''Sitting somewhere between Balam Acab and Clams Casino, the first taster from 808INK is brilliant.'' Noisey
808INK formed when producer and artist 808Charmer, whose drumming talents have also seen him share the stage with acts such as MIA, Chiddy Bang and Tinie Tempah, spotted Mumblez Black Ink rapping over a hip-hop instrumental in a video shoot. Since then, their collaborations have organically grown from a project in their garage to a multi-instrumental and visual collective with the inclusion of Creative Director Pure Anubi$, who, together with Mumblez Black Ink, forms the art collective 'Black Anubi$'. Currently focused on the female form and the expression and mutation of sexuality via glitch art, the collective merged these artistic concepts together with 808INK to help inspire and develop the album themes.
The video to ‘Vacuum Love’ marks the second of a three-part video series that accompanies the album and beautifully embodies their experimental and glitchy aesthetic, using “glitch art to flip what is in reality into Dreality''. The release, a self-confessed ''alternative hip-hop collage'', carries on the 'Dreality' themes from a visual platform to audio using the videos to translate the still artwork into moving visuals.
'Dreality’, defined as a state of surreal existence, is encapsulated in the strange aesthetic of the video described as "a visual representation of a dreamscape. Within the dreamscape there are three different layers: the luxury, the meadow and the madness", explains the group.
The music is a mature foray into experimental and unconventional beat patterns, reminiscent of Clams Casino’s early mixtapes, while the hip-hop beats are laid over ghostly instrumentals creating a dark but clear backdrop for the steady flow diagram of both rappers. Not solely relying on the use of digital software libraries 808Charmer’s visionary production rebels against musical conventions. Pitching, flipping, chopping, screwing samples and live instruments, manipulating field recordings in the same way they glitch, corrupt and warp digital images is not just for coherence of style but the essence of their manifesto.
Influenced by Mumblez' skateboarding accident which forced him to lay his rhymes lying on 808Charmer’s studio floor, the music is a reflection of the range of emotions the rapper went through under prescription drugs. Exploring some of the themes touched on by Frank Ocean's 'Novacane', the collective manages to brush off any Cloud Rap tag - like a conscious SpaceGhostPurrp ‘Wet Canvas’ dark phonk sound creates the perfect introduction to the collective lyricism - while ‘100 Letters’, which features a magnetic repetitive beat and Wynton Marsalis sampled trumpets, describes a poignant modern scenario of ‘computer love' (‘she says she loves the way I type, but even though she’s not my type I continue to write.')
808INK are what London’s underground hip-hop scene has been lacking: a creative collective able to destroy and reconstruct the conventions of any ordinary British hip-hop album, and with two more videos still to come in their audio-visual three-part series, we’re guaranteed to be seeing a lot more of them. With a launch show in the pipeline for the end of the year, staged to incorporate their art and projections with their live performance, they’re set to be a real force to be reckoned with.