Even among his contemporaries, Roska stands out as a unique proposition.His music – an explosive cocktail of swung house percussion, blocky melodies and body-battering sub-bass – is immediately distinctive, marked out both by his own production hallmarks and the cheeky ‘Roska!’ vocal motif that peppers his tracks. He first began to attract attention in 2007, when DJs from the then-burgeoning funky scene began to take notice of Roska’s raw and gritty early productions.Strongly linked to his own personal history in grime, his syncopated and distinctly UK-rooted tracks swiftly became highlights of sets by tastemaking DJs Marcus Nasty and Supa D. In particular it was minimal, percussive jack track ‘Feeline’ – later released through his own Roska Kicks & Snares label – that took the underground by storm, followed by a cluster of subsequent riddims, including ‘Elevated Levels’ and ‘In Your Handbag’.
In April 2009, Roska was invited to start a weekly show on Rinse FM, Britain’s leading underground music station. This proved to be the catalyst his musicneeded to trigger off the next phase in its development. With a regular audience exposed to his own new tracks as well as those he was supporting, he began to carve out an increasingly unique and playful take on house music, blending cartoon-ish melodic motifs with sucker punch sub-bass and sultry, swung rhythms. As a direct result of his regular radio show, Roska began to release music through Rinse’s own record label. So as what was once called ‘funky’ has drained out of the clubs, and many of its originators have started making and playing different sounds, Roska’s music has continued to explore its own world. 2010′s Rinse Presents: Roska showed off the range of his sound, with vocal anthems like the Jamie George featuring ‘Wonderful Day’ sitting comfortably alongside wild club tracks like ‘Squark’ and ‘Hey Cutie’.He continued with a string of 12″s for labels like Hotflush, Numbers and Tectonic, collaborations with sub-heavy explorers Untold and Pinch, and remixes for names as varied as Four Tet, Redlight, Modeselektor and Katy B.
In 2012 he released an equally striking second full-length for Rinse. RinsePresents: Roska 2 found him in genre-twisting mode. Featuring vocals from,among others, Sweetie Irie and Mz Bratt, and collaborations with Swindle and Funtcase, it was a set of tracks still based in house but stretching far and wide for inspiration, twisting grime, dubstep and garage to suit his own vision. Throughout this time his reputation as a formidable DJ has continued to rise, bolstered by his ongoing weekly show on Rinse FM. In 2009 Mary AnneHobbs chose Roska to play in Barcelona at Sonar Festival’s BBC Radio 1 stage, alongside Skream, Kode9 and Joker. Since then he’s played a string ofmajor UK and European dates including Glastonbury, Global Gathering, Bloc,Lowlands and Outlook, as well as touring North America. He’s never far from the darkened club spaces where he made his name, though, regularly playing incendiary sets in packed basements around the UK – and always maintaining the immediacy and physical impact that’s defined his music from the very start.
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