The Sunklo series, a project designed to showcase exclusively the production talents of Boddika and Joy Orbison, had a quiet 2013. The imprint sprung to life in 2012 with a series of powerful dancefloor weapons, released strictly on vinyl and selling out everywhere double-quick time. Tracks such as 'Mercy' and 'Dun Dun' were played ad infinitum in clubs around the globw, with the former being given a slick remix treatment by Boddika himself, and re-released on Bleek's own Nonplus.
The absence of a single release last year seems strange, but not completely surprising when considering that the pair played an incredibly packed DJ schedule, with Boddika also reinvigorating the Nonplus concept with the impressive compilation album, 'Think and Change'.
The return to Sunklo offers us two tracks, the first entitled 'More Maim'. The opener seems to lack the arresting originality that was found in tracks on the previous releases. However, it seems that the two tracks on Sunklofaw are slightly subtler affairs than their predecessors. Nevertheless, they're as booming as you'd expect, with the kick drum of 'More Maim' reverberating ceaselessly throughout proceedings. The production is still powerful and suited to those dark warehouse spaces, it's more that the means through which this sound is crafted is more restrained. Save for a strange, out of sync melody that rears its head around halfway through the track, gone are the catchy riffs to be found in previous Sunklo tracks - all that operates here is loud, stomping music that makes up in oomph for what it lacks elsewhere.
photo credit: Paul Clement
The flipside, 'In Here' delivers more of the same. Brooding, eyes-down vibes come to the fore with a staccato, eerie vocal snippet mingling with a metallic drum palette that focuses on a padded, quivering kick. I feel like the release is operating as a blueprint for the direction Boddika and Joy O are looking to push things in, a gentle relinquishment of ties to the current Swamp81 sound. The omission of 'Tricky's Team' from Sunklofaw is notable, but perhaps fitting with this excursion away from a four-to-the-floor template.
Either way, I reckon there's plenty more like 'More Maim' to come in the upcoming year, both from Sunklo and from Nonplus. Boddika announced recently the roster he was hoping to assemble for the latest Nonplus project, including the likes of Daniel Avery and drum and bass veterans Source Direct.
Sunklofaw might lack the recognisability of previous iterations, but a move towards more DJ tool material would be a welcome and interesting development for the label.
More Maim / In Here - Boddika & Joy Orbison [Sunklofaw]
[SUNKLOFAW] is available soon via Juno.