Thursday, Jul 27 2006 | 11:57

It’s an old cliché that opposites attract, but one that’s rarely appropriate in the field of music where ‘musical differences’ are more commonly cited as grounds for divorce. It’s all the more surprising then that two such disparate worlds should collide and that the fallout would be an album that wipes the floor with the competition before rubbing their noses in it for good measure.

The Black Grass story is centred on Brighton, where Mex and Carl Faure currently reside. Mex originally hails from Fulham, is 34 and has a deep and abiding love for hip hop and the breaks that fuel it. Mex is a bona fide vinyl junkie – the kind of junkie that doesn’t want help – he’s happiest when he’s at one with his drug of choice. In the mid-nineties he fed his addiction by working in record shops, DJing hip hop and funk breaks at seminal Brighton night ‘Knowledge Of Self’, warming up for the likes of OC, Jurassic 5 and Big L.

Mex soon began compiling breaks albums and battle weapons (including the essential “Ultimate Cakes And Sweets” and the super rare “Kleptomania” series) leading ultimately to his own Black Grass store (getting high on his own supply!) specialising in hip hop, funk and breaks. After releasing singles on local label Catskills as the Mexican (achieving NME single of the week for the classic “Spunky Love Fun”), a chance encounter with young local upstart Carl Faure led to the creation of the first Black Grass album, a reaction to the generic hip hop sound that was becoming all powerful at the time; a combination of Mex’ hip hop grounding and Carl’s youthful exuberance.

Described as a “pantomime of styles” by Mex, the self-titled album was hip hop minded but not hip hop, edgy but not necessarily underground – it joined the dots between the related flavours of hip hop culture – from funk, jazz and soul to party beats, head nodding and high profile guests like Blak Twang, Maylay Sparks and Mango Seed – and garnered critical acclaim on its release in March 2004 on Catskills Records.

Following naturally from the ‘real’ sound of the record, Black Grass then went on the road with a full live sound, culminating in headlining Ashton Court Festival in Bristol, and supporting acts as diverse as De La Soul and Miguel Migs on a recent tour of Australia.

The new album “A Hundred Days In One” sees a return to the source – Carl is now running local club ‘Bleeps’, leaving Mex to complete the tricky follow-up album as a solo artist. Featuring hip hop (with Jehst, Micall Parknsun, Blu Rum 13), soul (Dominique Noirette and Okou), reggae (Jah Marnyah) and everything in between, it’s possibly a more coherent journey; settled, poised and confident – and due for release in the summer of 2006.

Tracklisting:

01. ¡Lucha Contra De La Injusticia!
02. Oh Jah feat. Jah Marnyah
03. Lines Of Defence feat. Jehst
04. Nemesis
05. Don’t Leave Me This Way feat. Dominique Noiret
06. The Floating Wizard
07. Down & Dirty feat. Micall Parknsun
08. So Many Ways feat. Okou
09. Rest Assured feat. Blu Rum 13
10. Don’t Try feat. Maylay Sparks
11. Sweet To Taste feat. Rider Shafique
12. Nobody Knows It’s Sunday

The album Black GrassA Hundred Days In One” (Catskills) is going to be released August 11, 2006.

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