Highpoint Lowlife’s latest release is a three track affair by Glasgow dubstep producer Ali Jackson aka Gravious. Like Northern Ireland’s Barry Lynn (Boxcutter), Jackson is a long way from the South London heart of the scene. Like Lynn, he uses this to his advantage and sidesteps the constant chasing of the latest fracture of the genre to avoid being seen as last month’s news. He does his own stuff in a comparative bubble and this frees him up to do pretty much what he wants. Consequently, The Futurist EP is both eclectic and quite happy to skip back and forth across genre boundaries.
Jackson admits to a love of LTJ Bukem, and this is apparent on lead track “Jupiter Jazz” (which even has a pretty Bukem-esque title). It’s airy and light, with a rhythm that is a long way from the sometimes ponderous and heavy-handed beats of more generic dubstep producers. “Vultures” couldn’t be more different. The track starts out at a crawl, with stoned hip hop beats and dark slabs of sound. The sampled African singers who emerge a couple of minutes in provide a stark contrast that works much better than it ought to, creating a tension between the subterranean rhythm and the joyful voices. Towards the end, the pace heats up and the beats come to life. It’s a brilliantly realised and original piece that packs a lot of mood changes into its four minutes.
The EP is rounded up by “World of Tomorrow”, as retro-futurist as the title suggests. It’s all dramatic synth washes and telecom bleeps that hark back to the nineties and acts like LFO. The beats are resolutely modern, though. Gravious has issued a trio of twelves on Hotflush, but this is the first time I’ve heard his work. It’s impressive stuff.
1 Jupiter Jazz 5:09
2 Vultures 3:56
3 World of tomorrow 5:22