What They Say:
‘Beats, Treats & All Things Unique’ is the debut album by fast rising star Benji Boko. An innovative, energetic DJ and producer, Benji Boko is the boy from Brighton with the big hair and the split personality (…his alter-ego is a hyperactive purple monkey…) whose larger-than-life DJ presence and amazing mixing skills are matched by his creative prowess as a producer and beat-maker. Boko’s musical spark was initially ignited by the eclectic selection of records to be found in the second-hand shops and flea markets of his home city; this appetite for all types of music is combined with an appreciation and talent for sound and sample manipulation, and a habit of sliding into highly visualised forays of imagination. His fresh, melodic, slightly twisted hip hop-infused pop is as much influenced by Beardyman, DJ Yoda, Fatboy Slim and The Neptunes as it is by cartoons, Peter Sellers, Monty Python and fairytales.
The album explores a wide spectrum of influences, and yields an equally diverse selection of sounds; from the deep, evocative beat of the single which is complemented by Maxi Jazz’s inimitable soul-felt vocals, through the hypnotic instrumental track, ‘Glider’. Then at the other extreme – more in line with the relentless energy of his DJ set – is ‘No. 1 Sound’, which has a really ‘live’ vibe, as Ricky Rankin freestyled the whole thing. Dotted around the album are a host of little skits, each with its own charm, including ‘I Had A Dream (Mini Obama)’, inspired by a fortune-telling vinyl record found in a charity shop.
What We Say:
With its Tru Thoughts credentials, this was never going to be a disappointing album, but even we were surprised at how much we actually enjoyed the whole listening experience. Mr Boko has made a well-balanced, soulful, danceable and even humorous record, and he has managed to do it using a wide variety styles, ideas and singers (collaborators include Maxi Jazz and Ricky Rankin). Even the ‘skits’, or interludes (see the video for ‘Mini Obama’ here), which can ruin a perferctly good album if executed poorly, really add to the whole experience. The big beats bring back thoughts of label-mates Wild Cookie, and the soulfulness reminds us of the recently-released ‘Lumberjack Soul‘ from Miles Bonny, but this is definitely an LP with Benji Boko’s name stamped all over it. With the first single, ‘Where My Heart Is‘, already getting some serious attention, this debut album looks like the start of a very promising career for the big-haired Brighton boy. ‘Beats, Treats & All Things Unique’ is released on 20th June on Tru Thoughts Records.
Listen / Buy Here:
Listen to ‘Glider’ by Benji Boko
Listen to ‘Where The Heart Is feat. Maxi Jazz’ by Benji Boko