With 3rd Culture, Pitch 92 has curated a project that’s as much an engaging listen as it is effectively a show-reel of some of the UK’s best talent. Building on the momentum he gathered with debut EP Lost in Space, Pitch 92 extends his versatility with this body of work that see’s him draw top dollar performances from each name on the impressive list of collaborating artists. Across the seventeen tracks span various moods and atmospheres, all created imaginatively and lay down seductive foundations for their featuring artists to express themselves accordingly and thus some special moments have been captured.
Following the serene Start It Off, Pitch 92 proceeds to pull vintage verses from his conspirators straight out the blocks – as Jehst fires away gloriously on the lo-fi feel title track that pays homage to the culture it’s a product of, with classic bars like “Engrossed in the lesson, Highly Focused on my interest like a Fliptrix investment” serenading you further into the album’s allure. Then along stroll The Four Owls to Swoop down and lay some elegant heat on this most inviting of beats, fiercely gripping your attention – you’re locked into 3rd Culture now.
One of the factors that makes 3rd Culture such a strong album is how hard a question it poses you when asked to pick a favourite moment, for there are so many highlights. For example as well as moments already mentioned, there’s no contesting how Overly Fresh Fliptrix is, as he flexes with a braggadocious bop, the soul and g-funk feel to I Need That, that classic juxtaposition of hard raps over a silky smooth beat on Follow Me, to the relaxed ambience of Worth It and the fireworks generated when Pitch enlists his Good Evening album collaborator Verb T on a couple of tracks, like with lead single Humanoid:
For the most part vibe wise the project resides opulently in feelgood territory; lying on a sun-soaked beach savouring every breath, but 3rd Culture isn’t afraid to switch things up and take advantage of the ears it sits in control of to hit them with something a little less bright, and a little closer to the dingy reality. Coops brings the conscious on the hard-hitting and candid life tale Criminalised.
There is a strong ambition to 3rd Culture – namely in how, as already mentioned Pitch 92 has amassed an expansive guest list, he has attempted to draw varying corners of the UK together that may otherwise not have crossed – this is similar to what Ocean Wisdom achieved with 2018 record Wizville and chimes with the ethos of High Focus strongly.
Over its nine year tenure the label has built up quite a reputation in the UK and HF are only going from strength to strength, moving forward with a lot of vision. The spirit of this ambition has traipsed its way into many recent High Focus releases – with Fliptrix’s latest project Inexhale featuring grimier tones and grime MCs, tracks like Mask and Know By Now on Jam Baxter’s Touching Scenes venturing into interesting territory and Dirty Dike’s old school garage cut Rex 01 from Acrylic Snail, all instances of this impetus – the future is certainly bright, and Pitch 92 is holding the beacon right now.
The boundary pushing ambition of 3rd Culture stands to act also as a gateway for a lot of listeners to come across artists they weren’t previously familiar with, and in this instance there is a massive potential impact to the project. Credit to Pitch 92 for this goes further than the varied list of collaborators assembled; it’s the specific ordering and pairing of guests on tracks orchestrated by him that facilitates this impact.
You’ll be hard pressed to find an album that can compete with the extensive and eclectic list of featured artists that all deliver verses that cover themselves in glory and with such various topics expertly explored, as Pitch 92 has executed on the success that is 3rd Culture. Perhaps Jehst sums up it best with his prophetic final bars on the title track –
“I got Pitch 92 on the mpc they say who’s he? You’ll see.“
3rd Culture was released on Thursday 28th February via High Focus Records and is available everywhere now – order it here.