I’ve been accused of having a crush on Cooly G. Why wouldn’t I? She’s talented, beautiful, and even cursory
internet stalking on-line research indicates she’s got a bubbly, charismatic personality.
But my real crush is on Cooly G’s talents as a producer. Along with Roska, she’s one of the most visible faces of UK Funky. And she’s gained her prominence having only a single label release — Narst/Love Dub and a track on the Hyperdub 5 compilations. It’s easy to say why those tracks were great — the combination of her vocals, floating in and around the bass heavy beats — but hard to say how she does what she does. Using the tools all modern dance producers have, she seems to come to completely different conclusions.
UK Funky is marked by beat patterns that vary between traditional House and Soca rhythms. Cooly’s beats seem to fit into that same headspace, but they rarely drop into that same repetetive groove. Most producers get a groove going and then throw in change-ups every 4, 8, or 16 bars. Cooly’s beats seem to be all change-up, without losing their own particular quirky groove.
Alongside Cooly G’s DJ’ing and her Hyperdub releases, she’s also been releasing a series of digital-only “Dub Organizer” EPs. They’re only available only for Paypal purchase and announced at her Myspace and Facebook pages. The Dub Organizer tracks are cut from the same cloth as her Hyperdub release, but are arranged more simply — a spare synth line, maybe a sample and beats. They’re straight-up DJ tools, similar in intent to most of Roska’s releases, but a lot less repetitive.
The latest Dub Organizer, #7 in the series is 4 tracks. “ic db” is a driving rhythm that is a sophisticated, layered cousin of funky’s trademark Soca beat. This is quite literally a ‘riddim’ with the only tonal material being a drum sample being bent up and down. And yet it sounds anything but minimal, with different drums coming in and dropping out; the space in a track normally taken up by pitched melodies or chords is full of relentless percussion variations. “well mi seh db” is similarly spare, with only a very occasional trombone stab joining the percussion. “darn db” is based around a repeated synthesized female chorus loop and novel ‘kick on one & four” rhythm.
The star of the EP for me is “full ah sensi db” which is a brilliant re-imagining of dub reggae built around heavily echoed dub samples. In a sense it’s a dub of Dub — it reconnects the half-stepper beat of Dubstep with the original dub reggae sounds, leaving (if it’s possible) more space for sounds to echo in than in King Tubby’s productions. One of Cooly G’s favorite words is “dramatic” and on “full ah sensi db” the drama arises from a low-fi woodblock ‘clok’ sound reverberating darkly. Compared to the maximalist “echo soup” of the (also brilliant) Echospace album Liumin it amounts to approaching the dub template from the opposite hemisphere.
My minimix hits all tracks in this order: darnn db, ic db, well mi seh db, full ah sensi db. I wanted to give you an idea of how they sounded, but encourage you to follow up and support Cooly G by buying the release. Hence it’s watermarked with a robot voice saying “Cooly G Dub Organizer 7.” If you like what you hear, represent!