London producer Mr. Mitch reveals grime’s tender side on Devout | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

London producer Mr. Mitch reveals grime’s tender side on Devout 

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click to enlarge Mr. Mitch

Mr. Mitch

Piotr Niepsu

Grime—the phenomenon that borrows its hard edges from jungle and UK garage and has the baddest MCs rap over them—exudes an alluring nastiness right down to its name, which suggests the culture proliferated in dank corners far from sunlight. Still, in recent years Britain’s pop charts have taken a shine to the sound. Amid all of this is London producer Miles Mitchell, better known as Mr. Mitch, who runs the underground label Gobstopper and cofounded an experimental-grime night called Boxed. His second album, April’s Devout (Planet Mu), is built on grime’s combative pulse but so atmospheric that it’s stripped of its frisson; all the same, the results can remain tense and intense even when the most noticeable sound is that of a hovering synth note slowly dissolving. Mitchell’s biggest inspirations for Devout were his two children, and that’s reflected in his tender touch and softened approach. And while he employs singers with supple voices to butter everything up, often it’s Mitchell himself who delivers the goods—on “My Life,” when he sweetly intones the words “It’s yours” over a plinking melody, the tone of his gentle half-singing can turn your guts to jelly as effectively as any ten-ton percussive attack.   v

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