Sam Binga’s “Wasted Days” LP: A Middle Finger to Genre Definitions
When I think about the proverbial “genre map” of electronic music, and how it has developed over the past several decades, it becomes clear to me that the last 10 years have represented a hyperspace of trendsetting changes that was previously unprecedented. The face of modern electronic music in 2015 is so significantly different from the landscape of the scene in 2005 that the two are almost incomparable. The EDM boom of the 2010’s has completely thrown all preconceived notions out the door about what modern dance music is and can be. Things have happened that no one would have ever thought were possible 10 years ago. The discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of the popularization of electronic music is an important one, but nonetheless, a conversation for another day. For better or for worse, electronic music has changed quite significantly in the past decade, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Some communities, however, have been more resistant to the popularization of electronic music and more rigid in the consistency of their genre definitions than others. The most prominent of those communities is the drum and bass/jungle scene. DnB heads are known for being strictly about drum and bass: none of that kiddie trap music. (Please excuse my sweeping generalizations here) But in the past half-decade or so, with the introduction of producers who take a different perspective on the genre like Om Unit, Danny Scrilla, Alix Perez, Ivy Lab, Fracture, dBridge, Chimpo, and of course, Sam Binga, the scene has seemingly been more receptive to new sounds and beat structures such as the “halftime” sound that these producers push. The relevancy of this emerging blend of styles that range from footwork, drum and bass, halftime “autonomic” beats, dancehall, wonky trap beats, and ragga jungle has risen steadily over the past several years, and its role in the scene has become quite significant. Labels like Critical Music, Exit Records, and Differnt Music have been pushing this sound heavily, with even major established traditionally strict DnB labels like Metalheadz and Hospital Records/Med School exploring the halftime territory.
Bristol’s Sam Binga (formerly Baobinga) is easily one of (if not the most) prominent and influential producers in this class of artists. His sound is extremely well-developed and his production is incredibly clean; constantly introducing new ideas and styles into his ever-changing musical landscape. He churns out legendary releases with alarming frequency, without so much as a single track that comes anywhere close to being what I would consider “filler”. This year alone, even before the whopping 22 track “Wasted Days” LP, he released the “Tek Nuh Chat” EP on Critical, which garnered consistent DJ support all over the world from just about any DJ playing anything from DnB to trap to glitch-hop. His work with vocalists such as Redders and Rider Shafrique is second-to-none; he has an incredible ability to taylor his production and beat structures to the flow of an MC. There really is no one else in the world making music like Sam Binga.
The recently released Wasted Days LP is a truly impressive body of work. In a world of free Soundcloud downloads and 3 track EP’s, full length albums are somewhat of a rarity in the current electronic music realm. Releases in the 20+ track range are almost downright unheard of. Often, when you do find a release of this length, the quality suffers, and you find yourself wondering if maybe the producer should’ve just stuck with the traditional 3-track EP format. This is NOT the case with Wasted Days. With massive collaborations with phenomenal producers such as Om Unit, Hyroglifics, and Deft, and tracks featuring vocalists such as Redders, Slick Don, and Baltimore club queen TT The Artist, as well as some inspirational solo anthems, the release takes you on quite a journey through the mind of Mr. Binga. It comes complete with your fair share of bangers (“Bad Bish”, “Boongooz”, “Steppin VIP”, “Pound 4 Pound”), your vibey think pieces (“Stormy Weather”, “Reclaim”), and some incredibly unique remixes of both tracks on the album and Binga classics (“Ayo (Ivy Lab Remix)”, “Stormy Weather (Danny Scrilla Remix)”, “Tek Nuh Chat (Moresounds Remix)”.
The range that Binga displays throughout this release really represents the future of modern electronic music, and especially embodies the title of this article. It’s clear that Binga gives zero fucks about what anyone thinks about genre definitions or staying within the confines of one style. He draws on elements from all corners of the musical kingdom and blends them together with finesse and class. In my opinion, this approach to production will be the name of the game moving forward into the next phase of electronic music’s history, and “Wasted Days” will likely be upheld as a prime example of genre-less bass music for years to come.
Stream the “Wasted Days” LP here!
Buy the “Wasted Days” LP here!