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Record Review


British producer Rennie Pilgrem is old school nu-skool; along with DJs Adam Freeland and Tayo, he defined and coined the "nu-skool" genre of breakbeat music, which stepped back from the filthy drum 'n' bass breaks overrunning Britain for a sound tempered at a more moderate BPM and forged with techno's efficiency. Since his coming up and of age in the early '90s 'ardkore scene, Pilgrem has far more awards than your average breaks DJ, as well as more releases. And on his upcoming album, Pilgremage, he also has more elements than your average breaks album.

For Pilgremage, Pilgrem packs in every imaginable genre hallmark: tenor sax and classical measure, fuzz guitar and funk bass, the kitchen sink and the horse he rode in on. Giddy synths coast above and duck between darting basslines. "Sanctified" is a growling brawler of a track, with gritty riffs, cascading squalls and possessed vocals. "Gladiator" rolls on crusty, yawning basslines, both strangulated and reinforced by filters. "Coming Up for Air," featuring vocalist Sarah Whittaker-Gilby, is one of those sultry, post-trance big room tracks perfectly geared for the U4IA-seeking set. Bulbous "Fuego 2," produced with Uberzone, has that acidic elasticity, while "Celeb," featuring MC Chickaboo, goes for grimy street cred. A trio of other tracks twitches and twinkles.

Groundbreaking? No. Ground shaking? Sure. All roads lead to Pilgremage as Mecca for breakbeat fans.

Rennie Pilgrem DJs at eleven50 Thurs., Aug. 26, 9 p.m. $10.

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