Boomkat Product Review:
Third and final part of Conor Thomas’ ‘nuum-scanning mixtape trifecta - 5 hours of late ‘90s/early ‘00s hip hop, ragga and mutant R&B thru 00’s broken beat, dark garage, grime, bassline, dubstep, and UKF dug from dusty boxes.
An unfettered exercise in nostalgia, Reel Torque Vol. 22 marks 20 years of Conor owning a set of decks, racking up lost favourites and greasy white labels before they become rinsed to death. It was recorded during the end of a 6 (month) stretch in the bowels of Boro, where he naturally found himself excavating tunes that were precious to him as a 17 y.o., but have since slipped into the mists of memory - from weirdo dancehall to obscure Japanese hip hop, mutant UK/US R&B and beatdown Braindance - before joining the dots of the subsequent decade; when he ran Manchester’s first dubstep events and was inspired by clubnights such as Sequence, Hot Milk and Swing Ting, and lurked hard on the Dissensus forum.
Following directly from the preceding volumes of Reel Torque Vol. Douzzze Pt. Deux, and the hardcore pressure of The Smoking Man Redux, the first tape racks up a load of c.90-100BPM styles, toggling the pressure between strains of hip hop and rap mutations, ganja-mad ragga, Miami oddities and major US R&B on one side, feeding into dark garage, broken beat and proto dubstep on the flip. Tape 2 commits to the pre-smoking ban early years of dubstep, back when Pelicanneck was the only place in MCR you could buy it (to snarky side-eyes from folk who’d get into it later), and then runs up on its grime and bassline sparring partners, before tape 3 goes all-in on the golden years of UK Funky, from its formative soca and US Afro-house flavours to its collision with grime and reams of golden late decade bangers - basically 2007-2011.
It’s not gospel business, but a rudely personal attempt to follow the evolution of the ‘nuum, as outlined by likes of Steve Goodman, Mark Fisher and Kodwo Eshun, and with nuff inspiration from bossmen Shlom and DJ Miles, Samrai DJ, and artists who played at Ploy and the long-forgotten Curve sessions.