Slikback: /// + /// II (self-released, 2020)

January 9, 2021 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Slikback: ///

For certain fans of experimental electronic music, Kenyan superpower Slikback releasing 60 tracks within a week was one of the major events of the year. He later played several of these tracks during his blinding set as part of Nyege Nyege 2020, but they’re just as powerful by themselves. /// is particularly fascinating, and has some of his most fiery work overall. He’s impossible to box into one style, but there’s beat rushes similar to footwork (“FIO”, “WAXFIGURE”, “WEINASSETS”), speedcore with African drum rhythms (“WA1023”), and experimental pieces that sound like amplified sharpening knives (“DESCEND”). With a handful of exceptions, all of the tracks are short, and some of them are acknowledged as being sketches rather than finished works, but even as rough snapshots, they demonstrate an enviable level of creativity. The second third has a stretch of tracks that seem like trap, but add heavier details, switch tempos, combine with other club rhythms, and ultimately just become something else. Tracks with STSK and Swordman Kitala (the skeletal dancehall cut “CARDIBLACK”) show his inventive approaches to producing rap as well.

Slikback: /// II

/// II has a few more collaborations and remixes/edits of other artists. It’s also a bit shorter and feels more outtakey than the first part, to be honest. It also leans a bit harder on trap-style beats, which I’m not really the biggest fan of. But there’s still more than enough interesting material to make it worthwhile. Tracks like “NCPA” are intense enough to be gabber but have their energies directed differently, and I appreciate stuff like that. “RUKIA” is one of the definite highlights, accelerating from footwork with scattered ribbons of voices. “HEADLESS” is one of his better club tracks, and his Bamba Pana remix is a somewhat more functional club-tooled version of the hyperspeed singeli sound.

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