
02. Burial - Shell of LIght
03. Jessy Lanza - 5785021
04. Cooly G - Obsessed
05. Fhloston Paradigm - Never Defeated feat. Rachel Claudio
06. DVA - Solid feat. Zaki Ibrahim
07. Ikonika - I Know (That U Are The 1) feat. Dam Funk
08. Morgan Zarate - Pusher Taker feat. Roses Gabor
09. Jessy Lanza - You And Me
10. Morgan Zarate - Sticks & Stones feat. Eska & Ghostface Killah
11. DVA - Just Vybe (Soule Power Mix) feat. Fatima
12. Terror Danjah – You Make Me Feel feat. Meleka
13. DJ Rashad - Only One feat. Spinn & Taso
14. Kode9 – Lies Lies feat. copeland