Ragz, Riddimz & Rollerz

Review: C@ in the H@ – Ragz, Riddimz & Rollerz (EP)

C@ in the H@ has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be one of the most versatile DJs in this scene. Tackling genres as diverse as Dubstep, House, and even Balkan beats, he’s shown himself to be consistently adept at whatever genre he takes on, all whilst maintaining his signature big bass sound. As a result, when listening to his sets, one will often find themselves experiencing a high-speed whirlwind of different sounds and styles, but without any of it ever seeming incongruent with the rest!

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With this new release on Ragtime Records, C@ in the H@ has chosen to focus on the drum ’n’ bass sound, or more accurately, swing ’n’ bass. Pioneered by the likes of Phil Mac and Mista Trick, Swing ’n’ Bass has grown to become one of the most popular and successful subgenres of electro swing, as demonstrated by the Swing & Bass compilation album released earlier this year. Its fast tempos and high energy make it the perfect style to accompany some of the more upbeat and intense swing samples, and it thus works incredibly well on the dancefloor.

The EP opens with ‘Chicago’ featuring MC Navigator, who brings elements of dub into the mix as well. Alongside somewhat of a verbal description of the genre contained within the lyrics, this track features the signature C@ in the H@ bass behind a heavy, classic brass sound, and serves as the perfect opener. The next track, ‘Beer Baron’, introduces the use of vocal samples from vintage films, a very typical C@ in the H@ technique, and one which recurs throughout the release. We then have ‘Cat & Mouse’ – an absolute DnB banger – which is easily the standout track of the EP. I predict that this one will be heard at festivals all across the country this summer.

Moving on, ‘Smoke Out’ begins on a similar vibe to ‘Cat & Mouse’, quickly transitioning into almost electro-esque sounds, before returning to the signature C@ in the H@ bass sound. The brilliantly titled ‘Young Wild West’ is the most jazzy track in a way, with some really engaging interplay in the brass samples, before delving into some ridiculous descending basslines. And we end with ‘Shelter’, which stands as a complete contrast from the rest of the album, as – aside from a lone trumpet line – there is no swing or vintage element whatsoever. A strong DnB number though, and an interesting way to end the release.

The tracks featured on this EP collectively seem a lot stronger than many of the others one may find within the swing ’n’ bass subgenre. I feel that a large reason for this is through C@ in the H@’s treatment of the breakbeat. The reliance on the standard DnB breakbeat doesn’t seem as heavy as it often can in certain releases, and rather than simply stick an Amen break under a swing sample, the musicality shines through to the point where one’s familiarity with drum ’n’ bass isn’t even necessary. This says a lot for C@ in the H@’s producing ability then – that he’s able to keep the music interesting outside of the standard genre conventions. As such, through releases such as this one, we can plainly see why he does so well at every genre he undertakes.

Written by Chris Swinglis Date: 2019-05-29

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