Addison Groove // Transistor Rhythm // March 30 // 50 Weapons
If you only care about hip dance music on a surface level then it’s fully possible that you have no clue who Addison Groove is but let me assure you, he isn’t just anyone. Addison Groove is Antony Williams, the same guy who released a couple of singles an an album that could be classified as dubstep under the Headhunter alias. Addison Groove is the place where he lets his ghetto house and juke influences run amok. Transistor Rhythm is his debut LP under this moniker, it’s being released under Bristolian label 50 Weapons and in all fairness, it hardly features any juke at all. Go figure.
Just like that new Girl Unit EP, Transistor Rhythm feels stuck in the middle of 90s electro revolution. It takes heavily from hip hop as while the beats here can be overly simplistic in places, the sampling is what offers the most variety and fun. Sampling is what Addison Groove has to rely on for most of the time as other than few tracks on here, the record is devoid of vocal collaborations which is not that surprising but it does make the latter half of the record rather one sided. The highlights here come from an unlikely source. Spank Rock who seems to have shot himself in the foot with the disappointing Everything Is Boring And Everyone Is A Fucking Liar delivers two of the vocal contributions early in the album and they are the most juke Transistor Rhythm ever gets. Bad Things and Beeps takes Naeem Juwan’s vocals, cuts them up and loops few words over and over to deliver a first class footwork moment that stands along the best juke revival has to offer along with other cut up repetitive vocal master strokes like last year’s Africa Hitech’s Out In The Streets. Addison Groove is not just a name to release this album, he’s been using it for a while and his DJ mixes always consisted of footwork and ghetto house. When he immerses himself in these sounds on Transistor Rhythm things feel genuinely great.
Sadly that is not the case with most of the record that uses one trick and doesn’t offer enough imagination to carry a full length 50 minute long dance LP. A lot of the record deals in the vacant post-rave sounds of the 90s, offering flat exploration rather than acid fuelled highs and lows. While the repetitive “fuck, fuck you bitch” were enough to carry the record on Spank Rock tracks, quieter tracks like Night To Remember and Incredibly Exhausted Bunny Ears pack the night time aura that would be one of the more memorable moments on minimal techno leaning over to hip hop mixes. The vocal samples might be rough and dirty but the album carries the clear starry sky quality to it that makes it very clean at times. But never mind all the moments that sounds like juke meets deep house in a ghetto party, never mind the vintage synth presets and standard 808 percussion. Transistor Rhythm fits nice with the maximalist music that is made today and it stands out from such music that was made in the 90s by its willingness to cram everything while ignoring the worries of over-saturation. Take the penultimate Dance Of The Women, a track that comes after the somber Incredibly Exhausted Bunny Ears. It features tropical sounding female vocal samples, dubbed out reggae male vocals, whistles, claps, noir synths and couple of things in between to confirm that Transistor Rhythm is indeed a record that came out in 2012. It might sound too familiar at times but it doesn’t stick to familiar rules in the ever evolving UK bass scene which makes it one of the best underground electronic releases of this year.
There’s nothing pop about Transistor Rhythm mind you, it’s not the sort of record that will be appreciated in living rooms or bedrooms. This is the record to dance to rather to think about. Focusing on each particular sound in here might be tempting but in the end, every track consists of footwork influenced vocal samples and 808 drums. A lot of material her is chiseled for DJ sets and not enough of it is made for introverted night times despite having that particular dark aesthetic. Transistor Rhythm might not be the juke revivalist that some might have expected but nevertheless, Addison Sound will make you dance. You get the feel that that was the intention in the first place anyway.