Monday, 20 October 2008

Riz MC - Radar (Crosstown Rebels 2008)

Riz MC has been on the radar for a few years now. First with the caustic and contemporary political assault on 'George and Osama', with 'Post 911 Blues' and its accompanying imaginative video. He has acted in some of the most thought-provoking drama of the last years, particularly in terms of Islamophobia and integration post 7/7 bombings. He acted in 'The Road to Guantanemo' and 'Britz' both relevant slices of proper drama. He's in Charlie Brooker's next big sitcom project, Dead Set. He's toured America with Sway and Scroobius Pip, supported Dizzee Rascal and opened Meltdown Festival at the personal behest of Massive Attack. This is a man with talent in spades and shovels and landfills and quarries. Don't call him the next big thing because he operates best under the radar.

Which brings us nicely to his first 12" released through Crosstown Rebels, containing two tracks that have been pulsing in our headphones for a good few months now, finally given a proper release. 'Radar' is about you, and me, and us, and them and everyone around us, all desperate to fit in, all wanting to be part of something. But what is that thing we want to be a part of and why is it broken, why is it slightly darker than we give it credit for? We're suffocating in labels and information and the web and things to click on, look at, look for, discover the next big thing, and we are overloading with too much too quickly. We don't absorb, we skim everything. We pigeon-hole and label everything place it in its box. Everything in its right place, sang Radiohead. I can't turn my radar off, urges Riz. Over heartbeat monitor bass drums and squelches and electronic dischords firing off like explosions, the minimalist nature of Radar works on two levels. It is very now, very electronic and full of the bleeps and clicks and experience hits we all search for, computerised and downloadable. It also works as a throb making you twist your body into sinews you never knew were possible. Radar is the sound of the street regurgitated through a computer and twist into something relevant and poetic. 'People like People' is the B-side getting its physical release after being put on iTunes earlier this year. This is a song about layers and each time the verse comes in, new layers are added till at the end you want to run up walls and fly off bridges. It's again, electronic and edgy, pulsating with urgency and power. Riz again gives us a modern slice of life discussing people and what they want out of life, what they aspire to be and to do, and what they pretend to aspire to be and do. It speaks of the pressure to conform to a prescribed idea of coolness that doesn't really exist, and when you break down that coolness into its component parts, it seems... ugly. "People like rock stars who do smack, singers that get trashed, and models that might snap...” Riz never gets righteous and wags his finger. He takes a watcher's stance, commenting never judging, wryly poking fun but never dismissing. He has a true poet's gift for words and a journalist edge to his social commentary. This is one of the best releases to come out this year because it is so spot on in every way and meticulously put together. Riz MC is the sound of the future. Go out, find this, own this, download this, press play, bob your head and recognise.

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