Grime music isn’t exactly renowned for it's subtlety. It’s overly hype, it’s a rush; but that’s precisely the point. In an interview that was published in the run up to the release of veteran grime producer Terror Danjah’s 2010 Undeniable album on Hyperdub he commented that he believed real grime music belongs in the club. Now thats something that you’ll probably have heard from a lot of writers and faces, but it’s most patently obvious when you listen to the music itself: the most powerful thing it has is its energy.
Set around 140bpm - a tempo that is probably most famous for providing the headspace for dubstep producers to fill - grime is purposefully hyperactive. When a producer deploys snare drums that hit in flourishes, like a lot of grime makers do, it imposes movement on listeners and when that percussive shuffle motion is stamped out in such a prevalent manner it dominates and drives a track into you. It’s something that gets reflected in the way a lot of emcees ride the beats, positively attacking it and matching the pace of the percussion with their syllable placement. When you combine that unrelenting energy with synthesized textures, infamous MIDI horn sections and booming bass lines, you get something that’s purposefully made to get your blood pumping. Like this...
Terror Danjah himself has a heritage when it comes to grime music and he’s had a big part in crafting this super kinetic perception of it. Part of the Nasty Crew when it started out, home to people like Jammer, Kano and D Double E, he then begat the Aftershock camp and made a ton of instrumental music that would later be collated by the Planet Mu label on the Gremlinz album, which cited and connected his influence on a new generation of producers. With high profile releases through Kode9’s Hyperdub, Butterz and his own Hardrive label, Terror is continuing to stamp that trademark cackle of his on club nights across the globe, ensuring that people get to experience his music in the environment it was tailor made for.
Playing here on the 16th March as part of the first ever Hyperdub takeover of Room One (full line up here), Terror has put together a 30 minute mix that manages to cram in a whole heap of new music from him and his associates. It personifies the animation and exertion of a grime rave and comes complete with several moments where you think you can hear something familiar (Brandy, Paul Johnson’s ‘Get Down’ or Mr Oizo’s ‘Flat Beat’) but before you second guess the DJ, it gets bastardized and re-cut into something new.