There's no question that Blawan has always had a thing for techno music. His first appearance on the scene with his Hessle Audio single Fram / Iddy a couple years back seemed to root him deep with the UK Bass producers of the time, the Untolds and the Ramadanmen. Yet listening to this early single now it seems so obvious that Blawan's prductions would verge into the realms of techno. The heavy, hard hitting drums that seem a staple of Blawan's productions are very noticeable in both these early tracks. Yet one aspect he's seemed to keep in (almost) all of his songs since then are vocal samples, often repetitive, and always used flawlessly. The best example of this is last year's "Getting Me Down", the dark and dirty reworking of Brandy's "I Wanna Be Down"*. And on his latest EP, Blawan has yet again fused his dark, techno loving side with his immaculate ear for picking out samples. This time, he's settled on The Fugees for inspiration for two of the tracks on his latest EP, His He She & She.
*Fun fact: Also the source of the vocal sample in Jacques Greene's "The Look".
Opener "Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage" is a scary-good track. And that's not an exaggerated compliment, this track is both scary and good. If I heard one of the (several) screams throughout this track - and the whole EP itself in fact - in a club and didn't know where it came from, I would be fairly certain the club was located above some sort of underground torture dungeon. That's Blawan for you on this EP. It really seems he wants to freak you out. Even considering the photographs on the cover, smiling children, couples and friends, when put into context of the music makes a dark EP seem even more sinister, in a "missing persons" sort of way. The sample, from The Fugees' "How Many Mics" is warped into a demonic mantra, and a seriously catchy one at that.
"His Daughters" takes a very different approach to a typical Blawan track. It's got the usual rolling percussion and looping samples, but rather than continuing in this fashion it leads into a dark-ambient noise attack on your ears without any very strong beat to grab hold of. Towards the end it works itself out as a sort of experimental techno track, but this is too close to the end have anyone dancing, who hasn't already been scared off. It's interesting to see an artist working outside of the box, especially after having solidified a certain sound for themselves. This track reminds me a lot of a track off Pariah's most recent Rift EP, "Among Those Metal Trees", an eerie ambient track, alone on a largely beat-driven EP.
"His Money" takes another sample from The Fugees' "How Many Mics", this time a longer sample from the chorus of the song. "His Money" seems very similar to "Why They Hide Their Bodies…" in that it follows the same sort of "drums, scream, Fugees sample, rinse, repeat" formula. But is this a bad thing? It depends. If you tire of a track really easily and find yourself being put off "…Bodies…" after a few plays, then you might find yourself tiring of "His Money" as well. But if you can't get enough of these tracks, and find yourself repeating Fugees lyrics to yourself in a ridiculously deep, monotone voice (like I have), then there you go, it's another killer Blawan track to enjoy.
The EP comes to a brilliant end with "And Both His Sons". Probably the heaviest track on here, if your ears haven't been destroyed by the first three tracks, this one will definitely finish them off. It's an abrasive assault that barely ever lets up. A really great finish to the EP that will knock anyone down who's still standing.
There's no word so far on a digital release for this EP, but seeing as it's released on Joy Orbison's Hinge Finger label, which had it's last release, Joy O's "Ellipsis" available digitally over at hardwax.com, we may strike lucky for some (legit) digital copies of His He She & She.