UK producer Dexplicit released his new EP Digital Monk E.M.M.A.'s Pastel Prism label two weeks ago. The producer has had his hands on some of grime’s biggest tunes such as the fuck you to the old white system Lethal Bizzle’s “Pow! (Forward Riddim)” (if it was banned, it’s got to be big) or Chip’s “Link Up Season” in addition to blends of garage, house, bassline and chopped, four-on-the-floor explorations like “Might Be” with Gemma Fox.
Entering 2020, grime has gone global and mainstream and the music landscape is shifting with the ferocity of quicksand, sucking under even the best. Dexplicit is still here putting out music, but he has shifted a bit with the times on his new project Digital Monk. It is inspired by video games and movie soundtrakcs of various types that helped shape the sound and feel of the project.
Colorful and bright, Digital Monk brings you to a distant cosmic world away from the bullshit we have to deal with now.
To go deeper into this, we asked Dexplicit to explain further the EP and the various video game and movie influences behind each track in a new Extended Cut feature.
Pick up a copy of the project and stream it as you read. He takes it over from here.
“The Digital Monk EP is inspired by the feeling of some of my favorite video game and movie soundtracks of the 80's and 90's. Some of my absolute greatest melodies ever come from that era of game music and I can still hum them to you on the spot like I was playing these games yesterday.
1. Digital Monk:
While making the “Digital Monk” track I didn't have any particular game themes in my head at the time. It was more about making something that brought me back to how I felt while playing the games of that era. But it's interesting listening back to it because I can hear influences from particular games coming out. I can hear elements of Sonic The Hedgehog's "Marble Zone" (1991), and the boss theme.
I must've heard these tracks thousands of times over so it's no surprise they're still rattling around in my head. That boss theme was so powerful! When it kicked in you just knew you knew it was time to get serious!
I can also hear influences from some of the other games of that time, like Alex the Kidd theme song (1986), the Streets of Rage soundtrack and also Streetfighter II. These games contain some of my greatest melodies of all time.
The intro to “Digital Monk” leans more towards a more modern era and one of my all time favorite composers Nubuo Uematsu. I've always been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. His song “Liberi Fatali” in Final Fantasy VIII puts my emotions on Gasmode 6.
“Bohemian” is inspired by the TV shows and films from the 80s. The shaky synths on the intro give it a wobbly VHS tape vibe – and I put the big bass shots in there to bring it back into my world. But I made them swing melodically like the RnB basslines of the 90s. For me the balance of light on dark worked well for this track. It’s kind of smooth and dirty at the same time.
3. Millennial Rhapsody
“Millennial Rhapsody” is also inspired by the feel of 80's movies and shows. Neon lit disco scenes from movies and shows rather than video games. I took influence from shows like Miami Vice, which I've never actually watched before but love some of the music from it; and some of the fast paced moods of action movies like Terminator, Robocop and Short Circuit were definitely influences drawn on too. I listen back and hear these influences because these are some of the films I enjoyed watching over and over again growing up. The soundtracks to these films and others like them have definitely shaped how that decade sounds in my mind.
“Aerospace” was made during the lockdown and reflects some of the emotions I felt during that period. It's definitely the more solemn number on the EP. For me it represents a kind of exploration into the abyss. While making it I had no idea where the song would go. I just kept exploring; trying things, and reached that destination, like an open world game with lots of unknown territory. Listening back, I can hear a kind of vulnerability and openness that makes me think of games like Shadow of The Colossus or Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Special shout to E.M.M.A. She told me to make an EP experimenting with synths. The Digital Monk EP was the result. Will definitely do more on this vibe. I have so many more ideas on this vibe I'd like to explore now.