by James Conway
UK Grime producer Royal-T is a busy young man indeed. Not content with dropping beats on insomniacs’ heads with his weekly late night show on Rinse FM and remixing tracks by artists as illustrious as Cheryl Cole and Katy B into something worthy of listening to, he has just released his second recording for Rinse after a well received two-track 12” earlier this year, the bluntly entitled ‘Rinse Presents Royal-T.’
Combining all the best bits of underground Grime, bouncy UK Garage and the odd bit of dubstep and drum n’ bass for good measure, Royal-T seems eager to showcase his considerable talents in this field, and anyone listening to this intoxicating concoction of sounds would be a dumbass to challenge him on that.
Opening number ‘Cruel to be Kind’ employs an almost militaristic relentlessness to drive forward this ‘new celebration of grime’ as guest vocalist P Money announces emphatically over the gnarly beats and vaguely despondent keys. The first minute of ‘Inside the Ride’ recalls floaty UK house anthems of yesteryear before merging into a something resembling The Prodigy attempting a bassline track. This works well for the most part, despite a creeping predictability meaning you know exactly when each switchover and drop will occur.
‘Music Box’ features some stabbing bass and off-kilter percussive elements that call to mind UK breakcore lunatic Shitmat, although the more restrained, gentle melodic notes over the top suggest that he still hasn’t escaped his straightjacket and Royal-T still remains behind the wheel. A clever whistling effect is the most interesting thing about ‘Gully Funk’ which toys with several avenues of sound but can’t seem to decide which one to tread, as evidenced by its lacklustre grime assault. The Burial-esque dubstep of ‘Missing Aurora’ slows the pace down to allow some retrospection with its darting synths, clicking percussion and lush female vocals demonstrating Royal-T’s impressive gauge of genres. The funky house elements hinted at earlier make another appearance on ‘Work Your Body’ with help from scene luminary Roska who is adept at making the listener feel they’ve just taken a trip back to the mid 90’s, a journey Royal-T is obviously unafraid to make.
So many artists have a song called ‘Space Cowboy’ it would take all day to list but one more can’t hurt as evidenced by the ray-gun-esque effects and muscular beats that propel Royal-T’s number off into the depths of beyond. It’s way better than the Jamiroquai one in any event. Things finish on a high (pun intended) with the euphoric drum n’ bass of ‘You’re Saved’ sure to have you reaching for the lasers with help from a strong guest performance from Ruby Lee Rider.
Playing around with various styles but ultimately keeping things in check with a maturity that can only come from experience, the fourth release in the Rinse Presents series is a fine addition to the line that Royal-T can be proud of.