A heavy, mysterious air that hangs with deadly beauty…
Lee Bannon - Main/Flex

Lee Bannon’s kicking of his own backside continues apace. 2012’s ‘Fantastic Plastic’, a set of clunky hip-hop grafters sagging and teetering underground, got owned by the barnstorming ‘Alternate/Endings’ siding with the jungle darkside. Enrolling with the new school to recalibrate the old, Bannon read up on where everyone was in ‘92, then confirmed where he’s at right now without any misty-eyed declarations regarding hardcore’s immunity from death.

Placed between EP and album status, ‘Main/Flex’ is a heroic tease. It’s either exasperatingly short – quickly emptying ammunition that makes swirling atmospheres disintegrate – or a concisely apoplectic one-inch punch of Amen breaks (‘RMF-3’) and kitchen sink techno (‘MFS-3’). Attitude is mired in Armageddon, bass glowers at having to share time with so much as a riff or drop, 2-step rhythms are raised/razed dismissively, and Bannon reviews The Future Sound Of London’s ‘Papua New Guinea’ as a disgruntled sightseer on the opening track.

The Californian’s time management therefore comes into its own. Within eight tracks you still get to experience the perilous thrill of walls closing in, breathing space being precious, and a heavy, mysterious air that hangs with deadly beauty. With seemingly no time to waste – lying in wait until activating bezerker mode seems ill-afforded – Bannon impeccably understands the concept of dubplate pressure.

8/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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