Phatworld – Kelvin Phlats EP

By Jordan Moussavi

Phatworld and the wider Off Me Nut crew have been producing some of the most distinct and enjoyable music in the UK underground for some time now. Standing apart from the grimy, industrial sounds typical of the UK bass and bassline scene of the 2010s, the Off Me Nut (OMN) label and its associated acts have pushed tirelessly to incorporate the most novel and outlandish sounds into bonafide party music.

This sort of relentless levity has been a welcome addition to an at times, saturated scene, and the combined efforts of the Sheffield-based label have carved a distinct enough niche that OMN bassline has emerged as a sort of de facto sub-genre.

“Kelvin Phlats” marks a further refinement of this ongoing process. Starting with “Scissorhand”, the EP opens with pitched-up vocals, thudding bass, ravey stabs and off-beat, carnival-esque chords. The main riff features a playful, whistle-like synth that really sets the track apart, so it follows that this track would be featured on much of the promo for this record.

“Like it Like” is next up and is a no-nonsense foray into 4×4 and speed garage territory. A honking bass leads the charge in alternating octaves whilst laser-like textures bleep and bloop in the background. The variation that follows is tight and the tested formula of loud-quiet-loud song structure works its charm here.

“Talk to Me” opens with a Justin Timberlake sample, which is sure to catch my attention as a not-so-guilty appreciator of his music, before contrasting it with a clip from UK comedy/prank show, Fonejacker. This strange juxtaposition captures some of the essence of what OMN are about—an unphased attitude towards the inclusion of pop, rap, and dancehall culture, with a healthy dose of comedy to boot. A build-up eventually drops into perhaps the most “Off Me Nut” style of these tracks. A wonky, whirring bassline plays on with salacious syncopation, but is done with such care that its off-kilter character feels thoroughly deliberate—the effortless way that Phatworld play with atypical sounds and incorporate them into bass-heavy dance music is truly a marvel.

Finally, “Connect” ends on a high point, featuring longtime collaborator Forca. Generous helpings of grime and electro are reminiscent of several classic instrumentals in both genres. Forca’s charismatic vocals fire across a rapidly mutating instrumental, letting the listener know that he “Reps Sheff like the blueberry dank”.  The track is anchored by a weighty bass and at 150 bpm, closes out the EP at a furious pace.

Spanning a broad and enjoyable selection of rave-friendly oddities, Phatworld’s “Kelvin Phlats” is a rampage through several genres that expands Off Me Nut’s jovial and uncompromising style into new territory.

Posted on August 24, 2023

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