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RL Grime Album Review

– by Dylan Smith

Renowned historical figures have often left behind profound and intellectually challenging ideas. René Descartes wedged his foot in the door of human consciousness, didactically stating; “I think, therefore I am”. Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus struck at the theory of a cyclical universe, proclaiming that “one cannot step twice in the same river”. And in 2014, Henry Steinway posited possibly the most profound query provoking human existence to date: “Who do the sh*t that I do?”

Also in 2014, Henry Steinway – aka RL Grime – released his very first solo album, VOID.

Determined on creating his own sound rather than producing music to appease the masses, RL Grime seems constantly on the cusp of inventive new territory.

With his single Core dropping earlier in 2014, Henry has cultivated enormous levels of hype for his album, so before you fall through the window and, clawing at nothing, drop through the void, lemme recollect my thoughts on the experience.

First up: ‘Always’, a track that seems emotive of a wistful memory that has sojourned momentarily in an omniscient mind, something long gone but lingering. It also conveys that, while Henry is capable of stuffing the most piquant bangers around, he’s got a lot more to offer on the conceptual side of things. Always preludes Danger (feat. Boys Noize), a divergence of trap and drum’n’bass.

Scylla, also a single before VOID, sounds to me like Core’s sister, both sharing a very similar atmospheric presence which I’m gonna go ahead and call ‘Futuristic Military’ (you’ll know what I mean).

‘Kingpin’ (feat. Big Sean) gives us an insight into Henry’s background producing hip-hop. Having given mad props to artists like Lil Durk and Drake in previous interviews, this piece feels right at home.

Valhalla (feat. Djemba Djemba) is my favourite previously unreleased track off VOID. It’s a well known Norse myth that those who died in combat would travel to the majestic hall ‘Valhalla’ accompanied by Odin, and now we know exactly what he was blasting through the aux on the way there.

Following the albums interlude, ‘Let Go’, comes ‘Reminder’ (feat. How To Dress Well), a pre-released track chosen to ward people from expecting an album of stereotypically festive trap. In the aversion of this expectation comes some of Henry’s favourite work, particularly the tracks ‘Julia’ and ‘Golden State’. Interestingly, ‘Julia’ was sampled off the Wikipedia page ‘Unexplainable Sounds’ and is basically the sound of an enormous iceberg moving. So, to quote Dr. Steve Brule, yet another renowned historical figure of our time, “Check it out!”

Preview and purchase the album here

Photo Credit: RL Grime Facebook Page

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