Sam Binga & Foreign Concept – One Up Top EP

By Adam Wright

In “One Up Top EP”, Bristolian garage head Sam Binga teams up with Drum & Bass guru Foreign Concept to provide a genre-bending journey through the current UK scene.

The EP gets immediately stuck in with “Turns Me”. A 5 kick pattern at 160 bpm sets the scene for a hefty footwork cut that does not disappoint. Tastefully implemented breakbeats and an alarming 303 rhythm add the color to show us there’s more to life than droning subs and crushed kicks… just about!

The second track “Come Back Around” heads so far down my street I could sue for trespassing. It’s a great piece of garage. Skippy, jumpy, groovy and wobbly. The phasey Rhodes chords feel authentic and old, while the wobbly bass is a much more modern-sounding addition. The vocals, provided by the immensely talented Niques and M.O.E. complement the vibe of the track absolutely perfectly. It’s a tune that both takes me back, and makes me look forward. Something that could be heard on your local radio station, but then again in the backroom of your local basement club.

Talking of basement club vibes, “BAMF” is hefty and dark. The kicks roll through a familiar rhythm while the upper percussion leads a cacophony of tropical funk. This slice of UK funky is cranked up as high as the pitch fader will allow it, but the looping bassline is slightly lethargic; controlling the risk of you getting carried away. The arrangement is both sparse and busy at the same time. Funk, I was once schooled, is driven by the negative space – and this track has just enough of it.

“Safe Haven (Unsafe Mix)” is twisted, warped breakbeats. Dark pads and darker drums round off the multicolored EP. Breakbeat of this style often runs the risk of laziness, we’ve heard it all before – some chilled chords get layered under a compressed amen and copy-pasted to oblivion. This track, however, steers masterfully through these dangerous waters. The breakbeats are constantly changing, without getting distracting, and the effects are constantly in motion, without being overwhelming.

Posted on April 18, 2022