It should come as little surprise that Durham dance producer and DJ [GRRL] was among the North Carolina representatives at the ever-expanding South By Southwest music festival in Austin earlier this month. That's for a few reasons.
First, look at the growing number of listens and followers on their Soundcloud
following the release of last year's impressive Shards
EP. Then consider the wide, ambitious net that the beatsmith is casting: in a given week, the “curator-turned-DJ” can be found on such disparate platforms as the Party Illegal series in downtown Durham
as well as online British creative collective NTS, DJing an international radio show.
But most importantly, listen to the music itself, which is as bold and daring as its creator is prolific. The latest release from [GRRL], the romping “Keep It Going,” is audible proof that the artist’s local, global, and digital marketing savvy hasn’t edged out actual music-making quality—and the results are some of the best sounds the Triangle has to offer.
Perhaps in an effort to avoid a common pitfall of the usual dance banger, which despite being catchy and energetic can still feel sterile and placeless, [GRRL] immediately grounds “Keep It Going” somewhere tangible: a tropical rainforest. Birds issue competing calls across an otherwise quiet jungle, while a drum beats in the background. An ethereal, fluttering voice joins and builds until the arrival of the song’s first climax, a modified sample of the popular meme in which a high-schooler yells: “Everybody say sausage, keep it goin’!”
The once-peaceful rainforest suddenly explodes into a cacophony of color and celebration.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; the sounds in “Keep It Going” might be worth a thousand pictures. The whole thing is a bombastic parade, complete with outrageous costumes, giant drums, soaring horns, frenzied shouts, and even a jewel-adorned elephant or two. If Major Lazer stripped away the Justin Bieber and 2 Chainz features to reveal the raw street festival emotion beneath their best songs, “Keep It Going” might be the result.
Listeners may be tempted to wonder what a vocal feature could possibly contribute to the affair, but this is a procession. There's no need.