The latest offering to emerge from the cavernous depths of the Deep, Dark and Dangerous imprint has been a long time coming. Truth and Youngsta merge forces and bring forth a collaborative effort under the Shadow People alias, cementing a rich history of collaboration. Both parties have been extremely busy over the last few years, highlighted by Truth’s latest title as the VNZMA’s best electronic artist and Youngsta’s establishment of the Sentry Records imprint. With two such titans venturing on a collaborative effort, you probably don’t need me to tell you that it hits all the notes you’d want it to hit. Whether you want to bump it at home with some favela beans and a glass of Chianti or drop it during a peak time set to a crowd of ravers, this album has you covered. Long time dubplates “Lemon Cake” and “Awake Before You” (formerly known as “Dabs”) are complimented by a large number of fresh tunes, all of which contribute towards a highlight conceptual album.
Spread across 12 tracks if you purchase the digital version or 4 if you purchase the 12″ record, the whole release reflects the Shadow People moniker, providing for a dark journey across the sound and bpm spectrum. These aren’t tunes for sunny days on the beach, these are tunes for the dark fringes of civilisation where your true heads congregate. Stylistically all the tracks contribute to an almost horror movie concept, you’ve got lots of old-school ballerina music box samples, haunting vocals from the likes of Lelijveld and Alicia Kiah and even a ‘Tubular Bells’ sample. If you told me “Lemon Cake” was going to feature on an upcoming Exorcist remake I wouldn’t even question you, and I could easily picture myself getting chased by an interdimensional clown with “Eyes Everywhere” providing the backing track. For all the Peep Show heads out there, when Super Hans said “What we really need to do is create a powerful sense of dread”, I imagine this album is what he had in mind.
In terms of musicality, the album blends together the past, present and future of Youngsta and Truth’s respective sounds. On first play of “Awake Before You” I was reminded of Osiris Records takovers at SubDub and the days of Minimal Mondays. The growling reeses and sparse drums that characterised the minimal sound pushed by Youngsta and Truth back in in the early 2010s come through in force. That’s not to say that it’s a simple rehashing of older sounds, the album hits that all too rare sweet spot of reflecting on the past whilst bringing in newer ideas and ultimately driving the sound forward. The fusion of past and present is also reflected in the other collaborations throughout the project, “Endlessly” features the rising Cimm and “Eyes On Me” and “Jazz Cabbage” both feature Teklife’s Taso, both of whom help cement the overall sonics of the album. All in all, this is a solid release. Despite being two of the busiest names in the scene right now, Truth and Youngsta have produced a forward-thinking album that should keep the old guard happy whilst catering to the new.