Brighton’s Henry Collins makes music variously labelled breakcore, plunderphonic (basically heavily sample based sound collage), gabba, jungle and drum n bass, and as it is, there is a pretty extensive Shitmat discography out there (over ten releases of varying form in four years). Grooverider is tagged on the bio as a rave-influenced follow-up to 2004’s 9000 shifting Full English Breakfast. It’s the first time I’ve heard Collins’ music. I was intrigued by the association with Scotch Egg and Rolf Harris name checks, but it was a friend’s description of seeing a Shitmat set that affirmed my interest. His generally positive description was pretty much “It’s amazing for the first 30 seconds of every song, then he annoys the shit out of you.”
Grooverider sounds pretty much as I expected in a lot of ways. The beats are varied, switching between Metalheads and Drum & Bass Arena tempos and frenetic or lunatic changes recalling Venetian Snares and Squarepusher. There’s a sense of the misanthropic novelty that Cassetteboy brought to The Parker Tapes, though I get the impression that it may have been slightly toned down to concentrate on filling dance floors or upping intensity. The Kanye cribbing “All Fall’s Down” is pretty much excellent commercial jungle. “E is for Evildarkshadowsthatlurkonthedancefloor” could be a cheesier cut from Go Plastic. “Benson and Hedges” is the sound of a million burger vans imploding surrounded by belligerence. “More Fire” has something of Daedelus’s A Gent Agent and the spirit of Anton Newcombe. “Zagreb” takes Britney’s Toxic into Come to Daddy country. It would scare me to death if it came from the neighbours’ house.
Grooverider produces a comparable experience to being stuck on a slightly dangerous Ferris wheel alongside a gorgeous and highly suspect person with an interest in you. The smell of candy floss, grease and rubber practically pervades the background. It’s an album with an occasionally disconcerting, relentless taste, justified by intermittent moments of bubblegum fun and brain shuffling intensity.
Squarepusher – Go Plastic!
Various Artists – Now that’s What I Call Music (circa volume 60 onwards)
Cassetteboy – The Parker Tapes