Roska has been at the forefront of the UK funky scene for a while now, from his work with Rinse he has found the perfect collaborator in his quest to explore and expand upon his already considerable expertise in UK dance music, this has demonstrated itself in his upcoming release Roska 2, his first record since the first one came out over two years ago.
In that time Roska has rewired his musical direction to encompass a lot more variation in the music, in this latest offering his funky heritage still plays a role but its one limited to the background while the main substance of the record is the showcasing of his unique new musical muses.
Unique is definitely the right word to use too, from the outset of the record you can tell that this is going to be an altogether different experience than your average genre focused Rinse release, Roska essentially dons a polka dot cape and goes apeshit in his studio using all the colours he can muster all whilst not taking his paint stained self too seriously.
Which makes the record such a charming listen, it has an almost cartoony feel all the way through from the multi-coloured polka dot album cover to the final track, there is a light hearted and playful theme throughout the record which makes really easy listening especially for those not fond of the repetitive and linear nature of UK funky.
Don’t worry though that playfulness fluently translates to the dance floor, a lot of the tracks and sound effects are reminiscent of Roskas club favourite “Squark” albeit more refined, layered and focused in their musical objective.
Roska has done his best in showcasing that he can do so much more then funky, this is officially stamped with the album opener “You Dun Kno” for veterans of Roska’s style the opener on this album hits particularly hard giving the listener a sense of “Oi I bet you didn’t know I can make music like this huh.”
There are a multitude of great tracks on the album but understandably there are a few which are a bit hit and miss for me, namely the super cheesy boyband feel of “Do You Like This” featuring some random and really annoying guy called Jamie George who’s high pitched vocals leave much to be desired from the fans of the instrumental side of his music.
That brings me to my next the point; there is no single musical theme in this release but rather a varied collection of different styles that all synchronize nicely in making this record a fun carousel of different flavours.
From the RnB inspired and romantically charged “Memories” featuring Ruby Goe to the hard hitting “Badman” featuring the ironically named “Sweetie Irie” a testament to ones mans existence as a “Badman” and the eternal vigilance all other “badmen” must possess to spot out other fake “badmen.”
We have also got the albums ode to girl power with “Go” by Mz Bratt, again I’m not too fond of some of the vocals on this album but the master crafted instrumentals more than make up for the hit and miss choices of some of the vocal tracks.
Standout tracks for me include the club bangers “Metric” and “Eleven” and the tribute to his long standing history with Rinse “OnRinseSinceZeroEight” all of the said tracks are fast paced and jam packed with the sounds he never used in his love affair with UK funky.
This record has done two things for me, introduced me to a side of this influential British producer I never knew existed and given me a newfound appreciation to all his old stuff, both playing their part in reminding me what a great all-round producer he is.