Sunday, September 7, 2008


Artist: Breakbeat Era
Album: Ultra-Obscene
Released in: 1999

Breakbeat Era are DJ Die, Roni Size and vocalist Leonie Laws. They only ever released this one album -- my (completely unfounded) guess is that DJ Die and Leonie were a couple and then they split up. The one time I saw DJ Die spin in person (in 2002?), there was no Leonie Laws backing him up, but there was a similarly small, dark and attractive woman MC'ing.

Anyway, I had fond memories of this album, but listening to it now I find it rather disappointing. The basic sound is the darker, hard-thumping side of 90's d'n'b that's also found in Reprazent (no surprise there, given the personnel overlap). Laws is on vox, and man, is she angry. She snarls, threatens, tosses around insults (Here's to another / crap weekend / You lied to yourself / And you s*** on all your friends), and generally goes to town. This works on the songs Bullitproof and Time 4 Breaks where her voice and the beats really work together to create a powerfully emotional package (please ignore the anime montage behind the youtube video for Time 4 Breaks...). The rest of the time, Leonie's just going on up there and not only do her lyrics get more enigmatic/inane (Emma may look like a man / but she sucks spice[?] / she sucks my life), but I feel like the guys are letting her down in terms of the beats. It's the same boring breaks over and over. AMG doesn't seem to mind, but Pitchfork calls it a disposable album. I'm leaning more towards Pitchfork.

P.S. If you're reading this, comment. Please. Just 'hi' is fine.


kgr said...


Anonymous said...

Late to the party and totally clueless about the sound...but reading about it is fun!

mkb said...