Strict Face
Fountains/Highbury Skyline


4.0
excellent

Review

by TMobotron CONTRIBUTOR (25 Reviews)
April 22nd, 2014 | 20 replies


Release Date: 04/04/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A lush oasis in the desert of grime.

From its early popularity as the battlefield for MCs like Wiley and Dizzee Rascal to spit some of the most incendiary vocal tracks on to today's dark, instrumental aggression from young producers like Kahn, Wen, and Logos, grime music has typically remained harsh and abrasive. In many ways, that harsh, biting edge is what gives the genre its trademark sound. But recently, the genre has found new life from experimentation around its fringes – taking the visceral force of the square-wave electronics and injecting them into the heart of richly illustrated abstractions to create tracks that are able to exploit the genre's raw power without losing the ability to capture expressive textures.

“Fountains” is one of the loosest genre abstractions to date, and with such an informal outline of containment, it allows far greater room for vibrant coloration to fill in the space. Of course, this concept requires a creative mind for alluring aesthetics, and Strict Face appears to be somewhat of a visionary in his ability to create an oasis of saturated melodies. The track is almost entirely amorphous in its fluid form, with sparkling synth melodies reverberated spaciously around glowing chords that saturate the crystalline landscapes. Splashing droplets and watery slicks punctuate the track as well as the thumping 808 kicks and gleaming, liquid synth refractions. It's about as lush as a track is capable of being in any genre, and its loose attachment to grime makes its dreamy atmosphere even more essential as a standalone snapshot of a uniquely imagined world.

“Highbury Skyline” is much more firmly grounded and in turn less vividly captivating than its counterpart, but Strict Face's smooth rhythmic sensibilities provide another framework for free-flowing aesthetics to glide over effortlessly. If it wasn't following such a stunning piece it would be celebrated in a similar way. As it is, “Highbury Skyline” unfortunately comes across a bit too much like the more generic younger brother of “Fountains”, which is still a major accomplishment itself.



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fountains:
https://soundcloud.com/factmag/srict-face-fountains-master

Highbury Skyline:
https://soundcloud.com/gobstopper-records/strict-face-highbury-skyline

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


31493 Comments


Came across this a little while back and was impressed, though I already feel like there's an over-saturation of instrumental grime atm, what with the likes of Mssingno, Dark0 etc


Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not sure I could ever get enough, I'm so into all that stuff. Though I do think this distances itself from the pop aspects of those 2 while still retaining that glowing aesthetic if that makes sense. "Fountains" is one of my favs of the year.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


31493 Comments


Oh yeah, I mean I'm still really digging it and all. I just hope they can temper the influx a little before it becomes the new footwork

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


31493 Comments


Approved your new band pic by the way

PunchforPunch
April 22nd 2014


6280 Comments


Sweet i need more grimes in my lyfe

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh sweet, thanks. Yeah I definitely get what you mean, though personally I'm too excited about how much good stuff is coming out to worry about that (for now) - Keysound and the like especially have been great to follow. There was awhile there where it was pretty hard to find anything worthwhile.

Phlegm
April 22nd 2014


5391 Comments


oOh, can't wait to give this one a go

Digging: Raresh - Fabric 78

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


4507 Comments


Heard about this. Glossy grime doin' it up in 2014

fromtheinside
April 22nd 2014


19029 Comments


dat artwork

Digging: Ibex Throne - Ibex Throne

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's pretty fitting

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


4507 Comments


TM you should check out GUNGE - ÜBRMNSCH-BLWY-PLX and Need For Mirrors & HLZ - Blow Fish EP. I think those would be right up your alley ~

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet man ill look into them when I get home.

lou1000
April 24th 2014


1016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Two really great tracks. Agree with you on those Wen releases too, Commotion is my fave. I'm guessing you've heard already heard Strict Face's old stuff, pretty great too

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I listened to all the tracks on his bandcamp and sampled around his SC page, and yeah all sounding good.

Yeah Commotion is easily my favorite. Signals is really consistent and solid too, it just never quite reaches that level though IMO. I love the classic vibe on Swingin/Vampin that kind of cuts the album in two.

ShitsofRain
July 28th 2014


5949 Comments


oh yeah just heard that mssingo on the 14 tracks nexx level grime compilation and damn that was good. the other tracks
are also great.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 28th 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That track is perfect.

ShitsofRain
July 28th 2014


5949 Comments


those holy nights iirc

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.factmag.com/2014/09/03/stream-strict-faces-gorgeous-marble-isles-ep/

new EP stream. stoked.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
September 11th 2014


7150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah the new EP is the shit.



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