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Raf Riley: Get Familiar

December 28th, 2011 | by DeeKay

Raf Riley is crazy. In a musical sense (and only in the best possible way) this hot new producer from North London, signed to Labrinth‘s Odd Child imprint, is substantially off-kilter. Given that his superstar artist/producer label boss inserted an operatic monk choir into his already groundbreaking most recent single (released on a record label famed for playing it safe) on the strength of a dare, a willingness to push the boundaries of sound is clearly an essential trait over at Odd Child. With that kind of remit for eclectic insanity, Riley’s incredible cross-genre production sounds right at home in the house that Lab built.

To date, Riley is perhaps best known for his production on Atlantic Records signed UK rapper Mz Bratt‘s most recent single, high-energy club rollercoaster “Tear It All Down”. It’s glitchy and loud, full of horns and blasts and more importantly, immediately urgent, attention-grabbing and ear-catching. It’s all over the place in a good way, and a great example of Riley’s sound and style of production.

LISTEN: Raf Riley – Dog Unit (Part II)

Prior to that, he caught people’s attention with “Dog Unit” and its Dubstep-influenced follow-up, a pair of monster instrumentals notable for their musicality and pushing sonic boundaries. Much like Labrinth, Riley is also clearly influenced by video games – glitchy sounds from 1990s consoles are prevalent throughout his music. Also like his label boss, Riley is just as capable of toning it down and crafting more subtle, dare-I-say conventional tracks, as demonstrated by his stellar work with fellow Odd Child artist Etta Bond. The pair have worked together on a handful of good tracks, the highlight of which, “Ask Me To Stay”, combines Dubstep with slinky and spacey future-R&B by way of ravey synth chords. It’s simultaneously forward-thinking and very mainstream friendly without being a cynical cash-in riding on the Dubstep wave.

LISTEN: Etta Bond – Ask Me To Stay

Riley is clearly a substantial talent with a penchant for wacky and wild production, working within a camp who seem committed to encouraging his originality and artistic expression. Whilst Labrinth is a clear reference point, his material isn’t entirely dissimilar to music by the likes of Hudson Mohawke or Flying Lotus, both of whom have enjoyed highly successful runs recently. His ability to produce club ready, speaker-shattering bangers alongside more atmospheric, classy and understated beats look set to make Raf Riley one of the most in-demand producers of 2012.  The dream-team combination of Riley, Etta Bond and Lab are a powerful force whom I’d fully expect to dominate the UK music scene and beyond over the next few years.


  1. […] Get Familiar worthy sound wizard Raf Riley (one half of the SoulCulture 13 For 13 tipped ExR alongside Etta Bond) dropped of some free goodness in the form a 5 track high octane instrumental EP titled Now That’s What I Call Gangster Beats. […]

  2. […] the top 3 for me. By now you should have already gotten familiar with producer Raf Riley (if not Get Familiar here), well he has turned his glitchy 8-bit magic wand on the single and the results have just been […]

  3. […] video-game nastiness from the Odd Child camp. This is fresh from producer Raf Riley, who we told you guys to Get Familiar with last year. He’s signed to UK superstar artist/producer Labrinth‘s aforementioned label […]

  4. […] Comments We already told you to Get Familiar with Odd Child representative Raf Riley, if you haven’t paid attention to him yet, here is […]

  5. […] I first talked about 21 year old London producer Raf Riley last summer and since then he’s signed to singer/songwriter Labrinth Odd Child Recordings, produced for Ms Bratt and Etta Bond (watch out for her) and was featured (via me lol) in a recent article by the blog Soul Culture. […]