Tag Archives: girl unit

Night Slugs: the label that owns the night – and the future

2010 belonged to Night Slugs. In just one year, the London-based record label and club night, run by L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok, released nine EPs, a handful of singles, and a compilation album (the ironically premature greatest hits collection Night Slugs All Stars Volume 1). While the quantity is impressive, the quality is even more so.

The (still developing) Night Slugs sound is zeitgeist-defining, forward-thinking dance music. Tracks from the labelheads, along with those from similar heavyweights, put Night Slugs at the forefront of London’s dance scene with a vibrant hybrid of house, funky, and bass. 2011 finds the label moving to bigger and better things, but let’s take a look at where it’s been.

Things started, appropriately enough, at Mosca’s Square One EP. The title track is the prototypical Night Slugs offering: a juxtaposition of dance music sounds and styles, assembled in new and exciting ways. For “Square One,” it’s the descending tones of dubstep, the surging power of UK funky, and forays into dancehall toasting and soulful R&B vocals. Remixed by A-listers Bok Bok, L-Vis, Julio Bashmore and Roska, the remix by Greena builds slowly but packs a punch, like a prizefighter shaking off a haymaker.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/mosca__square_one__GREENA_remix.mp3″ text=”Mosca – Square One (Greena remix)” dl=1]

Egyptrixx’s The Only Way Up picks up where Square One left off, and was followed by the first offering from the steadily-rising Girl Unit, IRL. On Night Skanker, Lil Silva gets even more grimey and aggro than Girl Unit, blending soca rhythms with metallic synth lines, these synthetic horns that push into the red.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/lil_silva-golds_to_get.mp3″ text=”Lil Silva – Golds to Get” dl=0]

Leave it to one of the original Night Slugs to capture the label’s essence. On his Forever You EP, L-vis 1990 re-visits the spoken word house music tribute of Jason Jinx’s “Your First Time” with pure 303 acid. Fast forward a decade, as L-vis does on the title track, to diva-driven house with hints of wobbly bass.

Night Slugs is quickly becoming the home to a dance music revolution. The juke bass of Kingdom, the synth funk of Velour, and the future grime of Jam City have all been released by the label, and none feels out of place. Same for the Baltimore club remixes by Pearson Sound (the new alias of dubstep wunderkind Ramadanman), released earlier this month. And on Night Slug’s first LP, Bible Eyes, the aforementioned Egyptrixx pushes the label’s sound into new territory – namely, darkwave. With releases like these last two, 2011 just might belong to Night Slugs, too.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/let_me_see.mp3″ text=”Rod Lee – Let Me See What U Workin’ With (Pearson Sound edit)” dl=0]

Download: Egyptrixx – Chrysalis Records (feat. Trust) via XLR8R

Future Grooves: Girl Unit

Once in a blue moon, a track will come along and capture the zeitgeist perfectly. For electronic music, the most recent example is “Wut” by London’s Girl Unit, which dropped last October on Night Slugs. The futuristic laser beam synths, tweaked out siren song sample, and massive 808 club rhythm of “Wut” are fast becoming the high watermark for dubstep-garage-funky hybrids.

The man behind “Wut,” Girl Unit, is 25-year old Phil Gamble. Like many of his peers, he started making beats as a teenager armed with Fruity Loops. He went by the name Girl U No It’s True, a tongue-in-cheek Milli Vanilli reference that he eventually shortened to his current moniker.

Starting with last April’s IRL EP, Girl Unit’s star has been steadily rising. “IRL” is a nasty little banger, combining the no-frills dubstep of Benga with the UK funky sound of his Night Slugs contemporaries. “Shade On” and “Temple Keys” were further dalliances with this hybrid sound; the jazzy keys on the latter a unique touch.

Following up IRL with the Wut EP, Girl Unit amped up the hip-hop and R&B influences considerably. “Every Time,” like “Wut,” relies on an unrecognizable diva loop, while “Showstoppa” has the big bass sweeps of a Rick Ross tune. The mid-tempo songs rock with a sexy swagger that is unrelenting and unforgiving. Throughout the EP, rat-a-tat drums evoke gangsterish drive-bys more than dancing in clubs.

In addition to his EPs, Girl Unit has remixed a few tunes with the same twisted approach he uses on his own material. His vinyl-only remix of Katy B’s “Lights On” is the best take on the track yet. His remix of C.R.S.T.’s “The Bells” strips away the funky house beat and feeds it syrup until it no longer resembles the original.

The usual suspects are onto Girl Unit, and you can’t blame them. His mixes for XLR8R, Fader, and Numbers show just how tight his control over his sound is.