Roots Manuva Touches (Almost) Every Genre On 4EVEREVOLUTION

For his fifth studio album, UK’s foremost dubtronica producer [lastfm]Roots Manuva[/lastfm] expands his musical repertoire with more gusto and less inhibition than ever before. 4EVERREVOLUTION dabbles in a laundry list of styles including wonky reggae, pop-funk, hip hop, ballads and disco. Few producers have tackled such a range of approaches on one record before, and those that have struggled to maintain a cohesive sound. Leave it to the ever defiant production style of Rodney Smith (Roots himself) to succeed at both.

[photogallerylink id=27745 align=left]Aging heads would remember [lastfm]Roots Manuva[/lastfm] as one of the many trip-hop producers to follow in [lastfm]Tricky[/lastfm]‘s production pathin the 1990s. For brief spells in 4EVEREVOLUTION, that scene’s contemplative vibes crop up, but not enough to firmly plant the album next to Smith’s early discography. First single “Watch Me Dance” follows the squelchy, space-funk aesthetic of his most recent output for the Ninja Tune boxset, but even that song can’t promise what the entire record will sound like. “Revelation” wrings string arrangements typical of UK’s grime scene over a rough US hip hop rhythm, “Beyond This World” dabbles in electro-funk, “Crow Bars” references the best of a [lastfm]Neptunes[/lastfm] production, and “Go Champ” runs through an exercise in slowed down funky/garage. It is impossible to pinpoint one reference point for this album beyond Roots’ well-versed knowledge of the past thirty years of music’s evolution between the underground and the mainstream.

Born and raised in South London, Rodney Smith draws from a much larger pool of influences now to update his sound – a welcome update, considering the sonic rut he slipped into with the past two albums. Carribean rhythms, American sheen, London’s dirt, and Ibiza’s spirit converge into a long (seventeen track long!) journey through more twists and turns than any fan of Roots would expect. Most records of this length would have more than a couple filler tracks, but 4EVEREVOLUTION is devoid of such tactic. Only fully realized and adventurous songs pass the time, and the album is better for it. Roots might have the record of his career on his hands; we can only hope he hasn’t spent all his creative energy.

[lastfm]Roots Manuva[/lastfm] – 4EVEREVOLUTION (Big Dada/Ninja Tune)
Street Date: October 11th
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Track List:
1. First Growth
2. Here We Go Again
3. Skid Valley
4. Who Goes There?
5. Watch Me Dance
6. Revelation
7. Wha’ Mek?
8. Takes Time
9. Beyond This World
10. Go Champ
11. Get The Get
12. Crow Bars
13. The Throes Of It
14. Noddy
15. Much Too Plush
16. The Path
17. Banana Skank

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