UK’s breakthrough artist Hamdi releases an eclectic and electrifying ‘Skanka: Deluxe’ package of his smash single on Bassrush Records, including fresh takes from Kayzo, sumthin sumthin, Nikki Nair, as well as his very own VIP.
Hamdi captured lightning in a bottle when the Oxford-based producer shook the foundation of the bass scene with his self-released single “Skanka” at the tail-end of 2021. Fusing an ear-infesting Portuguese vocal hook and Baile funk influences with a deep, raw dubstep groove, the track cemented itself in the genre’s canon after becoming nominated ‘Best Track’ by DJ Mag’s Best of British Awards 2022, as well as runner-up in the same category in the Duploc Dubstep Awards.
The “Skanka (VIP)” doubled down on the wobbly nature of the track’s lead and enjoyed its own ubiquitous moment on the dancefloor. Between the original the VIP, “Skanka” has proved itself a staple in the sets of tastemakers across the board, including Skrillex, Fred Again…, Porter Robinson, Knife Party, John Summit, Subtronics, Skream, NGHTMRE, TroyBoi, SLANDER, Louis The Child, Zeds Dead, Malaa and the list goes on.
Hamdi breaks down the construction of the single: “I’d been really inspired by Brazilian music for quite some time and have always loved the sound of Portuguese vocals. I loved how artists such as Vhoor incorporated Portuguese vocals into their harder hitting beats, and it made me think that Baile style vocals would work well in dubstep. That’s how Skanka was born!”
“Skanka” is slated to implant itself even deeper into the cultural zeitgeist, with three new additions now being bundled together on the official ‘Skanka: Deluxe’ pack landing on the Bassrush Records catalog.
Dance music behemoth Kayzo kicks things off with the affair’s lead single. On his reimagining, the Welcome Records label-boss opts for a wall-rattling four-four drive. The track takes its time to build momentum, allowing the original hook to loop over faint percussive shakers. Once the suspense reaches a boiling point, the piece is flipped sideways with its frenetic drums, skull-cracking one-shots, pitched-down vox, and the relentless low-end distortion powering his anabolic rendition.
“I had always been a huge fan of the original and the VIP and thought it would be fun to kind of go back to my roots with a hard four-on-the-floor version of the song,” says Kayzo. “Having the vocal isolated made it extremely easy to get the idea going. It was really such a fun one to make.”
Changing gears completely, Bassrush veteran sumthin sumthin transports the track straight into the swamp of his mind-altering leftfield sensibilities. In true sumthin fashion, his rework doesn’t shortchange on the womps. Echoing fragments of the vocal slowly creep into the picture with a snappy snare roll and clap combo welcoming in a weird and wonky world built around croaking synth sequences, jittering loops, and the kind of low-end filth that can change one’s brain chemistry.
“Honored to be able to put my twist on what is already becoming a timeless classic,” states sumthin sumthin. “I was so surprised when the opportunity came to remix this absolute hit of a song. I knew I had to tweak the original to something that felt like mine, slowed the tempo yet kept the simplicity that drives the original track.”
Rounding out the pack is an appearance from sonic shapeshifter Nikki Nair. The southeastern US resident has built a reputation for being a jack-of-all-genres, experimenting with left-of-center techno, breakbeat, disco, jungle, and any sound that piques his interest. With his offering, Nair brings an electro flair into the fold, manipulating the vocal’s pitch endlessly to the point in which it asserts itself in the same category of any instrument.
Beneath the vocal madness is a shifting bedrock of club textures including phaser synths, thumping drum arrangements, truncated kicks, and the trippy retro arpeggiations that seem to cycle through countless iterations throughout the track’s five-minute run. There’s a reason why he’s been championed by a who’s who list of discerning heads such as Four Tet, Ben UFO, Jamie XX, Logic1000, Mount Kimbie, Pearson Sound, A-Trak, Hudson Mohawke, Modeselektor, Om Unit, SHERELLE, Daphni, and Skream.
“I’m very happy to finally release this one,” adds Nikki Nair. “A special thank you to Hamdi and the Bassrush team for making this happen.”
With such an interesting palate of sounds, Hamdi is an artist that is impossible to predict. Over the course of nearly a decade, the UK-based phenom has blessed the underground scene with countless tracks paying homage to the culturally diverse landscape of his stomping grounds, constructing a catalog littered with garage, UK funky, grime, club music, and deep dubstep. It’s only fitting to see him now rope in an equally diverse set of remixers to give his smash single ‘Skanka’ a new lease on life with their own genre-bending authority.
Hamdi’s ‘Skanka: Deluxe’ package is available on all platforms via Bassrush Records.