Tracks To Check Out: Deep In The Mudd, R6 Interlude & Negotiate (Kaidi Tatham Remix) (Eglo)
Supporters: Bradley Zero, Mary Anne Hobbs, Lefto
South London’s Henry Wu took 2016 by storm, as one half of the prodigious jazz duo Yussef Kamaal. I have barely recovered from the superlative brilliance of their debut album Black Focus, so it is a real treat to hear new music from Wu so soon. It comes in the form of a thoroughly enjoyable 6 track E.P, out on Alexander Nut’s eminent Eglo Records. The project features key contributions from both- UK funky original Hard House Banton and Bugz In The Attic man Kaidi Tatham. Tatham’s synth led boogie is a clear pre-cursor and inspiration to Wu’s work. In an interview with the excellent underground music mag The Move, Wu said this - “I’m not from the traditional musician’s background, so in the earlier days I was more worried like am I playing the right way?” This record more than confirms, that to my ears at least, Henry Wu is playing right.
The E.P. begins with the familiar South London hustle, of Deep In The Mudd. HH Banton provides a jolting broken beat drum pattern, which is punctuated by staccato synth stabs courtesy of your man Wu. The track periodically breaks down into a smoother, less energetic section. Characterised by a honeyed bass riff, which I could listen to on repeat. Track number two is introduced by a spoken word sample. The speaker exclaims, “When I was 15, I was parking R6’s in the playground.” This perfectly sets up R6 Interlude, a track with a sense of story and a mellifluous groove. It is one of three songs in which Wu plays and programmes all the instruments. Another of those tunes is Boards & Skins, where he drops the electronic broken beat shuffle and becomes a one man jazz trio. Piano, double bass and drums all bound along nicely, throughout a charming three and a bit minutes.
Henry Wu ft. Banton - R6 Interlude
Next up, it’s Kaidi Tatham’s turn. He flips Wu’s deep 2015 cut Just Negotiate, into a hip shaking mover. Complete with additional Kaidi keys and of course Simeon Jones’s memorable vocals. We then pass through the bruk up boogie of Century, once again featuring Banton. His drums, inflected with various intriguing percussive sounds, combine pleasantly, if not spectacularly, with Wu’s piercing and frenetic synth chords. It’s a tune that, for me, lacks the vigour of the rest of the E.P. and Wu’s previous work. The closing track on the record sees him noodle about on a Rhodes, over some atmospheric crackle. Before both sounds fade away into 10 seconds of silence. It’s a silence that leaves the listener excitedly questioning, what the talented twenty-something year old will do next.
Henry Wu - Just Negotiate ft. Simeon Jones (Kaidi Tatham Remix)