Ellis Meade

All I Can Do
Room2 Records

Room2 Records is an exceptional platform for Manchester talent at the moment and the short mixtape format suits the cause well, with producers and MCs writing and releasing at an impressive rate to keep things fresh. The All I Can Do LP marks the first real album and every one of its 20 tracks offers something different enough to go the distance.

Ellis Meade has guested with just about every other artist worth hearing in Manchester’s inclusive hip hop scene, but sets himself apart with this release, choosing to bask in the limelight with fewer collaborations. That’s not to say that he’s alone for long, with welcome appearances from label mate Sparkz, Mattic, Rex Domino and Laura White, amongst others.

Starting with ‘All I Can Do’, Meade joins a host of rappers who start classic records with a personal manifesto and the journey doesn’t let up from there. Meade also takes the mantle of producer for the majority of the tracks and showcases an impressive variety of beats, from the mellow spaced out keys of ‘Manchester’ to the Fruity Loop minimalism of ‘Jack-Ups’. On the whole, the album is a much more laid back and considered affair than other releases, and denotes a musical maturity missing from the playful onstage persona of his peers.

It’s a fascinating time for Manchester hip hop with many MCs successfully transitioning onto tape from hosting parties and club nights. With this release, Ellis Meade sets the bar even higher, foregoing hedonism for realism and challenging others to do the same.

Nathan McIlroy

Background image: Battlepipes by Vincent James.


The Curved Line
Drut Recordings

Kel McKeown, or Kelpe as he’s known to me and you, comes back onto the scene with his fifth album, The Curved Line, and it’s a treat.

The album shifts through a complex mix of ambient sounds, hip hop beats, synth and the occasional flash of techno. It is at one point club-ready and at the other positioned at the very left of leftfield electronic music, but despite these shifts in tone, the album remains a definite whole, refusing to fragment into a series of standalone moments.

This ability to seamlessly shift from sound to sound bears a great likeness to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, with the press release perhaps best describing the album’s exploratory nature as “a mature soundworld full of glowing club experiments”.

‘Glowing’ is the word I’d choose to pick up on here. Even though the album does occasionally throw out a jagged edge, the album is grounded by a warm, ambient glow that permeates through each track and ensures that every one of these ‘club experiments’ doesn’t stray too far from the nest.

It’s very much electronic music for the Guardian readers out there. It’s intellectual and unwilling to provide the cheap thrills that so many radio stations deem necessary of electronic music to be broadcast over their frequencies, but it’s also entertaining, infectious and a great testament to Mr McKeown’s skills as a producer that he’s still creating tracks this good on album number five.

David Ewing


It Could Pour Flames EP
Golden Egg

It Could Pour Flames is an EP from the Manchester-based rapper and purveyor of spoken word flows, Seymour. He is also the founder, host and manager of Golden Egg, a hip hop collective and night that runs regularly in Manchester, showing a love for the music that shines through in his tunes.

The first and last tracks of the EP – the title track and ‘Small Clumsy Letters’ – are the clear winners. Seymour’s style works better over a beat that feels as relaxed as his flow often is. His lyrics are good throughout though, whether they’re giving us an insight into the relationship the EP is dedicated to or taking shots at aspects of modern society.

From the DIY collective ethic to the go-hard flows, Seymour is exactly what I look for in an up-and-coming performer. There’s the seed of something interesting here and some clear talent. Definitely give this one a listen.

Jacob Ormrod