The growing bulk of instrumental CDs has put on a couple more pounds in the last week and the latest title, 'Nocstrumentals', makes it clear which producer is the latest to tip the scales.
Despite the omissions of In A Corner Remix, Back In A Big Way and Best Music, Nocturnal's CD is a very solid release. The opening My People sets the tone and the OGs' vocal, which will feature on Nocturnal's debut album 'The Sleepless Knight', suggests a union with further promise.
OGs - My People (Radio Rip)
Davinche's 'Dirty Canvas: The Legacy' still stands imperious above the rest, yet the Nocstrumentals hold their own against the fair height of D.O.K's 'Document' and Low Deep's 'The Instrumentals'. Despite a nod to Ripperman's Rubble on Bun Man, and an even bigger nod to Maniac's Star In Da Making Remix on Who You Talking To?, Nocstrumentals is a bold collection which is tied by the producer's signature sound; a unity that is so strongly adhered to that it lacks the versatility of Dot's 'Rotten Riddims' or the variety of Terror Danjah's 'Zip Files'.
The Nocstrumentals' ties to the present is its main advantage over the rest. Dot's, D.O.K's and Terror's releases came out of nowhere and, while digital releases of Bassline Massacre, Big Bang and Frontline Remix gave a retrospective satisfaction, Nocturnal's CD sees the light of day as he continues to ride his rising wave of progress and standing within the scene; a journey that was jump-started when Ghetts was Ghetto, spitting in front of admirable double-glazing.
Ghetto Over Nocturnal's Back In A Big Way - Risky Roadz Clip
Furthermore, the recent Wiley/Goodz and Rinse/Jeeday Jawz spats, as well as Goodz's 'Ultrasound' release, have provided additional promotion and current clout: Rinse's reply to Jeeday was over Stop, and Panties, Bras, Coke and Cameras on Don't Phone Me; a beat which has been repeatedly spun by Logan Sama over the last three months, and the vocal of the same name, featuring Ghetto and Griminal, is currently receiving wide airplay.
In this context, the instrumental CD is changing. 'Tinchy Stryder Vs Maniac' had an innovative concept, ushering forward the producer and promoting recent beats. Swindle's forthcoming instrumental CD should do the same, highlighting a trend of looking forwards as opposed to trawling the archives. The next Rotten Riddims should also have recent beats, yet the unique slinging-out of six, rapid-fire installments, complete with standard filler, goes against the final, polished products of Zip Files, Document and Nocstrumentals.
Now, it's almost obligatory for upcoming MCs to release a mixtape to prove themselves and their credentials. But, in a few years, will the same emphasis by placed on the producer? Probably not quite, but now a firm precedent has been established for instrumental releases. Just as well really, because I really enjoy these CDs.