Cooly G // Playin’ Me // July 16 // Hyperdub
It’s great when sometimes you can just look at the label who is releasing the music by a certain artist and instantly have a connection with the type of sound that the said artist produces. Despite being one of the industry grands and legends when it comes to UK bass music, Hyperdub seem to be finally branching out onto different sound palettes. Laurel Halo’s record that they released a couple of months ago was anything but bass and the new Cooly G record follows that closely of one of the most pop records to come out on the label in recent memory.
Cooly G is not some newcomer to this whole thing that just got lucky to sign to Hyperdub. She’s been making stuff and DJing for years. Her first single came out way back in 2012. Born in Brixton, South London, Merissa Campbell has a lot to live up to seeing how South London is the cauldron of fresh ideas when it comes to bass and anything funky. Well for starters she doesn’t make dubstep. She might have some 2 step influences here and there but she’s not the new queen of sub bass either. Some people have expected her debut LP Playin’ Me to follow in the same bass pop strain as Katy B did with her debut On A Mission last year. I mean, even their names are similar. All comparisons end here as on Playin’ Me, Cooly G is much more introspective and backwards glancing than any of her contemporaries.
No lie, I’m struggling to think of another female vocalist who makes music that is so reminiscent of the 90s. A lot of people are doing that but front to back, from the cover to the songs, Cooly G’s sound is quintessentially 90s. Songs like Come Into My Room and Good Times have that laidback bedroom pop sound that can’t help but sound dancefloor friendly while moments like Sunshine and He Said I Said brings dub influences to the table, moving at incredibly slow sleeps while having a quick, stuttering beat that is the only thing that makes this a dance record most of the times. With a different choice of percussion this could’ve easily been a neo-soul record as far as I’m concerned. Cooly G isn’t a diva, most of the lyrics here are whispered and make me think of some cheesy music that you get in those 90s movie sex scenes. It’s your typical night love making music, Hyperdub style. Is that really something that you’d want to miss?
Luckily Cooly G doesn’t always get herself lost in all of this old school sound. Her quiet storm R&B sound is not something you’d likely to hear everywhere nowadays and while it does owe everything to the 90s, at least it combines most of the things that were good about that decade’s urban music. Her voice is sensual enough to make Playin’ Me into one of 2012’s must hear night time record and in all fairness, any record that can pull off a Coldplay cover deserves some credit.