London-based Exceptional Records is indeed exceptional: Having been keeping tabs on their impressive artist roster (ranging from Swedish chillout talent Plej and Cloud to Susumu Yokota, the renowned composer and ambient musician), I came across Culprit 1’s debut album. That was also around the same time I attended the Dubstep Awards at Herbal in Shoreditch, got hooked on the soundtrack from Aronofsky’s Pi, and realised that my hearing had become desensitized from minimal-electro-overload. So the timing was rather good considering. Providing grimey, percussion-heavy sounds layered on with various harmonic configurations and hip-hop samples, James Hannam, a.k.a. Culprit 1, can only do Exceptional’s family proud. Hailing from Cardiff and formerly of Headtest, the twenty-five year-old electronic solo artist has been positively received since his Boobytrap Records debut single release almost five years ago. Performing live at Cardiff’s Compass Point festival, he went on to support the Detroit duo Adult., SFA offshoot Acid Casuals and Kidz With Toyz. In March 2004, Hannam’s Aqoon Guud EP was released on My Kung Fu.
Think of Linkin Park and The Prodigy fused together with elements of The Beastie Boys, UNKLE and DJ Shadow. At times like Digitalism, The Chemical Brothers, and even Familjen (oddly enough, ‘Hög Luft’ is like listening to ‘Manical’ in fast-forward). All in all, it works to great effect, making Running In Order (2007) a diverse collection of symphonic breakbeat tracks, approximately four-minutes each with a listenability factor suiting various moods. The track currently on favoured replay is ‘Strings Outro’–beautiful string harmonies making for one of the best finishes for a full-length release I can think of in recent memory. Another great one–though not off his LP–is the 2006 single ‘No Need To Ask’. Reso’s Resurrection Mix is particularly good, so the EP (iTunes version) is worth checking out. In the meantime, enjoy the music video for the original (Flavour Revocal) featured above, directed by roughcollie.tv motion design.
Sarah Badr © MMVIII
See also: Culprit One – Official Site