A number of trainspotters have been asking themselves the same question when confronted by the multitudes of micro-genres appearing weekly (and often disappearing just as quickly) in modern music, and especially in the DJ/electronica realm: "What, exactly, is grime?" By consensus, grime is a down-and-dirty derivative of U.K. hip-hop, which in and of itself sounds almost nothing like U.S. hip-hop, and grime is also closely related to dub step, which is apparently hip-hop with dancehall reggae flavors and tech step dexterity. Or something like that. Which all boils down to a more relative question: "What, exactly, is Milanese? Linked inextricably to grime, Milanese sounds very little like dance club/commercial grime (and absolutely nothing like music from Milan!). On further inspection, it would become apparent that Milanese is a remix artist who may take his cues from grime, but is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to stylistic pilferage, and he creates his own world and thus his very own micro-genre. Call it sub-grime. It's gritty and textural -- you can feel the crunch and grind of the beats like gravel and asphalt under your boots. Its tempo is almost ridiculously slow but is juxtaposed with upbeat samples and vocal lines -- you keep expect a drum'n'bass style breakbeat to come bashing in, but it never happens. What results is a tension, and without that release it maintains a terse, angry, dystopian vibe. The first track, "Mr. Bad News," is like jungle on 16 rpm with nonsensical distorted vocals evoking darkened back alleys and seedy urban underworlds. The genre clash is most apparent on the second and third tracks, where the implied violence of the toaster/rap vocals on "Dead Man Walking" contrasts starkly with the syrupy cooing of the female vocals of "Caramel Cognac." The album is lean in length and fades in its immediacy after about the halfway mark, but hopefully more of these unique contradictory yet compelling productions will be heard in the not too distant future.
AllMusic Review by Brian Way
feat: Virus Syndicate