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Surprise has been expressed at a Coldplay cover version – ‘Trouble’ – appearing on a Hyperdub album, but it makes more sense than you might think. First, the label is not the over-serious setup that casual observers and over-reverent Burial obsessives might assume: founder Kode 9 and Hyperdub artists like DVA and Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland (aka Hype Williams) are united by a dark, mischievous sense of humour. And second, Cooly G could probably cover LMFAO and manage to make it sound like a Cooly G song.
There’s another song here called ‘Welcome To My World’, and that title says a lot. A Cooly G record doesn’t reach out into your world, it opens up and pulls you into hers. There are recurring elements in the album: an underground house pulse, deep and heavy dub bass, synthetic strings that hark back to Cooly’s background in grime, slithering pitch-bent drums, percussion that scampers around the groove refusing to ever settle – but reference points and individual sounds are completely subsumed to the powerful personality at work.
Though there’s plenty that’s for the dancefloor (as well as deep, beatless pieces like ‘Good Times’ and ‘Trying’), the atmosphere is dark, philosophical, emotionally intense. Cooly’s sultry voice, which appears in most of the tracks in more or less dubbed-out, processed forms, is the opposite of an over-trained X-Factor singer constantly vaulting for the high notes, and all the more genuinely expressive for it. By turns sad, seductive and threatening, she never quite lets you know where you stand, but puzzling it out is half the fun. Brilliantly proving that leftfield bass music can and should be about personality, individuality and real emotions, Cooly has made an album that lives up to her early promise – and then some.
File under Dark dub-soul
Like this? Try Chris & Cosey ‘Songs of Love & Lust’ (Conspiracy Int’l)
Download ‘Landscapes’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Trouble’