NUTCASE & PAPACHUBBA - "FLEX" 12"
Best Effort is honoured to issue the debut recordings of Nutcase & Papachubba on vinyl for the first time. The duo of dub technician Anthony Maher (best known as Sheriff Lindo) and prolific Perth transplant Andrew Armstrong (a.k.a. Friendly) were one of the first Drum’n’Bass acts in Australia, at a time when the genre was only just beginning to expand beyond British shores. Self-released on Andrew’s own Gulp Communications label, the duo carved out a creative niche for themselves in the staunchly partitioned dance scenes in Australia, blending a bevy of shared influences in an original style. The experimentation that yielded this EP still sounds inspired, and we are delighted to present it to a new audience and highlight Australia’s breakbeat history beyond nosebleed hardcore.
The music here has a strong affinity with contemporaneous UK drum’n’bass in it’s sprawling, progressive style; there are particularly strong parallels with Goldie’s epoch-making “Timeless”. The duo worked with vocalists much in the same way. Peta lends gorgeous vocals on three highlights here - the serene “Floating Inside” and it’s darkside inverse, the ragga jungle ruffness of “Falling Inside”, as well as the downtempo “Track 8”. “Floating Inside” is classic atmospheric Jungle, wistful pads & subbass pressure overlaid with Peta’s weightless singing. Conversely “Falling Inside” is boisterous; Apache-cut-up and a fierce descending bassline with Ragga samples to strike DREAD into any sound bwoy.
The vocals are chopped up and interpolated amongst the guitar pluck of “Track 8”, drenching them in FX and panning it across the rollicking digi-dub bassline in the EP’s most lysergic moment. The duo embrace a Liquid sound on “Diminished” - the aqueous sound design and rolling drums wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Intelligent stalwarts Good Looking. The titular “Flex” with its frenetic drum programming, does exactly what it says in the title. There’s a palpable excitement to the track, you can hear the real-time experimentation as they stretch the elasticity of the break into amen-pointillism, in a time before codified production methods and dry clinicism.
All of these tracks are replete with the creativity of a fresh perspective at an incredible time before the bifurcation of Drum’n’Bass into umpteen subgenres. Incredible material that will shake today’s bass bins as it did in the 90s.
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