Words: James Keith
Photography: Mark Surridge

Plastician, born Chris Reed, has been knee-deep in the UK’s underground music scene since the early noughties, as a DJ, producer and founder of his own Terrorhythm label. Coming from Croydon, he was perfectly positioned to capitalise on the tectonic shift from the darkening UKG sound into dubstep and grime. His debut LP, Beg To Differ, was a raw and passionate treatise on the intersections between UK garage, grime and bass music, laying out the blueprint for what would become known as dubstep. To unfamiliar ears, the album must’ve sounded cold and barren, but to a growing crowd of ravers digging into the new sound of dubstep’s minimal years, it was a lightning bolt of creativity.

Plastician also deserves credit for making one of the very first excursions to take grime to the U.S back in 2005. Alongside Skepta and Jammer, Reed connected with New York resident Matt Shadetek for a studio session. It may not have been the most auspicious entrance, but once again this was Reed sowing the seeds for what was about to come. On the back of that trip, more and more of the U.S underground club scene started to switch on to grime and dubstep. Reed also found fans in both Trouble & Bass (run by Drop The Lime, Star Eyes and The Captain) as well as Slit Jockey (the sister label of Seclusiasis, both run by Dev79 and Starkey). Across a number of releases and live shows, he would end up forging strong and long-lasting links with them all.

Reed was rightfully rewarded for his efforts with a Rinse FM show that would become one of the station’s longest-running and most popular. After 14 years at the station, though, he stepped down to take his DJing into a brand new realm. That new realm, it turned out, ended up being something far more adventurous than many had expected. Fittingly, for a DJ and producer with his eye on the future, Reed decided to set up shop in the world of VR, teaming up with Unreality Journeys for live online DJ sets for his listeners.

But there’s so much more to Plastician than simply grime and dubstep. In recent years, Plastician has evolved into a ‘selector’ in the truest sense of the word. No two DJ sets are alike and seldom even comparable. Since those early days of sparse dubstep and gully grime, Reed’s explored just about every sound imaginable. On any given night, he could be playing out UK funky, disco, ‘80s boogie, funk, hip-hop, grime, dubstep or one his more recent favourites, the burgeoning wave scene (a sound he championed almost from day one over at Rinse).

So scroll down, dig in and prepare yourself for a wild ride. Try as we might, we weren’t able to scope out any disco or boogie productions, but we’ve done our best to accurately represent the palette of one of the most diverse producers and DJs this country has produced. We’re obviously at the mercy of Spotify’s catalogue, but, as boss of Terrorhythm, Reed has made things somewhat easy by working himself to the bone to make sure every artist sees their Terrorhythm release pushed as far and wide as the internet allows.

Here are 20 reasons to love Plastician.

Posted on July 30, 2018