Like Hudson Mohawke and Lunice's recent self-titled EP as TNGHT, "Beamer"—the latest single from young Liverpool-based producer Melé—is brash, energetic, and has little time for subtlety. But whereas TNGHT's music straddles the line between hip-hop and the more colorful ends of 140-bpm bass music, "Beamer" pairs its maximalist synth lines with the livelier, rough-edged UK sounds of grime—providing a platform for former N.A.S.T.Y Crew member Kano to deliver one of his most likeable performances since 2004's "Ps & Qs."
It's Kano's contribution that makes "Beamer" a success—the presence of the original instrumental on the b-side only serves to highlight this. Left alone, the beat is lively to the point of awkwardness; propelled along by relentless trance synths at the difficult tempo of 155 bpm, it's littered with nods to various undesirable strands of UK rave music. As dance music, it's just too much of an oddity, but its esoteric bounce suits grime much better. Kano rides the springy drum machine beat fluidly, his playful bragging softening the bravado of Melé's weighty 2-step beat. He especially shines over the breakdown; taking the money-and-women boasts of hip-hop and relocating them to the dancefloor of
an 'old school garage rave'—all delivered in an accentuated British accent—Kano radiates personality in a way we haven't seen from him in quite a while.
"Beamer" is still a slightly strange proposition, one that's undeniably pulled from rave culture but is probably too energetic and chaotic to realistically fit into a club scenario. But where some of TNGHT's EP suffered for trading personality in favor of swagger, Kano's appearance here transforms "Beamer" into a very enjoyable little curiosity.