Debut release for The Fear Ratio's Mark Broom and James Ruskin under their 'Deadhand' alias, which proceeds on a strictly experimental hip-hop tip, accompanied as they are here by 4 x world scratch champion DJ Prime Cuts (of The Scratch Perverts) and illbient rap legend Sensational, who brings his characteristic broken charm to the EP's itchy, spartan production vibes: "Step into my office, now we sparkin' it... I spit the isms in yer ear... you better recognise it's raw shit from orbit."
This pairing with Sens makes total sense: Distinct from Mark and James' work as The Fear Ratio, their Deadhand project delivers something closer to 90s illbient in any case: extending the boom-bap era of hip-hop production with elements of hallucinogenic dystopianism, the energy of the EP nevertheless vibes playfully: Given the dispiriting global situation at present, the EP title 'Meanwhile' might simply refer to getting on with things in spite of all the cultural and political misendeavor the era will no doubt be long remembered for. Despite the global health pandemic and the looming spectre of wide-scale environmental collapse, little despair or surrender prevails here, but rather a hankering to attempt a few tripped-out experiments.
Three remixes bring further twists of the screw: A cosmic break flex from ETCH resituates Sensational amidst the magmic glow of Reaktor bass ensembles, while DJ Prime Cuts repurposes 7" soul gold by way of a more 'traditional' SP1200 approach. 90s trip-hop pioneer and graffiti legend REQ steps up with all the painterly flair he is rightly renowned for, obliterating the Monster Orchestra's classic 'I Can't Stop' stab towards a double dose of galactic melancholia.