Low End Activist

Hostile Utopia

Sneaker Social Club • 2022

Utopias are inverted dystopias: what looks like the best possible system of all to some, seems like pure horror to others. This also explains a record title like »Hostile Utopia«, the debut album of producer Low End Activist, also known under the pseudonym Patrick Conway and as the founder of the Sneaker Social Club label. Whereas the one and the other stand for breaky rave sounds, as Low End Activist he commits himself to the bassy, dirty interpretations of UK dance music – grime, dubstep and UK bass are the key inspirations of his sound and thus in places also set the stage for guest MCs on »Hostile Utopia« whose title expresses the artists’ ambivalent relationship with council housing, in which on the one hand the desire for affordable living and multicultural coexistence is realised, but which on the other hand are symbolic images and real breeding grounds of social inequality after decades of austerity policy. The sound is accordingly overcast, sometimes gloomy – grime elements are freed from their euphoric peaks, while echoes of dubstep or jungle are used to create a denser atmosphere rather than aiming for the dance floor. Because Low End Activist is an accomplished producer, he counters this overwhelming air of claustrophobia with a stylistic lightness and openness that makes the overall picture just as ambivalent as it makes the album seem immensely nuanced. It’s a bit reminiscent of Ant Orange’s masterpiece »You’re Super in Diagonal«, except that it comes with about five tons more bass. It’s the kind of music that weighs you down, but that’s the way it is with utopias whose content has been exhausted.