Seemingly crafting your own niche in a genre is something to be proud of – a feeling known all too well by Bristol wunderkind, Joker. The producer started making tunes at 14, was DJing regularly a year later, was dubstep’s great hope by 18 and has spent the last few years perfecting his own sound, aptly titled “Purple.” Joker, a.k.a. Liam Mclean, describes his spectrum of the scene as ‘gully, space boy, goon music’ – a slang ridden explanation of a style that plays on the sparseness of the beats, the pseudo-jazziness of the keys, the heaviness of the bass, and the crunchiness of the synths. He has solidified his impact on the dubstep scene by consistently kicking out a run of truly impeccable tracks, each one quirkier and funkier than the last.
The most attractive aspect of Joker’s productions are the sexiness of each jam, laden with his trademark ultra-granulated synths, which are so heavily filtered and drenched in texture that they are nearly impossible to resist. His works traditionally exhibit loud beats with hard drums, skilled synth melodies and sharp arrangements – with undertones reaching into the jazz realm.
I was first taken aback by the Bristol boy’s goon appeal when I was introduced to one of his collaborations with his Purple partner-in-grime, Ginz, entitled “Re-Up”. But Joker has been developing his own unique production style since he turned 15. Tastemakers were first cued in on his works by none other than dubstep heavyweight and Tectonic label owner, Pinch.
“His music is bold and forthcoming, bass heavy, intricately melodic, and well-structured. I would say his sound is somewhere between Roll Deep’s productions, Low Deep, the Neptunes, and Super Mario Cart! He is very obviously influenced by computer game music but he still manages to evoke a strong sense of emotion.”
Undoubtedly, Joker’s productions do have a glossed over, video-game vibe to them. His 2010 release of “Tron” clearly backs the comparisons, heavily drenched equally in both bassweight and synth-work – giving the impression of racing down a digitized track in some sort of computerized environment.
At such a young age, it’s hard to believe he has made such an impact on the scene as has. However, his influence is increasing across the entire genre, and his popularity spanning worldwide. The producer is responsible for one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year, his collaboration with Bristol drum and bass champ, TC, known as “It Ain’t Got a Name.”
Another aspect of the artist’s pull is his work’s dance-ability – standing out in a genre that traditionally is asked, “How do you dance to this shit?” Leaving other producers seeming almost flatfooted, Joker meticulously crafts a funky, grimey style that truly has no mercy on the dancefloor. Indisputably, Joker is one of the standout artists in an already over-saturated genre. His creative blend of dubstep, grime, garage, R&B, and funk is relatively unmatched. I suppose this is the basis of the creation of his personalized spectrum of the scene. I’m sure in the near future we will see several attempts to cop his ‘purple’ swag, but no one can do it like the original goony, space boy.- McG