Ill Blu – Bellion review

A pair of hip-hop producers who ventured away from what they knew to explore their own sounds and rhythms, London’s Ill Blu have come to be at the absolute frontier of all things UK funky. Having had an underground smash last year with “Say Yes”, they’ve remixed Hot Chip, Roll Deep, Shystie and even Cheryl Cole, and have also produced a full-length album for Princess Nyah. But it’s their garage, house and grime influenced singles that really make them stand out to fans and their recent signing to Hyperdub bears it’s first fruit, this excellent double-tracker of “Bellion” and “Dragon Pop”.

“Bellion” will become an instant hit with DJs. Using a similar chromatic chime sound used on Sticky’s seminal “Triplets”, the main riff slowly worms it’s way into your head as it gets accompanied by bass. Jocks will also love the long intro beats which build slowly but steadily into a perfect, dry snare-led stepper. Whereas “Bellion” wears it’s melody on its sleeve, “Dragon Pop” on the other hand is a truly deep tune that only uses subby, tuned kicks to give it a two-note melody. Not that it’s a bad thing, the sparseness is mesmerising – all the while kept in check by a sprightly, tambourine-buzzing rhythm that’s yet another demonstration of Ill Blu’s mastery of the beats. Long anticipated, this will be one of Hyperdub’s most sought after releases for ages, and hopefully the first of many. Oliver Keens