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Stickman: Little Man’s Shoes/Nappy Heads

Following his successful Mindset release, Stickman makes a quick return with his latest single Little Mans Shoes. Out on Pushing Red, home to fellow Mindset regular Synkro among others, it already feels like a step-up in terms of direction and execution. It sounds smoother and more coherent than his previous Mindset release, which jerked erratically through structure and timbre. There’s still plenty of impact and character embedded throughout, however, and the tracks exert rapid-fire bursts of sharp intensity.

What feels different this time around is the increase in movement. A-side Little Man’s Shoes bombards the senses with sharp frenetic bursts of percussion and hard-nosed synth stabs, cold and crisp. There’s plenty of weight to be found elsewhere, too, the spiky atmospherics given coherent structure by the sub. Little Man’s Shoes is brimming with ideas and a high-octane pressure, but is still overshadowed by the release’s B-side.

Nappy Heads feels like the crescendo of Stickman’s material thus far. Combining acidic synth-work with scatty, warped vocal samples and the same endlessly agile, inventive percussion, it sounds like the embodiment of a basement rave descending a downward spiral. With a simple hook laid over the top, it’s the most infectious track the producer’s put out yet. What’s interesting about the track and Stickman’s work on the whole is how claustrophobic it feels and yet how it also overflows with constant activity, the textures making up a dense wall that requires significant scrutiny. It’ll be very interesting to see what he does next.