Words by Brinsley Chadavenzi
808INK are a classic duo in that both members elevate each other into something that’s larger than the sum of their individuality. 808INK were clearly in their own space from their song ‘Full English’ from their 2013 project ‘An Artistic Piece’ – with sampled vocals that sound like they’re lifted from James Blake & Bon Iver.
In 2013, the space between experimental electronica and hip hop was wider apart but bridging through forces such as ‘EDM-trap’ and ‘hip-house’ genre hybrids. 808INK had a head start in knowing these sounds would all blur and have a symbiosis. They continue to be apropos as they can execute so many different styles of music, as well as ideas outside of rap without breaking a sweat in cohesion or lyrical ability. It’s a confidence that’s achieved with years of experimentation and sharpening a unique sound. There’s rap as the main vocal delivery – but they’re not necessarily rap artists.
Their culmination of all this results in their 2018 epic – When I’m About, You’ll Know Pt. 2 which has as much bass as it does autotune and synthesiser psychedelia. It’s distinctively colourful music that evokes a restlessness to follow pattern. Their follow Noisy Neighbours leans into the windows created from When I’m About, smoothens them out into atmospheric ingenuity. Aware of contemporary sounds but subverts them.
808INK’s musicianship continues to blossom and expand as their worlds grow. As the real-estate of streaming playlists becomes vital to new discoveries and fanbase building, 808INK doesn’t have to confined to only forms of regional acceptance. They’re definitely a gift to listeners who aren’t too fond of linear ideas of genre and style. 808INK are always looking to bless us with projects that works for them, rather than solely easy consumption.
How many, how many it’s just us? And only 808INK knows how to do 808INK.