Onuinu - Mirror Gazer
Of all genre sub- sections, disco-hop seems to be, well... less surprising. Electronic and hip-hop music are a likely pairing. Both are synthetic constructions, not the primal garage rock of the 1960s but not any less meaningful. Though supposedly, new genre creations make new artists appear more exciting to first time listeners, they very rarely offer anything that deserves a 'splitting of oceans and charge through to new, uncharted terrain' style congratulations. But nonetheless, the branding of Onuinu's first LP, Mirror Gazer is deceptive. On this release, we've been lied to and two fold at that.
Let's unpack the first deceit. Mirror Gazer is more 'disco' than 'hop'. There is nothing here that says hip-hop at all really. If there was, then the tiring loop of 'Always Awkward' would mark a kind of degenerative revolutionary change of hip-hop. It's mundane from beginning to end, though it develops into a minor but just fair rhythm in the middle. Fair, yes, like a weak electronic limp into murky, tried liquidity, that doesn't even make a fun youthful splash. Like terrible background music, or the annoying muzak played when trying to get hold of real life person at the Student Loans Company. So is it not blasphemy to analogise this and hip-hop? If hip-hop was ever reduced to background music, then 'A Night With...' would be its case in point atmosphere. But it's not background music. It's brash and unaware of any personal space and this LP is too desperately distant.
And amongst all of this slow brewing mundaneness, you are but uncomfortably suspended in the unforgiving air. Go to Sheffield, hit The Tuesday Club and whether you're in the dub step room, or the hip hop, you never have to wait for a heavy, dirty drop to know when to switch gear. But even on stronger tracks like 'Ice Palace', you're left lame like Oliver Twist begging for even a tiny dip into hip-hop's so called relish, instead getting some tasteless gruel shy of at least 40 minutes on the hob.
So we come to the second lie: Mirror Gazer is more electronic then disco. If you've read this from the start and calculated the literary numerics, branding of 'disco-hop' ultimately comes to one big fat lie. Sorry. Disco, is meant to be sexy, just one thing that Donna Summer taught us. But the only moves this LP has are different variations of missionary; one boring stroke after another. 'Lost' is an attempt at sonic elusiveness that comes to nothing but electronic submission; he's just a little boy swirling around on a synths, like a toddler mixing up all the different paint colours, expecting some Technicolor dream, and coming up with a shitty grey.
It's not all lacking in carnal activity though. 'Forever' has a promiscuous flare about it, while 'Last Words' sits perched amongst the other non-descript songs in the track list, screaming "if you don't listen to me, don't bother with other 4 or so songs coming up."
Ah, the old genre double barrel. The idea behind it is fair: multi-musical liberalism is rife and staying within the stark parameters of tribes is difficult unless you live in some lifeless state like Maine. But what's worse than artists saying that they have incredibly diverse interests but come up with something completely vanilla. What's worse than being lied to?