In late 2011, Riz signed to Tru Thoughts to put out a first ever CD release of MICroscope - a deluxe edition with new content which sees Riz MC developing his ideas further and raising the bar again. This physical release will introduce the augmented version of the record - with all-new skits created and recorded in collaboration with the mighty Zed Bias, plus a host of A-list remixes to the widest possible audience. Also well-known and highly acclaimed as an actor, Riz Ahmed has starred in award-winning film and TV including Michael Winterbottom s Road to Guantanamo (Berlin Silver Bear), Peter Kosminsky s Britz (BAFTA + RTS winner, Emmy nominated), Dead Set (BAFTA nominated), Shifty (Best Actor at Geneva Film Festival) and Chris Morris critical and commercial hit Four Lions (Winner LAFF Audience Award, Best Debut Feature BAFTA, Nominated Best Actor BIFA). The depth and ambition of Riz MC s lyrics cut across the honed contours of impossible-to-categorize futuristic bass, as easily as they gel with acoustic strings, or pierce dense layers of jazz-electronica. Working mainly with tech-breaks rising star Lazersonic (Zak Frost, Turbo, Eye Industries), and Nmbrs hot shot Redinho, Riz mixes big ideas with big bass. With his haunting singing voice and hypnotic flow; cutting social commentary and wry, laugh out loud punchlines; searching, searing grime and real dancefloor heat, he brings a refreshing and rare diversity of styles. Further singles All Of You and Dark Hearts / All In The Ghetto brought with them acclaimed and innovative promo videos that highlighted Riz s credentials as a cross-platform artist and entertainer. The album is coupled with a groundbreaking live show and online experience. At the live show and online, MICroscope invites you into a realm of secret agencies, sonic warfare and mind control in a battle of bass and beats. The secretive government Department for Culture and Communication (D.O.C.C.) seeks to control the minds of the public with the spread of insidious sonic viruses only the MICroscope resistance, an illegal network with equally secretive methods, stand in their way. You are called on to join the resistance and progres the story with your interactions - both at the live show and the award-winning website, where users can play a unique computer game to unlock free music and a groundbreaking short film, directed by Riz himself.
Given hip hop's topicality moves with such velocity that references in last week's hot record are often superseded come the following Monday, reissuing a record that originally saw the light of day over 12 months previously appears a tad futile. Quite a bit, however, has passed since the original release of London rhymer Riz MC's MICroscope.
In a parallel life, the man also known as Riz Ahmed has further enhanced his silver screen CV in Plan B's gritty flick Ill Manors. More pertinently, the London riots of summer 2011 kicked off. And it's hard to shake a suspicion that had this deluxe incarnation emerged a little sooner after those urban disturbances, Riz MC's fanbase might have expanded along with his vision, in a similar way to how Ill Manors (the single) further endeared the aforementioned Plan B.
The chief carrot for those who already gazed down the viewfinder of MICroscope first time around is a not-inconsiderable batch of remixes. These hand MICroscope over to a genuinely head-turning cast of up-to-the-minute producers, with half the results worth the admission alone.
Sukh Knight's refix of Radar smelts Ahmed's urgently paranoid interjections into a hemmed-in metallic hue somewhere between a Dalek and a medical voicebox. Ducking above waves of skanking reverberations, it reminds listeners where the "dub" in dubstep originated.
Grimy London crew True Tiger turn in wall-cracking bass climaxes that Skrillex probably imagines in his wildest fantasies with Get on It. Hundreds & Thousands bounces off a hip-snapping break from Zed Bias, pitch shifting down menacing, never-more-relevant anti-politician revolt-based vocals.
Later, Night Slugs man Bok Bok drags Dark Hearts deep underground, back a decade to a time when dubstep first crawled out of south London in all its formative minimalist glory. Often, only splinters of lyrics remain in these remixes.
The quandary here, though, is that Ahmed has pulled together a supporting cast with sufficient cutting edge that it comparatively endangers the razorblade impact of his original compositions. But as an exercise in reinvigorating interest in MICroscope, it's the equivalent of setting up a city-sized PA system and cranking it to maximum.
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