Heavy1 & P-Fine / Need 4 Mirrors - Palace / Thought Police
2012 has seen some fine debut releases from new labels so far, with Mode’s Around The Edges EP on The Crescent, Blocks & Escher’s groundbreaking opening on Narratives, and Mindmapper, Fre4knc and Heavy1’s joint offering on Hull’s very own Dust Audio. In this light, what makes this release from Japan’s Yabai 84 Records all the more intriguing is the reappearance of one talent in particular: drum and bass’ leading light in the far east (with an honourable shout out to Makoto) Hironao Kawabata – otherwise known as Heavy1. Embracing the trend that has seen established artists set up new publishing outlets as a direct expression of their own work – including Need For Mirrors and Zoltar who feature here – Heavy1 has followed up from the kaleidoscopic success of his debut Minimalised LP on Rubik with a 12” that expresses a primal mechanical hositlity seldom heard in recent times.
One of this generation’s leading tech engineers, Need For Mirrors supplies the A-side Palace: subdued snares and winding shimmers merge into a glowing display of the duo’s mastering of midwave frequencies, ebbing and flowing with a unique, seamless funk rare to the brand of core tech the scene exhibits. This is the thrifty, unrelenting composition that the duo have built their career on.
But it’s the release’s flip-side that truly excels. A perfect marriage of arrangement and lyricism, Thought Police pairs Heavy1’s oscillating stripped-down minimal with P-Fine’s arresting words, which deserve an (almost) full breakdown:
“My attention’s shifted, my emotions stirred
Tryna see through a vision though my gaze is blurred
Reading newspapers, spoiling every word
Stoop down to a level now my mind’s deterred
From seeing true meaning
For this I’ve gotta go deep
There’s an act that’s perceived by the masses that’s weak
I towed the line cos I’m blind, stress levels increased
It’s a symptom of control by the Thought Police
So attached to the images that shaped my youth
I submitted my emotions cos it seemed the truth
Now a life that’s been filled both with joy and pain
Represented by the lacerations on my brain
Snatched away from true reality in favour of this
A smokescreen of propaganda and it’s fifty inches
Giving the order of the images I choose to see
With my emotional mind to take control of me
I embrace some new stories put myself in the scene
Of war-torn countries, people with shattered dreams
I feel the pain and the suffering, cities dealing with doom
And I haven’t even left my fucking living room
I got magazines and newspapers always in arms reach
And the shit that I’m seeing it affects my speech
A clear notification that there’s been a breach
And all of this to my seeds I’m about to teach”
That’s not even the whole set… how often can you say you’ve heard words this engaging in drum and bass?
With a concentrated anger and sociological lyrical content that Immortal Technique would be proud of, YBI001 provides so much more than your average mechanical workout. It’s rare when a new label hits the ground running with such remarkable flamboyance, yet such is the pool of creative talent behind the Yabai project, it’d be foolish to expect anything less. Throw into the mix some of the freshest and most fleet-footed bars from resident Dust Audio MC P-Fine and we’re witnessing a certain cyclical entity that has converged into one ridiculously well-conceived released. This is special.
Yabai 84 001 is out now.