Friday, March 18, 2005


Wasn't sure about "Random", the new Lady Sovereign twelve the first time I played it (I mean, "Ch-Ching" was always gonna be a tough one to follow)... for starters, it didn't sound alien enough (I was worried that I was starting to get used to this stuff)... but, fuck me, what a chorus, though. After a few plays I soon started to swing with it...

But the B-Side Menta rmx with Riko: fuckin' hell...this is delicious stuff. The beats're slowwwwwed down to a sludgy migraine blur underpinned by metallic synth chatter that sounds like someone with OCD playing baked-bean tins. Sov hits the first chorus and a plug-in delay multiplies her voice and detunes it down into an eerie-sounding horde of Grimey cartoon ghosts. And the way she slurs "Everyone get random..." in a weird, almost-disinterested pseudo-Salford-sounding patois: it's fucking fantastic. "...Just do som'ting random": the emphasis is on "sum'ting", as in: something, anything...

Then: a sudden knock at the door and a Cockney voice says: "'Ere, Sov...Riko's on the phone!" And Riko's artfully-delivered, almost-poetic stop/start flow arrives via dictophone. This is a moment of inspired, almost Fall-like revelation, where the entire recording-process is suddenly peeled back and revealed as artifact; production blemishes are amplified instead of hidden...

There is no attempt to reconcile Riko's contribution with the rest of the track. Deliberately highlighting the fact that this is an overdub gives the music a strange, queasy sense of dislocation.

Riko's done and the door crashes shut on a crypt-sized whummmpht of reverb and we're back to the horde of undead backing-vocalists until the bit-rate degrades down to a raw, rasping, scaping, clatter of sound prior to the final verse: "Just check how me flow differs/I'm droppin' lyrics like a ho' drop her knickers/This shit's hot/Where's the sniffa dog...?"

Then: "London get random/Birmingham get random..." breaks down and freaks itself out by saying: "The World get random/People get random..." before the track falls away and Sov coughs, realising she's gone too far, then reins herself in with a simple "Now, bring it back."

Astonishing stuff. I'm getting goosebumps just from writing about it.


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