Monday, 31 August 2009

Joy Orbison - Hyph Mngo/Wet Look [Hotflush]

I’ve been attempting to resist writing about Joy Orbison’s upcoming debut release on Hotflush for quite some time, as more or less everyone across the board has been going pretty crazy for ‘Hyph Mngo’ even though it’s not released until the middle of September. Still, it’s pretty hard not to join in with the volumes of praise the track’s been getting. Since Blackdown devoted an entire Pitchfork column to it at the start of July there’s been a torrent of interest, with what seems like every DJ managing to get hold of a copy playing it out at every available opportunity.

Which is fair enough really, as ‘Hyph Mngo’ has felt like an appropriate underground anthem for this summer, with its extremes of hot and cold, humid and dry. Whilst ostensibly a dubstep track – in the sense that it runs at around 140bpm and has been mixed into sets by many a dubstep DJ – it does a great job of skirting round the edges of genre to become simply an amazing piece of music. What really appeals is its simplicity: built round the shortest of vocal refrains but absolutely saturated in a wash of orange and yellow synth, it never really goes anywhere save a glorious mid-track breakdown before the beat hammers back in.

It’s this cyclic nature that makes the track so fiendishly addictive – you know what to expect and when it’s coming, even after only hearing it once, and when the familiar two note refrain emerges from the mix in a darkened room you know exactly what’s about to burst into technicolour life. As a piece of post-garage music in a world where that genre can so often be taken to ever darker, ever heavier levels, it's inspiring to find a deftness of touch and the lightheartedness that lies at the heart of what rave music was always about.

What I didn’t expect to be able to say is that the flipside is possibly even better. Already it seems that Joy Orbison is establishing a sound of sorts, as ‘Wet Look’ is drenched in the same sort of aquatic melodies that make ‘Hyph Mngo’ such a joy, but here they are welded to an intricate, driving beat structure and sampled voice to absolutely devastating effect. The same curiously repetitive nature is ever present here too, until the second drop peaks, falls away into an abyss of turbid water and sinks to nothingness.

Needless to say, this 12” is going to be caned by everyone who gets hold of it when it comes out in a couple of weeks’ time.

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