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Rinse Presents: A Visual Retrospective

August 22, 2011

Originally posted on The 405

Exhibition

The 405 were fortunate enough to be invited to the private view of Rinse Presents: A Visual Retrospective – The Work Of Shaun Bloodworth & Give Up Art at the Truman Brewery Gallery recently.

The show documents the 17 years of Rinse’s existence, and what a crucial existence it has proved to be in terms of it’s impact on many facets of contemporary music as we know it. It’s underground musical output since 1994, as proved in the timeline at the centre of the exhibition, has seen many changes, genre-births and evolutions; from its existence as a garage-only entity in the very early 00’s, the early days of dubstep when it was a hugely progressive, innovative force, to the rise of funky, grime and ultimate marriage with all of the aforementioned; pop. Look at music today; Miss Dynamite, Magnetic Men et al. This is where it started.

Closely associated with this has been the visual identity of Rinse, now a fully formed licensed radio station after a long campaign during its pirate incumbency. You are probably aware of this style without attempting to become knowledgeable of it, absorbing a synergy of visuals and content through osmosis almost – the way it should be, a natural and honest development.

Shaun Bloodworth, born and raised in Sheffield has been photographing the ‘scene’ for the past decade, and has formed an astute collaboration with designer Stuart Hammersley (of Give Up Art).

Falty DL

An all too common word that is banded about excessively in terms of electronic underground music, though it’s non more true that here; is atmospheric. And this is exactly the aesthetic what Bloodworth nails in many of his images, mirroring that urban, gritty vibe, thick in the ethos of Rinse FM. It’s hard not to pontificate in these well travelled London-after-dark cliches, such is its heavy prevalence coupled with the semiotics of the whole package.

Throughout the years Bloodworth has captured a huge range of bass-driven talent. A quick scan of the exhibition sees your more well known pioneers of dubstep in Skream and Benga, to recent New York players in Falty DL and Kotchy; it also evolves into his more recent work covering the LA underground in the series LA Dope featuring Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and all involved in the seminal club Low End Theory.

The earnest lo-fi community aspect apparent in the imagery bares more fruit than many other photographers in the field and compliments the nature of the artists music, and this is something that Bloodworth has made a point of in regards to the equipment he uses.

The Skream album cover (above) that depicts Skream in the centre of a party is particularly fascinating and seems to encapsulate an era to almost iconic levels. It’s genuinely difficult to tell how posed or documented it really is, which of course adds to the intrigue. The whole exhibition showcases both photographic sides at certain points, from the pure documentation of FWD>> nights and the tower block form which Rinse FM broadcasted from during it’s pirate years, to the staged portrait photography.

Which leads us to the artwork of Hammersley; the artwork for FWD>> night is unmistakable, even if you’re not familiar with Rinse – it’s something that is hard to avoid walking the streets of London. Many Fabric CD’s have featured his stylings also, and a series of record sleeves on Tempa contribute strongly to this visual identity. The uniformity of the package over the course of a decade add to this rich impact and brand.

Just from experiencing the company of the evening, it’s clear the sense of community of the whole affair (also evident in the youth projects run by Rinse. Can you hear this Cabinet?). It’s the kind of place we’d have been happy to have stayed all night; and that’s not purely because of the free rum.

Be sure to check it out (and the respective websites of the chaps as linked in the article); the exhibition runs until August 22nd 2011 at the Old Truman Brewery.

The exhibition coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Rinse’s FWD>> Club night on August 20th, at a (currently) secret location in East London.

Flying Lotus

Gaslamp Killer

FWD>> Night

Pearson Sound

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