Sinjin Hawke is really into snare drums. On ‘Crystal Dust’, they’re one of the most recognisible elements, accenting on right and left channels like an American college student doing his rudiments in marching band practise. I mention this syncopated wonder early because I think it’s rather indicative of an entire counter-culture of electronic music that’s mushrooming into a serious nuclear cloud while the above-ground EDM explosion has already infected most of America. This kind of riff was famously heard on Major Lazer’s ‘Pon De Floor’ and I’m sure it’s been implemented millions of times since. But this build-up to the drop that we’re all conditioned to hear, (so much so that when it doesn’t really happen as on some of the new jams from The Presets, released this week, it feels super weird) is usually quantised within an inch of it’s life, so that every hit sounds the same. Take Fat Boy Slim as a perfect example, or even more recently, Swedish House Mafia. When they get their snares rolling, there’s zero room for negotiation. Though I’m Sinjin the Catalan import made this on a latptop like everyone else, this sounds like there’s somebody going nuts at it. And that’s only the icing of the cake on this song.
‘Crystal Dust’ comes from an EP Hawke released around Christmas last year that I promised myself I’d revisit after absolutely losing it over his unique remix work, including this one of Beyonce’s countdown. Though his music is released through Pelican Records and Sinjin lives in Spain, I feel like he’s somewhat aligned in aesthetic to the incredibly diverse portfolio of Glasgow-based, international-crawling label LuckyMe, which has One A Day faves Rustie, S-Type, Hudson Mohawke and a bunch of other precariously talented lads who drink too much red cordial on their books. I think this tune must sum up everything that happens at one of Hake’s parties in five minutes. All the requisite elements are there; the build-up, the delayed drop with that spaced out underwater synth that all Duran Duran meets ELO, the glittering mellotrons,the phased repeats and then that blisteringly huge beat that gives all those trap kids a run for their fucking money.
Because it would be so easy to make an entire jam out of that last big section (HudMo did something pretty close ), Sinjin scores extra points from me for actually taking the discerning, attention-deficit listener on a bit of a journey. Sure, that half-time drop is incredible, but it’s because you have to head through some really nice melodic material to get there that it’s more exciting. the energy is still there even when it turns the riff into muted pan-flutes, that relentless semiquaver cymbal pulse pulling the tenets of trip-hop out of the ’90s and into the new age. Trumpets blare, timpani sound and then before you know it, we’re back at the end of the world again. Forget Swizz and Khaled, these kids should be writing beats for Kanye and Jay-Z. They’re already presenting the perfect high-octane template for what they’re angling at, and as a bonus, there aren’t any vocals. In fact, this chorus even sounds a bit like ‘Ye’s ‘Mercy’, and it probably cost one hundredth of the price to make…
We’ll take our referrer’s fee in gold chains, thanks.
Sinjin Hawke – ‘Crystal Dust’