Niyi - Jungle Fever (Holloway Hit Factory)

Laura Bruneau | Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Niyi - Jungle Fever (Holloway Hit Factory)

Bizarrely enough, despite the title of Niyi's EP, the title song is neither the lead track nor the most featured, so it seems strange that it should adopt this moniker. Potentially due to the popularity of the Stevie Wonder song and Spike Lee movie of the same name, it's certainly not due to genre, as jungle is left far behind in favour of the shinier feel of urban-techno.

Minimalist, almost to the point of bare, it is hard to tell if the simplicity of 'Dirty Dirty Girl' works as a strength or to its detriment. Using crisply defined layers, Niyi creates a mille feuille composition, easily dissectible, using focussed power to engage the listener.

'Bump Back', on the other hand, sounds dirtier due to the use of distorted drones in the background, alongside less well defined noises, creating more fluidity whilst sacrificing clarity. Squelchy, sticking sounds contribute to the brooding, sexually confrontational undertones of the track as a whole. Sporadic crescendos mirror rising tensions between potential partners engaging in the modern mating rituals of our time.

Rejecting the trappings of 'modern living' Niyi's title track, 'Jungle Fever', suggests an urge to return to a simpler set of values that are connected to an essentially primal idea of necessity. Drawing in the 'non-believers', an acceptance of this simplicity translates into having 'Jungle Fever'. Thumping bass and percussive constructions in the track reflect the essentialism of these themes as they take the place of heartbeat and inner urges.

Niyi's first remix of 'Bump Back' adds little, if anything, to the original. However, the second remix transposes the tone up an octave or two and transforms the whole feel of the track from almost threatening, to a much lighter, dubstep and laser fed tune. Finally, the acapella version that closes the EP contrasts phenomenally with the others and creates a strikingly haunting pointed remix that adds volumes by taking so much away.

Overall, whilst lyrically weak, this EP from Niyi manages to strive for some interesting experimentation with repetition and variation and, whilst clearly sticking on a pre-defined route, stretches its self-imposed boundaries to see how far it can expand a limited musical space with interestingly subtle results in terms of alteration and response.

Rating: 3.5/5