Stockholm-based W-I, or ‘Worldwide International’, have been releasing digital obscurities since late-2014. Founded by Oli XL, the label is well-versed in the kind of bugged-out takes on grime and trap we have seen from labels like PAN and Staycore in recent years. Yet there is also a more tender side to the imprint.
This dichotomy is well explored on their latest EP, ‘Worldwide Recycle Service 02’. There’s a taste of V/Vm to the series; it sees an assortment of artists armed with stems for W-I’s entire catalogue, to do with what they will. This could mean remixing a single track, or it could mean frankensteining components from several works. For this edition, Oli XL contributes a track alongside Celyn June, N1L & Kablam.
Throughout the release there is a heavily sedated atmosphere. Take Kablam’s ‘Mouthing (Recycled)’, pitting acid-washed synth textures against barrages of jagged-edged percussion, high-sheen vocals rupturing through the mist like a summer blaze through the trees. N1L’s ‘Sub-Zero’ deploys similar tactics, anime-style dulcet tones and tight reverberation building to a subatomic drop, as thudding kicks and aqueous bass textures explore cavernous settings.
Then there is Celyn June’s offering, ‘Drivers’, calling to mind the stoner ambient of Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music LP from earlier this year. Faded orchestral timbres and quayside sound-design work together cautiously. The offering could soundtrack a dream sequence in one of the early seasons of The Sopranos; spaced-out and unsettled, yet there are signs of familiar settings in the backdrop (I’m thinking of the one where Tony gets diarrhoea and talks to a fish).
Oli XL seeks to shake things up as the EP comes to a close. ‘Rogue Idiot Pt.2’ is a vicious, stripped back rhythmic exertion, stuttered kicks and diced up vocals showing something in common with footwork’s approach to production as much as anything else. As the track comes to a close it begins to stumble over itself, staggering to a discordant close, Radiophonic Workshop style.