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Strict Face Is Spreading Adelaide Grime

His sound is like, “a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag”.

by Tim Scott
07 April 2014, 6:30am

Adelaide isn't a city known for it's grime scene but thanks to a Soundcloud page and YouTube channel Adelaide grime producer Strict Face has been getting love from Melbourne cool kids ESC, Resident Advisor, and FACT, alongside UK air play on Slackk and Dust & Blackdown's show on Rinse.

The young producer has just released "Fountains/Highbury Skyline" on Mr. Mitch's Gobstopper a London label with a reputation for championing the genres more interesting instrumental side.

"Fountains" pushes a stripped back; sparse and almost melancholic take of grime. With flourishes of 808 it's a world away from the aggro and haste of Ruff Sqwad and Roll Deep crews of grime's early days.

The B-side "Highbury Skyline" is about Highbury— the one north of Adelaide, far from the Highbury, North London an area considered the spiritual home of grime.

Thump: Is "Fountains" in relation to the fountain in Adelaide's Rundle Mall?
Strict Face:
Not really. It's just a bit more reserved compared to a lot of the current stuff I've been making in terms of the environment and space. A lot of the stuff I make is a little more full on and intense. When I made "Fountains" I was trying to divert from that. I have heard other people refer to it as glacial and romantic.

You've described your sounds as like, "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag".
(Laughs) Yeah I think was taking the piss. I don't really describing the music. A lot of people associate grime with this really hard sound. If you went to a grime rave ten years ago you'd see a lot of people getting really hyped up things I'm doing is quite different.

You tweeted that on one track you were trying to channel or mix The Audibles with Will Oldham's Maya Tone drum machine. How did that to?
Yeah I'm a fan of Palace music, I've been a Will Oldham fan for a long time. I was revisiting "Arise, Therefore" around about the same time I was listening to "Put You Down" by Justin Bieber that was produced by the Audilbles so I was trying to make this really crappy rhythm track with a bunch of 80s synths over it. Bieber and Oldham two very polar extremes.

How did you manage to hook up with Club ESC and UK radio?  
With Club ESC I met Lawson (Aspartame) who had been following my stuff for a while through his sister Macquarie (Fletch) who I stayed with her last time I was in Melbourne and we linked up and kept chatting and shortly after that I met up with Oliver (Air Max '97) and we hit if off and kept chatting through Facebook and Twitter.

In the UK my friend Moleskin who is part of Keysound told me to send tunes to Blackdown at Rinse so I sent a through songs including "Highbury Skyline" and they ended up playing it on their Rinse show.

Around the same time I sent Slackk some tracks and he included it on his March mix last year. It's just been building momentum since then.

It must be cool to see grime spreading out from London.
Yeah it is. I keep tabs on what is going on. There's more cool stuff in Australia, Scotland and the US.  I'm actually working with a producer from Houston, Texas called Rabit. We hit each up because we were both into each other's work. I sent some loops and he was into it.

A lot of producers who make grime in the US take it the wrong way. They hear Wiley do "Ice Rink" or "Colder" then follow that but Rabit is making it a bit more unique with cool instrumentals. Real interesting stuff.

Want more from Tim Scott? Check him out on RRR's Teenage Hate.