If Hujaboy’s move over to TipWorld for last year’s missable Party Animals seemed a little premature at the time, it seems to make perfect sense now.
This is energetic, involved fullon that’s a hell of a lot better than 99% of the other fullon out there. At the same time, it’s a little frustrating at times: Hujaboy demonstrates time and time again that he’s incredibly good at whipping up energy and vitality out of nowhere using measured, understated techniques.
Yet for some reason he seems to love resorting to Big Riffs, made up of Big Sounds, all thrown at you in a very very Big way. The frustration is that a producer such as Hujaboy simply doesn’t need to use these bog-standard techniques, and that as a consequence the music would be a lot more satisfactory without them.
The shifting, morphing Desert Sun has all the elements of scratchy electro, barring one – the element that states that scratchy electro has to be minimal and distant. This is involved, funky, and blisteringly psychedelic. Holes In The Sky has a tight, italicised bottomend that’s peppered with electro sounds and minimal tweaks all poked into frenetic action.
Premium Delerium is further over into conventional fullon territory; it’s borderline-angry and blessed with intricate sounds that prevent it from vanishing into forgotten fodder. It also happens to have one of the chunkiest final runs around at the moment.
The Acid Revival isn’t really all that acidy; it’s big riff-driven stuff that despite an intriguing Gamma Goblins-esque midsection just doesn’t do it for me. Meanwhile the title track starts out brilliant, with perfect escalation and a hypnotic, tight groove…. before it all becomes too hard and thunky at the end. The BH remix of In The Village almost goes the whole hog too, but just about saves itself.
The Game is decent. It’s tecchy, it’s tight, it’s immaculately-produced. The grooves are wonderful and ever-shifting, the 303 is sparse and effective. Strictly speaking, it does fall into the above-mentioned Big Riffs trap, but somehow it saves itself by being so bold and drop-dead unique. The same goes for Double McPsy Extra Acid, which is pretty much all I ever need from fullon.
Finally Here They Come is a reasonable track, borrowing a lot from Wizzy Noise and trying its best not to sound like Wizzy Noise do now, thank Shiva. It’s fluid and it’s fun and it’s well put together, but it’s unlikely to change your life.
At the end of the day Black Belt is a decent album. I’m being harsh in this review (because, well that’s what I do, isn’t it) but we’ve got to remember (and might as well reiterate) that this is streets better than yer standard fullon dross that’s plaguing the front pages of Psyshop these days.
Hujaboy is a good producer, with a lot of ideas. More importantly he knows how to execute those ideas, and has enough confidence in himself to – for the most part – execute them without resorting to cliché.
The sad fact is that owing to all the dross that this subgenre has spawned recently, a lot of people won’t get to check this out and fewer still will be buying it. It’s not a classic album, but it’s reassuring to hear that someone with balls and individuality is at least trying to move the music onwards.