After a string of 12" releases over the course of a few years on labels like Lit City Trax, Ramp Recordings, and Berlin's Leisure System, London's new grime pioneer Visionist has finally readied his debut full-length proper. Safe will be released by PAN on October 9, a new home for the artist which, of course, makes a whole lot of sense. Not only did PAN's Bill Kouligas and Visionist recently announce the merging of minds with new label Codes, which has had a terrific start with inaugural release by Acre & Filter Dread.
Even more significant seems to be the fact that by way of its still growing expat community, the reconfigeration of grime that has reinvigorated the UK scene in the past two or three years has slowly but steadily started to infiltrate the more challenging and captivating undercurrents of contemporary Berlin music, be it DJ sets or the local artists' own productions – think Janus, of course, but also a large part of CTM's focus as of late, and most recently the output of Joe Shakespeare and Kuedo's Knives imprint. In that sense, 'new' grime may be, alongside variations of Chicago footwork, one of the few actually forward-looking styles that have managed to break into and undermine the city's puristic techno/house prevalence. With Kouligas' open-minded and farsighted approach to signing, PAN has played an important role to pave the way for this welcome shift – last demonstrated with Janus affiliate M.E.S.H.'s excellent LP Piteous Gate.
Visionist's Safe is music that, for the time being, could only really come out of London. But having found PAN as its creative home, the album will enable further change in Berlin, too. And that's something we should be grateful for.
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