UK Hip Hop: International
Belles In Monica - What D'Ya Need [New Dawn]
Belles In Monica - What D'Ya Need
After the interview with Eastborn anyone would realise that there are a whole host of crew up in Scotland, several releases deep, but whose names have not made it this far south. Belles In Monica would be one of those crews. Comprising three main members - Kruze, the writer / producer, Red who is on Guitars and Fx and finally DJ Dema who is on the cuts, they are on the New Dawn records label and are now three releases deep. Having been around for a while they are now taking steps to make their name bigger and have an album out imminently.

The first track What D'ya Need is a great track which is produced by the Unsung Heroes, and it has their feel all over it. The track has a bounce inducing groove whipped up with the orchestral hits, double bass and oboes as well as xylophones or some other wooden sounding percussive instrument. The vocalist has a spoken style which is very laid back and is simply very fast, there isn't too much inflection in the delivery, or different flows, just lots of words. At first I thought it was muffled, or mumbled, but as I listened to it more I started picking out stuff and think that it is probably just the accent that I'm unused to. There is also the longer H.A.R.D. mix/Krash Slaughta which is much dirtier with the vocals severely distorted and placed lower in the mix. There is less groove or funk to this beat which is altogether darker and the most prominent features being the drum machine and cuts in the chorus and outro, which ends with a vocal sample, "I don't know what to say to you now, but if you make it through the night I'll find the words tomorrow". I would go for the Unsung Heroes mix because it is just much more funky and you can see the extra experience at recording and producing bringing up the first version.

On the AA side first up is the Skitzophonetic track, more urgent the deep chellos at the beginning of the bars pump energy, but the vocals which explore the rappers mental state and all the dreams that he can't share with you don't really compliment it, not subject matter wise, more delivery wise. Overall the production gives this a bit of a dated feel, and I keep thinking of JC 001 when I hear the rapper. 

The final track Resistance Is Futile has a real old British Hardcore feel, with its mix of samples and the energy when it is all mixed together creates. Maybe this is where the crew really want to be. Although this style has long been dead, there seems to be a resurgence from Scotland and Switzerland of all places. It is raw and grimy, this raucous sound was the original sound that drove UK Hip Hop when it was at its peak in the early 90's. It is a toss up between this and the first track to choose as my fave track off the EP, and that is for totally different reasons. For What D'ya Need it is because the Unsung Heroes bring an up to date sound and a good clubby track and Resistance Is Futile because it is the most unashamed recreation of the sounds that permeated my late teens.

It is a very thick 12" and we all know about the debate which goes along with that. Next time New Dawn should consider a spined sleeve as mine is very dog eared already, as far as the packaging goes, the design is pretty simplistic and the font isn't entirely to my taste, but that is all I can complain about which is not bad at all. Not sure who Appetite are, a promotional company I guess, anyway, I was due to get pictures and press info from them, but didn't get anything, so maybe someone isn't doing their job!

Visit Belles In Monica on the web: www.belles.demon.co.uk :: ndawn@belles.demon.co.uk
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