Benga

Diary of an Afro Warrior | Tempa
By SUSANNA BOLLE  |  April 22, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
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Although producer Beni Adejumo (a/k/a Benga) may be a mere 21, he’s already a grizzled vet of the UK dubstep and grime scenes. With five years’ service in the trenches and a handful of scorching 12-inches and mixes to show for it, his first full-length release has been keenly awaited. And he delivers the goods, often in unexpected ways. Dubstep has a bit of a reputation — deserved or no — for po-faced seriousness. So from the outset, what’s surprising is just how upbeat, even jaunty, the CD is. (The vinyl version, which has a very different track listing, is an infinitely darker beast.) Sure, there’s plenty of glorious, innards-rumbling bass and somnambulant rhythms to be had (“The Cut,” with its snarling, teeth-bared synths), but Benga seems more intent on muddying the genre’s already brackish waters, bringing in elements culled from minimal techno, jazz-riff-heavy drum ’n’ bass, and acid house — with (mostly) excellent results. Best of all, he has a stone-cold dance-floor killer in the mix, a co-production with Coki called “Night” that works a slinky minimal melody to maximum effect. On the merits of that track alone, Benga’s battle is won.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Electronic Music
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