Reviews

Special Request x Tim Reaper
Hooversound Presents: Special Request x Tim Reaper

(Hooversound)

8/10

Hooversound, the brainchild of DJs Sherelle and NAINA, continue their considered explorations of the plus tempo spectrum on the label’s first release of the year. Fittingly, this is perhaps the most notable artist spotlight yet, teaming Paul Woolford’s rave colossus Special Request with specialist jungle revivalist Tim Reaper.

The EP finds Reaper reconstructing four cuts from Request’s 2019 effort Zero Fucks, itself a gung-ho celebration of hardcore’s ‘measure once, cut once’ mentality – somewhere between maximal dancefloor euphoria-baiting and deranged sweatbox terror. The tracks here are individually reconfigured; being viewed from a slightly different angle, the components are deftly adapted, asking different questions and returning new conclusions.

Reaper wisely decides to dial back Zero Fucks standout ‘Elysian Fields’: the track’s atmospherics are expanded and explored with greater nuance over a tastefully rolling break. Rather than attempting to exceed the unsurpassably frantic bombast of the original, a foreboding pad instead twists the track toward classic breakbeat hardcore paranoia, resulting in a balancing act of light and shade, and a remix that shines in its it muted reinvention.

Elsewhere, we find slinky Reese bass acrobatics on ‘Pull Up’, taking the place of the tear-out payoff of the original. The luscious R&B vocals stay intact, supplying a satisfying lilt of clubland lust to proceedings.

Closer ‘Straight Off The Block’ delivers the most viscerally physical assault, driven forward by belligerent tuned kicks, clattering drum programming, and a looming shower of reverberate hi-hat haze, rapidly obscuring the path ahead. A potent blast of junglist dread, perhaps the most in keeping with the original ethos of Woolford’s parent album.

A release like this is an important occasion for several reasons: at once a fantastic showcase of Reaper’s deft production skills, but also a cross-generational statement of intent, a celebration of some of the most important individuals working within the UK scene. For Reaper, a victory lap of sorts, following a continued slew of acclaimed projects, growing cross-scene recognition, and the start of his own label Future Retro. If new to his work, this is a great place to start; if not, then here’s another great addition to the collection.

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