Proc Fiskal – Insula (4 stars)

Proc Fiskal – Insula

Melodic grime from the Edinburgh-based producer

'I think I probably make tunes to get out emotions I don't express in day-to-day life,' Joe Powers aka Proc Fiskal has noted about his debut album. 'I used clips of my friends talking, drunk folk, and general Scottish life to preserve and represent what my experience is like right now.' It's a theme that seeps all the way through Insula, in the asymmetric rhythms of lead single 'Dish Washing' or mechanical melody of 'Dopamine', as it builds into a richly textured instrumental. Bolstered by heavy synths, thick basslines and smatterings of skittish percussion, Powers' debut is very much a record in sync with its environment, with surreal yet familiar voices, sounds, samples and edits forming the basis of his productions.

'Hoax Nos Trinit' has a weird and wonderful atmosphere, busy with ideas from start to finish, as does 'Vaudeville', with its restless rhythms balancing over more dulcet, warm synths. 'Future Headache' takes the record to more breezy territory as delicate chimes rest behind muffled chatter and mundane conversation. Elsewhere, the influence of video games, and their associated soundtracks, is undeniable, with tracks like 'Apple Juice' and 'Kontinuance' providing waves of futuristic sci-fi grime landscapes, while 'Evil Spirits' lends the album the short, snappy melodies of a classic game.

As a newer member of the Hyperdub family, Proc Fiskal has had no trouble finding a home at the legendary UK label for his fast, frenzied, 160bpm-driven take on grime. With his debut, Powers has stayed true to Hyperdub's affinity for forward-thinking production and experimentation, releasing a record that remains within the realm of grime as we know it but with added personality and melodic idiosyncrasies. Having released his debut EP 'The Highland Mob' just last year, the Edinburgh-based producer may be considered a newcomer to many, but Insula would certainly make you think otherwise.

Out Fri 8 Jun on Hyperdub.