sat 16/12/2017

CD: Roni Size - Take Kontrol | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Roni Size - Take Kontrol

CD: Roni Size - Take Kontrol

Drum & bass don returns with an album whose quality improves as it progresses

Roni Size looks questioningly to see what hits the mark

Bristolian Roni Size was a leading light among Nineties drum & bass originals. By 1997, like many of his contemporaries, he was feted by the media as an artist about to supernova, to lead pop in wild new directions. It was all very exciting and when New Forms, the debut album by his band Reprazent, won the Mercury Music Prize, it marked a moment when drum & bass seemed about to take over. It never did. That was it. The breakthrough that dubstep eventually made the following decade was not to be. Outside his scene, then, Size has been relatively quiet for nigh on fifteen years. He returns with Take Kontrol and the promise of a new Reprazent album, For the Masses, next year.

The former is a curious beast. It doesn’t really know what it wants to be and tries on a multitude of styles for an hour and 40 minutes, over 24 tracks. Size says it’s full of “dancefloor cuts for the heads” but it doesn’t fulfil that remit, jammed, as it is, with cheesy Chase & Status-style bass-pop cuts, and no twisted junglism or jazz-inflected surprises. One of the biggest problems is that the first half is, by far, the lamest, containing Autotune gorgonzola hunks such as “Complicated” and second rate Prodigy imitations like the, admittedly catchy, “She Rocks”.

This is a shame as about halfway through there’s a distinct improvement, with the unpleasant breathy vocals and chart song styles left behind in favour of festival-wrecking bouncers such as “Run Come” and “Damaged Goods”. “Just a Little”, with its harp melodies, boasts soundtrack cool, the video game bleepery of “The Jump Off” is a blast, and "Silent Strings” and “Funny Bone” are likeable, wobbly, warped funkers. Another unexpected treat is the catchy, hands-in-the-air soul-pop slowie “Keep On”. Despite such tasty cuts, this is a scattershot collection of wildly mixed quality. It doesn’t gel and it presents Size not as a groundbreaking imagination but a capable hand in search of inspiration.

Overleaf: Listen to "Power"

It doesn’t really know what it wants to be and tries on a multitude of styles for an hour and 40 minutes, over 24 tracks

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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