Every so often it's nice to remember that expectations can still be confounded and we're not all totally immune to the possibility of surprise. Grime producer and Young Echo collective member Kahn is usually more Radar than Radio One so it was a surprise when he dropped nu-house shuffler "Narcissistic Selfie-Stick Riddim" on SoundCloud late this week. The track's divided opinion and we think there are two distinct ways of interpreting it.
The first of these involves us treating the track as an subject rather than an object. By this I mean that we have to consider it's composite parts - the Korg M1 preset that apes Robyn S' never-improved-upon "Show Me Love", the rote percussion, the vocal sample snatched from Justin Bieber's "Fa La La" - and interpret them through the prism of the form they've been shoehorned into: generic chart-bothering shallowly deep house. We know that this is "deep house" because it sounds like contemporary "deep house" even though this "deep house" sounds nothing like actual deep house even if it is a pitch-perfect approximation of the schematic signifiers that help us code this as the kind of "deep house" we internally associate with white Huaraches and carrot-bottomed jeans, footballers haircuts and a "cheeky" Nandos. It's inconsequentially there, as a song, it means nothing and says nothing, but simultaneously it is something pliant and malleable, something that can co-exist as a kind of barefaced pisstake of generic tropes while being appreciated viscerally by those who are happy to listen without theory. Play it next to Route 94 or whoever and it'd 'work.' This notion of a track 'working' takes us back to the idea of song as subject: "Narcissistic Selfie-Stick Riddim" is a song, presumably, that sold it's soul in the name of post-post-post-post-modernist prankery, gleefully negating autonomy and subjectivity in order to point out, again presumably, the pointlessness of assuming the generic identities of someone or something in order to fit in. This is the song as cloaking device.
The second? It's just a total fucking belter.