Words: James Keith

DVA, Scratcha, Scratchclart... whatever you want to call him, the Hyperdub veteran has left an indelible mark on UK music and guided underground club music in a way few others can claim. Over the years, Scratcha has delved into grime, UK funky, dubstep, house music and beyond, always with an off-kilter slant. Even his approach to the album format itself is unorthodox; in 2018, he released one album consisting solely of Intros and another made up entirely of Interludes.

Going back even further, Scratcha’s 2013-released debut album, Pretty Ugly, polarised critics and fans alike. Across twelve tracks, he smashed together a myriad of seemingly disparate strains of music with surprising and challenging results. From the caustic noise of opener “Reach The Sun” to the dubby grandeur of closer “Where I Belong”, Pretty Ugly was impossible to pin down, yet was the perfect representation of one of the most fearlessly adventurous producers to ever do it.

But for all his experimental moments, Scratcha’s always had a keen ear for a hook, often balancing out his more daring productions with more soulful and melodic outings. That same debut album, for example, countered its abrasive opening track with a smooth, Cornelia-assisted title track and the Zaki Ibrahim-assisted “Fire Fly”, both making the absolute most of the vocalists’ soaring vocal performances.

Whether it’s as a producer, DJ or remixer, Scratcha’s also a consistently reliable source of new music, often choosing to lend his talents to a relative unknown rather than a ‘safe bet’ artist you’d expect him to work with. His morning slot on Rinse FM was an essential stopping-off point for listeners and widely held as one of the station’s best regular shows. Although he’s stepped away from that role now, he still makes regular appearances on radio stations across the world and his position as one of the finest producers and selectors in the country has never been more secure.

Here are 20 reasons to love Scratcha DVA.

Posted on January 16, 2020