Monday, 3 June 2019

Romare ‎– Meditations On Afrocentrism (2012)

Style: House, Bass Music
Format: Vinyl
Label: Black Acre

Tracklist:
1.   Freedom (Aspirations Of A Prisoner)
2.   The Blues (It Began In Africa)
3.   Down The Line (It Takes A Number)
4.   I Wanna Go (Turn Back)
5.   Footnotes (Meditations On Afrocentrism)

Credits:
Mastered By – Beau
Written-By, Producer – Romare

Meditations on Afrocentrism. Sounds like some heavy stuff, doesn't it? Somehow it isn't. Londoner-via-Paris Romare succeeds on his Black Acre debut by avoiding both the scratchy collagist aesthetic of crate-diggers like Onra and the submerged, quashed quality of most footwork, for high-intensity percussive music that doesn't sound a whole lot like anything else out there. Opener "Freedom Aspirations of a Prisoner" opens with cinematic strings and hollow rimshots—no bass to be found anywhere—before Romare brings in tiny little clips of orchestral mayhem that serve as an ominously throbbing bassline. "I Wanna Go (Turn Back)" features more traditionally frenetic footwork rhythms, a flurry of cascading hollow drums and decaying synths, but even this incorporation of familiar structures sounds totally unique.  
The other two tracks are much slower, abandoning the footwork mission for their own skewed takes on bass music. The 88 BPM "Down The Line (It Takes a Number)" is a sticky-slow hip-hop jam with a funk guitar more languid than lashing, but the EP peaks with the 122 BPM "The Blues (It Began In Africa)." Splaying a house-friendly flute panned to the extreme peripheries of the stereo spectrum, the undulating bass riff at its centre totally eclipses everything, the kind of eminently physical frequencies that feel like they're enclosing around your entire head rather than just your ears. Though the track might not technically be footwork, it plays around with footwork's dread-inducing dislocated bass clouds, inflating them to a grotesque level. It's an uncanny tune that remains breathtaking from the first play to the tenth, and a little stroke of genius that raises Romare above the level of just another producer jumping on the footwork bandwagon. 
Andrew Ryce / RA

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