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GAIKA Basic Volume Warp

With 2016’s Spaghetto EP, GAIKA claimed his position as the Dark Wizard of dancehall. His first release for Warp interweaved gothic soundscapes and pulverising beats, creating his own distinct brand of the genre infused not only with his politics but also with a true sense of longing and melancholy.

If Spaghetto saw GAIKA ascend as rightful heir to power, Basic Volume sees the Brixton-born artist asserting his dominance and establishing a dynasty. Calling on the kind of downbeat industrialism that made previous releases so uniquely captivating, the opening title track Volume and Hackers & Jackers are further testaments to the idea that intensity and tempo are not necessarily linked: even the gloomiest of beats have an insatiable brutality. There is a thickness to Basic Volume, too, which runs through the entire album.

A humidity created from the swirling, storm-like ambience of its soundscapes and the haze of its ever-present autotune. Perhaps most notable, though, is what GAIKA has achieved with his collaborators. SOPHIE-produced Immigrant Sons is the album’s most daring point – bringing together the seemingly disparate and distinct sounds of PC Music and dancehall to create something staggeringly contemporary. Like the album itself, it’s unafraid, not only to defy convention but also to turn its hand to rewriting it for those who would dare to follow suit.