Roots Manuva – Switching Sides EP
Roots Manuva celebrates Record Store Day with yet another cutting-edge vinyl packed with the kind of combination of “bass and verb” which has made him one of the UK’s most essential musical artists. Off the back of the universally-acclaimed Bleeds album, Manuva has cooked up three brand new tracks to go alongside the astounding ‘Crying’ and ‘One Thing’ from that collection.
All 5 tracks are produced by Switch under his new production banner With You. With You are Switch and Daouda Leonard (assisted by Stabber), on this outing, with a little help from their friends Crookers, Toddla T, Coldcut and were written, recorded and produced at his studio in Los Angeles during the Bleeds sessions.
‘Iron Shirt’ kicks off the package, paying homage to Max Romeo in name only, a twitching, hard-rhyming package brought into sudden, funky focus by a vocoder chorus. Lead track ‘Crying’ was one of the stand-outs from Bleeds — a furious lyric over chimes and baby cries, a study in paranoia. ‘Body Hot’ harks back to Manuva classics like ‘Buff Nuff’ — perhaps the most abstract take on dancehall this South London maverick has ever made. ‘Watch’, sees Rodney Smith riding a live-sounding break and lashings of sub-bass while jumping from deadpan Londonisms to Funkadelic flourishes to Jamaican patois. The EP is rounded out by ‘One Thing’, a perfect Manuva vehicle where a playground refrain pulls us out of any and all comfort zones and into conceptual deep space. And, as if those five tracks aren’t enough to excite the most jaded of palettes, flip the vinyl and you’ve got the instrumentals of them all to enjoy, too.
Bleeds was hailed as a massive return to form from Rodney Smith, with his recent live shows also widely acclaimed. The Switching Sides EP goes further to consolidate the notion that, after six studio albums, this is genuinely an artist who is still capable of leading where others can only follow. February and March see him touring Europe and the UK with a new, more focused live show and festival dates are being booked around the world throughout the summer. Every release from one of the great English lyricists is an event to be celebrated and this one most definitely doesn’t buck that trend.
In other Manuva news you can also hear him on the astoundingly good ‘Dead Editors’ from the new Massive Attack EP, Ritual Spirit EP. Announced on Feb 28 the track captures him on this crucial cut along with tracks from Young Fathers, Tricky and Azekel.
The video for ‘Crying’ captures harsh slice of life action shot on location in Thamesmead, South London and was produced by French team Division Paris and directed by Helmi. Root’s comments on the video gives you some idea of what to expect – “Pure genius, they are top flight people. I wish I could work with more people of this nature with guts and passion and integrity coming from a bass culture background.”
Tracklist (RSD Release)
A1. Iron Shirt
A3. Body Hot
A5. One Thing
B1. Iron Shirt (Instrumental)
B2. Crying (Instrumental)
B3. Body Hot (Instrumental)
B4. Watch (Instrumental)
B5. One Thing (Instrumental)