Flowdan – Disaster Piece

Grime legend goes that little bit deeper...

Flowdan, though a veteran of the grime scene, is not an artist with an extensive body of work to his name. He’s more known for a handful of big wheel-up anthems, and usually as a featuring MC on a more noted producer’s record sleeve (The Bug’s ‘Skeng’ being the most obvious example). As such, an album represents more of a challenge here than it usually would. But despite the slightly unimaginative bit of a punning in the title, there’s clearly been some thought put into this collection.

The production roster has a pedigree to match Flowdan’s own notable history as a grime scene originator. Appearances from the likes of Masro, Swifta Beater and Dexplicit both help to keep the project grounded and mean that, when there is call for a more ‘grime by numbers’ approach, it doesn’t sound contrived. ‘Dons & Divas’, with fellow Roll Deep member Manga on the feature, is an example of where this works to pretty good effect.

With the grime scene in its current state of rude health – Skepta’s latest album set a new chart record for the genre back in May, displacing Kano’s 2016 effort – it’s a good time for Flowdan to stake his claim. In this light, he should be commended for going light on the MC features — the bluntly-titled ‘Grime’ is proof enough that he can hold his own on a beat.

That’s not to say that it’s all 8-bar and shouty sort-of choruses. The album draws in particular on Flowdan’s work with producers from the deeper end of the dubstep spectrum and appearances on Rinse FM shows with scene-shaping DJ Youngsta.

In this same vein, regular appearances from female vocalist Animai help to tie things together and give the album a broader sonic appeal — her ethereal, jazz hall sound complementing Flowdan’s throaty growl nicely. ‘Judgement’ is perhaps a bit too far a leap towards what was probably discussed in the studio as an ‘anthem with real musicality’ — which generally just means ‘adding guitars’ when it comes to a record like this — but it’s one of only a few duds here.


Words: Will Pritchard

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