‘Loopholes’ is the latest offering from London-based Irish producer Bruk Rogers, also known as Cian McCann (Zero T/Zero Tolerance/Searchlight). This 11-track album serves as a testament to the depth and range of Cian’s musical influences, all seamlessly integrated within the framework of Broken Beat. ‘Loopholes’ emerges as a vibrant melting pot, blending jazz, soul and funk with dub and reggae flavours, notes of bossa nova, samba, and hip hop, and a UK Bass Music touch. The album follows the release of split singles “Deusa feat. Roberta Silva & Onj / Get Low” and “Lalela feat. ASAP Shembe / Asalato Riddim”.
‘Loopholes’ space-age title, in tandem with Bruk Rogers’ moniker, is inspired by the cosmic adventurer and sets the stage for the exploration of Broken Beat’s evolution. The release pays tribute to its roots and musical heritage, while delving into the Bruk Renaissance and a new-age soundscape.
Opening the album is “South Facing” with long-time collaborator Ishfaq, who has worked with Cian throughout his production career, appearing on the ‘Searchlight LP’ and across the Zero T catalogue. The track warms up with manipulated woodwind effects and skipping percussion, with a cohort of bells and tweaked oscillations.
“Mais Um”; combines warm Latin keys, jazzy basslines and fractured beats. The title is inspired by the small vocal snippet “Mais Um”, translating to “another” in Portuguese. The improvisational Rhodes, distant Agogo, and samba whistle infuse the track with a nostalgic Latin-American groove, complemented by futuristic synths that whir away, as if gearing up for take-off. The instrumental was part of what Bruk Rogers and Onj called the “Latin Sessions”, along with “Deusa” and “Feel Alright”.
“Gravity” takes the tempo up, with harmonies from labelmates MELONYX that are reminiscent of an old-school call to the dancefloor, with the unmistakable bruk rhythm. On “Pioneers”, Bruk Rogers explores the classic Broken Beat sound, drawing inspiration from vintage Bugz In The Attic vibes. The addition of LyricL, a legend from that era, adds a nostalgic touch, connecting the current work to the first generation of bruk, with lyrics that touch on the genre’s roots. The album takes a more experimental turn with “Jelly Head”, a collaboration with Wipe The Needle, a trailblazer of the second wave of broken beat. Here, alien funk chords and strings playfully dip in and out of the foreground, taking unexpected turns with each progression.
Rewinding 20+ years, Cian (as Zero Tolerance) had his first jungle tracks signed to 4hero’s Reinforced Records and was exposed to the heart of the burgeoning broken beat scene just by hanging out at their Dollis Hill studio. He was also highly influenced by going to CoOp at Plastic People and frequenting Jazz:Refreshed at MauMau Bar.
Back to the present: Cian was booked to play a DJ set at the ‘virtual’ We Out Here Festival in 2021 and decided to play a bruk set. He had so much fun that he decided to start making some bruk beats straight afterwards. Debut releases on Afronaut & Mark Force’s CoOperation label have been very well received, with wide-ranging support from BBC 6Music, Gilles Peterson, Jazz FM, Spotify Japan and many more.