May 14th sees a welcome return to the production circuit for grime vet Sir Spyro, with 'Round 1' the debut release on new imprint Dragon Punch Records. A fixture on Rinse FM for the last 7 years and acting tour DJ for Tinchy Stryder, Spyro has played a key role in the genre's emergence and remains as hungry as ever to earn further recognition for the sound he loves.
Having recently put out an incredible remix of Bok Bok's club monster 'Silo Pass', which remains very much in demand, Round 1's release could not have come at a better time either. Consisting of four instrumentals and one vocal offering, the overriding quality of the EP is in its polish and refinement.
Although still characteristically raw and hard hitting in part, Spyro demonstrates a real understanding of what is needed to cut it with the best in cutting edge dance music. 'Joseph' in particular is a perfect example of this, seamlessly joining the dots between grime and contemporary 'bass music' in a similar vain to Bok Bok and Silo Pass. 'Shape Up' and 'Transfer Window' are a little more sinister in their delivery with 'Shape Up' particularly rugged but again, both demonstrate an added awareness that elevate Round 1 from good to great.
'Suspect' sees Spyro team up with good friend and one of 2011's biggest success stories, Faze Miyake. Although famed for trademark gritty instrumentals, in keeping with the rest of the EP, Suspect is a smooth, cultured joint with (surpisingly) melancholic undertones, although the signature 'woofs' do make sporadic appearances. Final track 'Get Along Gang' is the acclaimed vocal version of 'Joseph' with Family Tree emcees Merky Ace and Ego joining forces to deliver a proper grimy send off and with it, a reminder of why both Spyro and Family Tree are currently two of the genre's strongest acts.
The verdict? Every bit as good as anything you'll hear this year. Excellent stuff.
Round 1 EP will be released on May 14th on Dragon Punch Records.
2. Shape Up
3. Transfer Window
5. Get Along Gang feat Merky Ace & Ego