Planet Mu are all over the nascent subgenres swelling around the bass music diaspora, from the Juke styles of Chicago’s DJ Diamond, thru to this hyperkinetic effort from Kenrick Connor, coming thru on the Dutch Bubbling House tip. Presents Kentjesz Beats is a thrilling ride that can suck you in; before you know it, you’ll be crazy dancing like a robot hardwired to a steady diet of Reggaeton and Soca played in a style so frenetic that it’s almost comical. Certain strands of dance music throughout history have come across as simultaneously stupid (or perhaps that’s stupid dope fresh) and mighty profound at the same time. Anti-G manages this feat, mixing the off-kilter Grime of Wiley and Terror Danjah, and the Caribbean rhythmic impulses of DVA, Funkystepz and a host of London-centric post-Dubstep producers.
There is also echoes of the immediate pre-Dubstep recent past (circa 2002-04, as UK Garage was being replaced by Grime) in the glowering riddims of Freak it Out, it could be Digital Mystikz’s “Neverland” transplanted to Trinidad. I can almost imaging hordes of hyped-up teenagers, emerging from a dark Delft nightclub ready to rumble, high on the fact that “Bubbling Cause Trouble”. The squeaky synths that inhabit the album are the bastard offspring of a squeaky balloon and a steel drum kit; it’s a sound that’s either love-it-or-hate-it. The mid and top end are as important in Anti-Gas productions as the Bass, with the melody lines squeezed out up high, whilst the bass almost implies itself in the interstices between the melody. On “THE FUCKING ERROR!!!” those squeaky chipmunked synths bore into your head with the insistency of a hungry child in the checkout queue at your local supermarket (and then he adds an air-horn for maximalist effect).
I’m sure Simon Reynolds would love the staggeringly fast ticking snares and steel drums pitched to a blur of “Trille Tot Je doodyall!”, hyping the hardcore continuum up for the social media generation. Stretching the formula out from the brevity of the two-minutes or less slide show of the majority of the album, a number of tracks exhibit multiple ideas that are given room to breathe, rather than being juxtaposed frenetically and forced to comply to their creator’s skewed Fruity Loops logic. “Instrumentals Reggeaton (sic)” slows the pace, yet the synths still trill and peel with a bashment Soca vibe that manages to be both Gothic and medieval yet relentlessly cheery.
Whilst reviewing Presents Kentjesz Beats, I needed to explore the Dutch phenomena of Bubbling House further. Born out of a late 80s Dutch DJ dropping a Dancehall 12″ at the wrong speed, such wrong-footed vibes caused a stir amongst the immigrant communities from the Caribbean. Importing the freshest riddims from Jamaica, pitching them up and down to ridiculous lengths, the DJ’s happy mistake was eventually overtaken by the predominant Dirty Dutch House sound of the 90s, only to re-emerge with a new generation of black and Latin clubbers in the last decade. Sharing the hallmarks of the Bubbling sound with the scene’s modern technicians, the wrong-footed vibe of distorted technology and youthful exuberance pushes the dance in new and awkward directions. An acquired taste, Presents Kentjesz Beats, took me quite some time to get my head around, but now it’s there, things will never be the same. The rightful place for these riddims is on a big system rather than tinny computer speakers or headphones, although I’m sure that the hard-wired youth of the Netherlands appreciate the frenetic sound of the Bubbling universe in either iteration.