THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “More than two decades on from his debut album Original Pirate Material — which hit the charts in 2002 and changed the face of U.K. hip-hop — Mike Skinner still finds himself an iconic pioneer of British music.
The rapper, musician and producer’s new album The Darker The Shadow, The Brighter The Light — the soundtrack and companion to a feature film of the same name that he stars in, wrote, directed and produced — has been in the works for five years, with all songs written by Skinner (unlike the previously released 2020 mixtape None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive, which was a collaborative project).
The album is a classic Streets album — filled with Skinner’s trademark lyrical wizardry and beats honed over a decade of building his other career as a legitimate bass/rap DJ in clubs, but featuring vocal contributions from longtime collaborators Kevin Mark Trail and Robert Harvey, as well as a track featuring Teef.
The songs on the album not only soundtrack the film, but also play the role of narrator at times. And while neither the album or film exist without each other, both can be enjoyed separately, Skinner maintains.
“It has been seven long years working on this film and album,” he’s said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and after dipping my toe in with some shorts and music videos, I felt I was ready. I tried to go the traditional route for a bit, but it’s always served me better to follow my instincts and just get on with it myself, so I’ve directed it, acted in it, edited, sound mixed, funded, produced it all as well as written it. The album doesn’t exist without it.
“Ultimately it’s all the fruits of a decade on the DJ circuit, watching people in clubs and back rooms, testing out beats and basslines to see what connected — and putting it all together into The Darker The Shadow, The Brighter The Light.”