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With an eclectic array of influences behind the musical output of Manchester’s Diligent Fingers, it’s no wonder that the music on Dili’s Spynal Records have run an unpredictable gamut. Once simply a vehicle to get his music out into the wild, it has been reinvented as a full-fledged record label that serves as Dili’s primary platform on which to present his distinctly disjointed musical vision. “Open Up/Soul Food” is Spynal’s fifth release of 2021, and sees the label boss serving up a pair of drum-n-bass tunes as different from each other as they are delectable.
“Open Up” is an A-Side that is both ominous and light hearted. The almost finger-snappy snare drives a very sparse stepper beat, simultaneously underpinning and clashing deliciously with bass and synth stabs that feel dystopian, and somehow subterranean. The result is a highly danceable and a bit paranoid.
The catchiness teeters on chaos, but the restraint of the beat keeps it deceptively groovy. For “Soul Food, Dili teams up with regular collaborators Shadre and Salvage for a B-Side that takes an almost opposite stance. While the A-Side combined spritely restraint in the drums underneath a canopy of pessimism, the flip takes a more layered, frenetic approach to the percussion. In the meantime, the stand-up bass, horns, and layers of both harmonized and lead vocal samples, make it feel like the angels of the apocalypse are upon us, and they’re a groovy soul band with matching outfits.
The real win of Dili’s latest double header is that both tunes can be successfully mixed into sets of nearly any style. While “Open Up” will clearly find favor with DJ’s who like to deliver more aggression in their sets, the airy percussion makes it a nice palette cleanser for liquid DJ’s who want to shake things up a bit. “Soul Food” has a funky-yet-entropic vibe that nestles nicely into liquid sets, but would be a great option for any DJ who wants to give the crowd a rest before descending back into the darkness. Ultimately, this multifaceted approach to music is part of what makes Diligent Fingers so formidable as an artist. He has a style, a vibe, and a genre for any occasion, and Spynal Records is proving to be an effective manifestation of that ethos.