Polo Lilli: Broken Beats and Breath Mints


It’s been many years since I last had one of Britain’s favourite breath mints, let alone thought of one. If I had to take a guess, it could well have been on a semi-regular trip to Poundland all those years ago whilst living in the land of pints and Pound Sterling. Needless to say, that was until I came across Bristol boy Max Jones, otherwise known as Polo Lilli.

Like the very many things Bristol, he doesn’t disappoint. Each time something from the southwest comes my way, I wonder what I was doing up so far north and why was I oblivious to what was going on down by the nation’s sunnier shores.

Broken beats, breaks and bass are three of the main elements in his productions, which include a series of flips which are equal parts well produced as they are mad.

To open I need to make something clear – this is the first track involving any notion of Ariane Grande that I’ve ever heard in its entirety – or even listened to through choice, to be more specific. The dark saw synth and the really nice breaks that accompany give the track a nostalgic vibe reminiscent of the feeling I get when hearing Bicep’s Glue. The notion of this very feeling alone goes some way to saying that Polo Lilli has done a great job with his flip. “Another pop masterpiece, misused.”

Get Your Freak On is mad. I didn’t quite know in which direction it was going to go when it started, and thought it might make its way to footwork, but it turned out to be a recipe of broken breaks and a busy setting which make for a really fun flip of Missy’s iconic track. I’m glad there’s an introduction of some well-placed vocal cuts of Ms. Elliot that join forces with that ever-familiar melody (to the tune of the tumbi) to help snap us back to remember the root of what we’re hearing, which is sent off in great fashion at very high energy. Hollaaaa.

Things don’t stop at Ariana and Missy; in similar fashion, Pollo Lilli gets his hands on another female-focus flip. Heading back to an earlier upload, another track that has had the Polo Lilli treatment is one closer to home; the UK classic Spice Girls. Now with added seasoning: rave stabs, hard kicks and heavy bass, topped with snare rolls and intense slicing of the vocal that has Mel C never getting round to telling us what it is she wants, and Ginger Spice never shutting up about it.

In other news, the producer has an upcoming release, Broken City: the aptly-named deconstructed club track that sees snare rolls and synth stabs reminiscent of UK Rave brought forward to a contemporary setting, sitting nicely at 160bpm. The track ties together clear references from various parts of UK electronic scenes; from beats, rhythms and bass wobbles that bring about notions of early dubstep (think 2007/08 Benga), to an accompanying synth similar to something you might have heard coming off the Circus label circa 2010; all before becoming something a little more Jungle, and before heading out in a similar way it came in – Dubby. A very nice nod to the sounds which helped shape the (broad) setting in which his productions sit.

And to send this piece off, I see no better note to finish on than that of Pollo Lilli’s footwork flip of Mystikal’s Shake Ya Ass. Enjoy and get shakin’.