The world of U.K. electronic dance music is a dense thicket of sub-genres: dubstep, garage, U.K. funky, Jungle. On her impressive full-length debut, “Playin’ Me,” British DJ/producer Cooly G not only traverses many different styles of dance music with ease but also manages to appeal to casual listeners who wouldn’t know garage from grime.
Cooly G’s music is most often classified under the umbrella of U.K. funky — an Afro-Latin-influenced deep house — but dance music fans of all sorts should be able to find something to drool over here, whether it’s the artfully screechy head trip “Is It Gone” or the twisty, unpredictable rhythm ride of “It’s Serious,” featuring Baltimore house icon Karizma.
Many of Cooly G’s compositions on “Playin’ Me” have a non-watered-down crossover appeal, mostly due to her R&B/soul vocals. “Trying” is the sexiest track in the collection, and that applies whether one’s idea of sexy is throbbing reverb or breathy, hushed female vocals. “Sunshine,” is dominated by drum machine snare, but somehow, with just a few chords and a couple of lines about love and summer sun, the minimal track becomes a winding dance hall tune.
Even more impressive than the compositions that take Cooly G’s brand of dance music to the masses are those that make the opposite trip, such as “Trouble,” a Coldplay cover/remix. Cooly G’s voice follows the song’s original melody, but with some jagged, layered rhythmic work, she manages to take Coldplay to a completely unexpected and wonderful place: the club.
— Sarah Godfrey
“Trying,” Trouble,” It’s Serious”