EP Review: Preditah – Blank Canvas Vol. 1

On his new EP Preditah infuses his old sound with new, darker elements, writes

PHOTO: Album artwork

Rating: ★★★★☆

An ever-present force in the scene since grime’s migration to the Midlands in the early 2010s, Preditah has returned with a strong 5-track project to reassert his place in the game. Fresh from producing three songs on Wiley’s top-10 Godfather, the Midlands-based producer and DJ explores a darker sound on Blank Canvas Vol. 1, whilst maintaining the usual soundbites synonymous with a Preditah record.

The EP opens with the unashamedly grimy ‘Touch Road’, with his brother and occasional collaborator C4 lending his vocals to a sparse backing. Light-heartedly weaving in and out of the pockets, “can’t scare dons with your Nike pouch, you’ve got a hair brush your Nike pouch” comically dismisses any potential perpetrators. Meanwhile, ‘Caveman’ makes use of abrasive horns and bold strings to complement the hard-hitting drums, and ‘Goblin’s eerie 2-step vibe proves an even darker turn. Introduced via airy hi-hats dancing over an ominous minor chord, the instrumental eventually breaks out into a bass-driven tune bound to make you skank despite its murky undertone.

By the midpoint of the EP we’ve strayed from Preditah’s typical sound, but the second half serves the purpose of bringing us back to familiar territory. A videogame-esque synth riff forms the foundation for ‘Splinter’, with the trap-infused drums providing a gentle half-time swing.

‘Tango’ sees a return to Preditah’s signature ‘bounce’, offering an instrumental that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on 2011’s Solitaire EP. The beat is propelled by a springy string stab motif with further orchestral samples and synths taking turns to glide around in the back of the mix.

This project is a noticeable step in a darker direction, with robust evidence of progression in terms of production quality. As his first release on his Circles label, this could be a taster of things to come. Overall, it’s a solid effort full of instrumentals that will likely feature regularly on grime sets over the next couple of years.

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