Diplo - Express Yourself EP - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Diplo - Express Yourself EP

by Rich Morris Rating:9 Release Date:2012-08-06

Having more or less managed to walk the tightrope between cred artist and producer to the biggest names in music, Diplo is back with a release of his own. This six-track EP is a pretty compelling argument for why he continues to be in demand with acts as diverse as Bjork, Beyonce, MIA, Azealia Banks and Nicola Roberts.

As the title may tip you off, Express Yourself is a party record - manically so, in fact. The opening and title track is an unhinged, barely coherent yet somehow tight as fuck 'banger' constructed from jack-hammer beats, hyperventilating squiggles and rapper Nicky Da B's rapid-fire exhortations. Apparently, this is a genre called New Orleans bounce. Being a fan of HBO series Treme, I thought jazz was the only music to be heard in that city. But whatever this is, I like it and I want to hear more.

Almost before 'Express Yourself's final implosion, 'Barely Standing' bursts out of the speakers. It may tip its hat to the current US vogue for 'brostep' and brainless dancefloor fillers, but for my money it's probably the strongest track on the EP - a full-force, in-your-face party anthem to comprehensively lose your shit to. Who doesn't need that sometimes?

'No Problem', which follows, is similar but moodier and more complex, mixing dubstep with 90s dance sounds like a steriod-pumped version of Disclosure. Or, if we're being critical, Disclosure with the subtlety sandpapered off. But I'm not in the mood to be critical with music this abrasive and uncompromising. I just want it to blast my eardrums and it does the job nicely.

'Move Around' employs dub atmospherics, dancehall rhythms, live drums and juddering breakdowns to queasy effect. You wouldn't move much to this unless you were seriously refreshed, which means it's perfect festival music. 'Butters Theme' is apparently an example of moombahton, another genre I'm not going to pretend to know much about, accept to say that if this blindingly fierce, squelchy, sexy track is a representative example, I will have to get my music geek investigative hat on and dig out some more.

Final track 'Set It Off', featuring the fantastically titled Lazerdisk Party Sex, is a fraction more mellow, in that it sounds like a swarm of angry wasps flooding your head rather than a chainsaw wielded by a helium-inflated Nicki Minaj. It's the only track on here which feels less than fully realised.

Diplo has collaborated with other producers and artists on these tracks, so we maybe shouldn't give him all the credit. But the fact remains that this is a relentlessly ferocious collection, very probably the party release of the year.

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Here\s a very brief introduction to Bounce.

"Bounce" is basically a regional variant on Booty Bass block party music that is most popular in New Orleans. New Orleans culture is very ass-fixated, and so is Bounce music. The dance moves are all...

Here\s a very brief introduction to Bounce.

"Bounce" is basically a regional variant on Booty Bass block party music that is most popular in New Orleans. New Orleans culture is very ass-fixated, and so is Bounce music. The dance moves are all about shaking your arse, a bit like "twerk", and the signature move is the "booty clap" (where one's arse cheeks bang off one another to create a clapping noise).

It's beginning to cross over in to the mainstream now, and interestingly the "Sissy Bounce" off-shoot, which is heavily gay/queer/drag/transexual is proving to be the most popular. I guess girls prefer getting shouted at to shake their arses by gay (not straight) men?

Undisputed Queen of Bounce is Big Freedia, a gender-bending artist who is making big waves on the underground: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-cT6SwFIHA

The original Sissy Bounce MC was Katey Red, who also lays claim to being hip-hop's first transgendered MC:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8ZeYslcGNg

One of the best Sissy Bounce MCs is Sissy Nobby, whose bluesy, gutteral vocal style sets him apart and adds weight to the genre:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5n7BK6Mt_E

Well, we should all know who Nicky Da B is now, but that Diplo appearance isn't his first release, check this AWESOME video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3333_3r0Jwk

Not all Bounce is Sissy, here's the very hetero Gotty Boi Chris in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW9jr7VW-Fk

And here's as close to the mainstream as Bounce has yet gotten, it's the new single by RuPaul featuring Big Freedia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgjPZwiwgsM

For more info check http://nolabounce.com/

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Thanks for the intro, Niall. I like bum-fixated music.

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