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Bok Bok – Southside EP review

Bok Bok (real name Alex Sushon) has reinvigorated the contemporary bass music scene with the heady blend of grime, dubstep and house purveyed on the Night Slugs imprint he co-runs with L-Vis 1990. The label was a dominant force in 2010, coming from literally nowhere (the first ever release was in January) with EPs from Mosca, Egyptrixx, Girl Unit, Jam City, Kingdom and Lil Silva among others which left an indelible, neon-tinged smear on the musical landscape. Such was the relentless nature of the Night Slugs release schedule that it barely dawned on anyone that the label boss himself was yet to contribute any solo material of his own.

Thus Bok Bok’s first official Night Slugs release, the five track Southside EP, has been the cause of much excitement and anticipation. Sushon is not a newcomer to the production game – “Ripe Banana” and “NNTF09” both appeared on the Night Slugs EP on the Dress 2 Sweat imprint formerly run by Jackmaster (and since swallowed up by the Numbers collective). Southside kicks off with the swirling, hazy atmospherics and taught chimes of “Charisma Theme”. Immediately demanding the listener’s attention, the hollow thumping kicks  swiftly build into a clipped, rolling riddim with clapping beats, a fidgeting melody and undulating b-line.

“Hyperpass”, up next, is a much deeper, darker beast, with ominous dread vocal, a dubbed out soundscape, the sound of rainfall and urgent, insistent beats pumping out menacingly. “Reminder” is all hissing hats and searing snares, coupled with lassoing synths and a simple, repetitive bleepy melody. Hypnotic and harassing in tone, it will stay with you long after the needle has reached the run out groove. Then, there’s “Silo Pass” with its scythe sharpening intro, and distant voices, weighty subs and rattling SFX, before grime-infused half step smasher “Look” concludes the EP with poised and understated prowess.

Belinda Rowse