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  • David Bentley

Non-Nordic Sunday: Dirty Freud – Blood Bayou (single from forthcoming EP)

I’ve encountered Dee (Dirty) Freud, before, in the electronic garage/dub duo and Massive Attack-inspired Indus Traps with Lou Barnell. A quick glance at their FB page tells me nothing has been posted for a year. I hope they are still going; their combination of pulsing electronica and lively, almost gymnastic, interpretive stage act by Barnell (who has the sort of legs that Jack Grealish would be envious of) was winning plenty of fans.

Dirty Freud, “the unruly Prince of electronica” as he has been dubbed (pardon the pun), is definitely still going. Sheffield-born but having lived in London for a while he has now apparently moved back north and is picking up plenty of radio airplay around the country. Apart from his writing work – he already has one EP under his belt (‘Boxing with God’) – he is a notable re-mixer having worked with members of The Prodigy, Pixie Lott and Iggy Pop, and an award-winning DJ.

This year he’s back in the studio - well there’s nowhere else to go – preparing a new EP, ‘Love in the Backwater’. The EP was finalised in lockdown and walks a tightrope between lockdown claustrophobia and the euphoria of club escapism. While the title track concerns surviving the pandemic, ‘Blood Bayou’ is more personal, detailing a bitter break up. He says, “This is talking about how love is never clean and is often messy with casualties. Yet it can be full of interesting things as a Bayou swamp can be...”

The last time I met Dee Freud, at Manchester’s Night and Day three years ago, I said I thought that his music needed more instrumentation. At the time he was working off one electronic gizmo and it seemed to me to limit his expressiveness.

No such problems here. Plenty of interesting sounds, a memorable tune, and a distinctive Turkish or Middle Eastern feel to it though I don’t think they have many bayous out there.

I wondered if it was Lou Barnell providing vocals but apparently it is Ruby Tingle. She also does the siren-like whistle at the beginning. If I read her FB page correctly this track at least is a collaboration with Dirty Freud rather than her just being the singer. Perhaps more will follow; I hope so.

I have a feeling that with this forthcoming EP Dirty Freud may be about to attract considerably more mainstream recognition.

The track stands in some contrast to the sort of music we usually feature. While I’m sure there are outlets for this sort of experimental ‘electrodub’ in the Nordic countries we don’t come across many of them.

The EP ‘Love in the Backwater’ is set for release on Modern Sky UK, this winter

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