Roni Size Reprazent | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Roni Size Reprazent 

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Most of the attention drum 'n' bass music has garnered since its introduction to the mainstream has been for its assimilation into putrid dabblings by dancing skeletons like David Bowie. The purveyors of drum 'n' bass have been as much to blame for this as the media--most DJs show all the personality of a plain white record sleeve. But when New Forms (Talkin' Loud/Mercury), the double-CD debut by Roni Size's group, Reprazent, took England's prestigious Mercury Music Prize last year, drum 'n' bass finally found a messenger whose appeal went beyond nightclub walls. Without compromising the raw essence of the music, this Bristol collective impressively expanded its scope: four DJ-programmers (Roni Size, Die, Suv, and Krust), several vocalists, and a human drummer and bassist deliver a real live thump to the gut. The complex, rapid-fire programmed rhythms and fluttering low tones of hard-core jungle are ever present, but they're overlaid with rubbery bass lines, funky drums, jazz-diva vocals, and even a rap by Philly's Bahamadia, all of which nod to the genre's roots in reggae and hip-hop. Reprazent puts on a bona fide live show, not a mere parade of hooded DJs; but a couple of superb British jump-up DJs--Jumping Jack Frost and Bryan Gee--will kick off the group's Chicago debut. Saturday, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Perou.


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