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Hype Williams Rainbow Edition Big Dada

There’s a new thing happening,” says a woman’s voice in Rainbow Editions opener Madting, “new and beautiful”. True to form, confusion and intrigue surrounds this “new” incarnation of Hype Williams.

It was generally thought that Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland ended the project years ago. But last year new Hype Williams material surfaced, with the band’s (possibly fictional) manager Denna Frances Glass insisting that neither “dean nor inga are in hype williams anymore, but the ting continues regardless with other cats.” Now, the Rainbow Edition press release claims that all Hype Williams music released since 2011 is fake, and that this new LP is actually the work of two men going by the names of Slaughter and Silvermane. The pair look slightly awkward in the press shot, like teenagers being photographed by an older relative.

There is some evidence that Hype Williams is, as claimed, a relay project passed down between members. Silvermane has previous credits, having been featured as a collaborator on London-based artist and nutritionist Nina Cristante’s Complications LP. Strangely, two tracks on that record appear on Rainbow Edition. On The Whole Lay (entitled brown on Cristante’s album) an off-key, auto-tuned voice warbles above dense layers of dreamy synth-flutes and stuttering kicks, while on Baby Blu a bass guitar climbs up and down a gloomy scale, beneath swells of dry keyboard strings. Like most of Rainbow Edition, these tracks are brief, and rife with melancholy. At one point we blast through eight tracks in under ten minutes, and the effect is like that of someone rifling through bundles of old presets on a battered sampler.

#Blackcardsmatter is vintage Hype Williams, with ghostly piano chords following a sluggish, down-tuned beat. Ask Yee’s syrup-thick trap hi-hats bristle like a cheap speaker turned up full. On Percy, we get a peek at something sublime – bells descend from clouds, lit up by sunset, and among the lo-fi hiss and grit, we find something majestic. Through the years, Blunt and Copeland have expertly distilled the thrill and fatigue of inner-city burnout. If, as is claimed, their voices really aren’t on this record, it has been mimicked extremely well. Touching, beguiling stuff.