James Grieve isn’t, as one might assume, the birth name of Addison Groove aka Headhunter. It’s actually an old variety of apple, named after its East Lothian breeder, which Wikipedia deems “a savoury, juicy apple with strong acidity at first, which then mellows as the fruit matures during September”. So we’re gonna hear some acid house that subsides into a bit of straight-laced tech, right?
Not exactly – after all, AG was the one who brought footwork fever to the UK via ‘Footcrab’. But on this second LP for Modeselektor’s 50 Weapons label, the Bristolian tugs at the tempo to whirr along at a jungle pace, favouring the 160 mark that’s currently seeping out of the underground – a movement spearheaded by Om Unit a few years ago as Philip D. Kick.
There’s variation – on ‘Bad Seed’ we hear the hand of acid house creeping in, while ‘Abandon’ takes shape, unexpectedly, as a plinky, ocean-swishing ballad. But it’s the collaborations that stand out here, with drum’n’bass legend DJ Die, new-wave rider Sam Binga and Josefina, whose stuttering, warped vocals are head-over-heels trippy.
Addison’s sampling dexterity comes to the fore in ‘Warped’, the LP’s standout cut, via clock ticks, lasers and a deep punctuating vocal. What we have in this album is a solid set of dance head-turners, but it narrowly misses the rubbed-raw rave charm of 2012’s ode to the 808, ‘Transistor Rhythm’ (review). Perhaps, like Mr Grieve himself, it’s a grower.
Words: Felicity Martin
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‘Presents James Grieve’ is streaming exclusively via the new edition of the Clash app – click here to download it, for free. Also featured in this edition are Young Fathers, Elton John, Angel Haze and Planningtorock.