Thursday, 21 May
Pure icy grime burns from Iglew with a killer debut on Mr. Mitch's Gobstopper. As he admits, Iglew only recently experienced bass from a proper soundsystem, and, as such, approaches the genre from a relative outsider perspective. No matter though, as he's clearly developed an acute melodic instinct in the absence of physical pressure, and has clearly caught up with soundsystem dynamics since. Anyway, his 'Urban Myth' EP is straight up killer; a slick lesson in economy of production and emotion, with heart-in-mouth effect in the title track's weightless zone of flutes and slyding squares contrasting… Read more
The London/Bristol axis churns up a military grade bomb from Mumdance, Pinch and Riko Dan. 'Big Slug' holds tight to a dread UK sound, all city-at-night gloom licked with apocalyptic intro and cantering bashment groove streaked by hellish metallic apparitions and Riko's yardie bark. The instrumental 'Lucid Dreaming' opens more hyperreal weightless dimensions framed by pendulous roto-rimshots and desiccated bass hits closer to gabber than grime but with the discipline of modern minimalism, anticipating a tangible evil that never comes but constantly lurks at the periphery, like some sort of sublime panic attack - summing up the vibe of 'ardcore UK dancefloors. Tip!
**Edition of 550 housed in folded Pantone A2 poster with gold hotline sticker** Batu dials in two shots of technoid Bristol murk for the excellent Hotline Recordings. A-side posits the abstracted 'ardcore shapes of 'Numen', hammering out sullen subs patterns under a swarm of ricochet reverbs and hypnotic drones to sound like a moment of hard-faced ecstasy stretched out to some seven minutes of gauzy grey dancefloor mass. B-side, 'Cazz' brings the drums inna pendulous roller coming off like a de-glazed UKF riddim, all swaggering groove with a frictional, oxidised dub aesthetic.
Thursday, 14 May
Pure dread dub weight from Kaiju, steppin' up to Deep Medi after shots for Osiris and Ruffcut. A-side is swaggering halfstep standard with piping flutes and swinging nut-crack snares to leave you bruised and bowling. The ten minute B-side is the one for us; 'Creeper' eases off to come up darker, stronger with swollen subs and rufige breaks trimmed for that stepping-on-air dancefloor ballistics bound to trip some up, and launch others into orbit, moving thru multiple sections with visionary dancefloor arrangement.
Brooding dubstep/bass mutations from the Tempa regular. Four tracks stretch out between Reese-loaded darkside 2-step, Burial style, with 'Closed Doors', to woodblock built steppers' house in 'Empty Room', and over into bellicose grime with '99' Aachen' featuring 9ER, and clocking out with a canny tribal house swagger in 'Voodoo Native'.
Kano's Bigger Picture Music slung out this Rustie-produced tune for RSD. Over naughty hair metal guitar chops and drums Kano welcomes you to the jungle. Instrumental on the flip.
Thursday, 07 May
Deadboy makes super nice on Local Action with the 'White Magick' EP. There's a mini-epic's worth of ideas and vibes inside, playing out like the soundtrack to a sci-fi short about occult computer hackers in the ends or, equally, some new age grime romance (we'll leave the casting to your imagination). From the crystalline synth blooms, angelic chorales and roto-drums of 'White Moon Garden', he 2-steps into lush 4th world dimensions with 'Inner Palace' and the beatless R&B sim-stim serenity of 'Rye Angel', all rendered with meticulous attention to hyperreal details. At the mid-point, the ambient… Read more
Frenetic shot of tribalized fusion from DJ Khalab and Clap! Clap! Originally only available at Bristol's Independent Label Market, now available to all other terrestrials, it ramps a 150bpm+ mixture of Shangaan-esque marimbra flickers and footwork snare punctuations with whooping party flair in tandem with Clap! Clap! across the front, whilst 'Substance' cools off on a more fluid roll flipside, weaving-a-body between lilting melodies and lolling footwork patterns freshened up with bird calls and beaming synth colours.
**Edition of 500** A 2015 Dreem Teem - Royal-T, DJ Q and Flava D - go hard and sweet as TDQ for Butterz. Up top, their 'Day Mix' plays with tuffened West Yorkshire bassline vibes speckled with eski flutes and darker Reese bass blooms for the dancefloor captains. Downtown, the 'Night Mix' eases off to a 125 bpm swing, bringing fwd the crackle and glistening chords for an altogether more sensuous and low-lit version.
Manchester's Zed Bias works at a warped electro-house and broken techno bent with 'Couch Life' for Loefah's 81. The sub 120bpm swagger of 'Couch Life' gets busy on a sorta Latin Freestyle update crossed with the kinda mid-tempo zones explored by DJ Samrai, factoring abyssal dub drop-outs into whirring drum machine flickers and wonky LFO dynamics. With 'Chokehold' he pushes the tempo up to 130bpm and rocks the bells over amorphous sub-bass shapes and the kinda bustling drums you'd expect from A Made Up Sound. The dancer's choice.
Berlin's Version label follow their leader with two techno and dubstep dreadnaughts. On the A-side, 'Nucleus' delivers skanking bleep techno built on wide monotone subs and smoked-out pads; B-side, 'Lights Off' runs a classic '06 halfstep sound streaked with echo chamber FX.
Thursday, 30 April
Man like Wen on a darq wan for Tectonic, now deep in its 10th year of operations. Remember that sensi fantasy you had back in 2007 that grime would cross-breed with techno and dubstep? That's the A-side 'Backdraft'; a crushing reduction of darkside sub pressure and shanking stabs with a 127bpm heartbeat. B-side, 'Finesse' follows that line with dread rollers purpose and 'Ghost' finds him stretching out on a deadly unique 160bpm flex, somewhere between halfstep D&B minimalism and Twwth's icy electro. Forward ya dancer >>>
Thursday, 23 April
Semtek provides a pair of ruggedest, weirdest house rollers on Niche N Bump's annual outing. The Don't Be Afraid label boss swaggers up with sullen subs and glass-rubbing synth tones in the crooked 'Bad Teeth' landing somewhere between Beneath's dread rollers and the bashment budge of Swing Ting's Samrai, both previous contributors to the tightly defined label. However, 'John Of Worcester' is a much stranger number, bringing forward those piercing synths over melting subs and slo-mo junglist tics to sound something like the mutant 'ardcore offspring of Arpanet. TIPPED!
*Finally in on Vinyl* Joker continues to burn up that purple Bristol sound on his 2nd album, 'The Mainframe'. Wildly colourful but controlled with deadly steady hand, it presents a far more plush and intricate sound than the rest of peers still pushing a sound rooted in post-'06 dubstep/grime styles. In fact, he's pretty much a lone soldier in this case - fusing boogie, adult contemporary jazz motifs and cod ethno flutes to a bulky yet agile halfstep. Man clearly loves this sound and relishes it from the explosive dynamics and Casualty theme tune nods of 'Boss Mode' to the dichotomous clash of boogie niceness 'n nasty rave elements in 'Fuzz Bop'.
Bambooman teams up with UK hip hop MC Jehst for Sonic Router. The instantly recognisable drawl of Jehst is smeared to a woozy, skunked-out bass and smoky chords in the A-side's 'Rusted' - quite funny how the production feels up-to-date whereas the vocal sounds totally stuck int he '90s (really, MC's still sound like this?!) - whilst the B-side's 'Thickets' drops a dollop of grimy pastoral futurism.
Thursday, 16 April
*Deluxe / Expanded Box Set featuring a bonus 12" of remixes from Girl Unit, Jam City, Nguzunguzu, and Kingdom Kelela's world-taking 'Cut 4 Me' (2013) mixtape blooms from 13 to 22 tracks, augmented with dramatic new remixes and riddims from Jam City, Neana, Kingdom, Mike Q, Massacooramaan… Y'all know what the sublime original sounds like so let's skip fwd: Jam City entirely overhauls 'Keep It Cool' with a smoother sorta tension; Kingdom resets 'Enemy' with a low-riding ballroom swagger; Mike Q ramps the spare Jam City mix of 'Cherry Coffee' with flash and bolshy ballroom flair; 'Go All Night' … Read more
Thursday, 09 April
The most prolific player in dubstep comes with cutthroat rave styles on the Nebula Music Group's first vinyl release. On top, 'Monster' arches up with stormy intro subsiding to a barrage of mid-range honk and knee-quaking sub-bass with some tricksy calculations in the 2nd half. Down below, he sharpens his knives for the cattle-prod percussion and swarming, discordant synths of 'Despite' on a mad halfstep-electro flex.
Thursday, 02 April
Drummer Richard Spaven shows off some nimble chops backed with a blooming Mala dub remix. Spaven's is probably best described as modern jazz fusion, synching his dextrous percussion to melted dubstep rave bass and soulful vocals. The remix is much better, though, as Mala gives the riddim acres of room to breathe with each element sprung i's own sector of the frequency spectrum for optimal impact on a big soundsystem.
Thursday, 26 March
A dream-team meeting of eminent Afro-futurists - for our money Actress' finest moment, bar none. OK, we're genuinely trying to sit on the hyperbole levels here but f**k that; this one is off the scale. Tackling the king of grime, Actress distills everything good about his oeuvre over the last 10 years or more - crooked metrics; THC-fuelled fuzz; bæroque melodies; that rarest late night s-p-i-c-e - inna collaged 7 minute masterpiece that floors us every time. It's like a scrambled Disengage transmission got lost in the æther, modulated with some Wiley on … Read more
**2nd Edition** Proper bassbin warning shot from Bristol's baddest nu duo! Clearing space on the 'floor betwixt dancehall, funky and grime, 'Backchat' duly performs one of the duttiest winds we've heard in ages: ricochet rimshots, belly-pump subs and robo-ragga vox lock down the riddim while plaggy grime strings laminate the dance something buff. Shot in a couple of screeching old skool spinbacks and you're in genuinely dangerous territory. Flipside with 'Dubchat' they gut the whole ting, poppin' off semi-automatic snares and boosted 808 quakes on a slow/fast pivot somehow sounding like Rhythm & Sound gone on a crack rampage with Pinch. Massive platter. Champion sound!
Fierce debut of f*cked and trippy ghetto funk from 18 year-old producer Nidia Minaj. Hailing from south of Lisbon via Bordeaux, Nidia is in possession of a genuinely astonishing and exciting sound, concisely crammed with levels of detail, colour and ruggedest dancefloor funk that make other, older producers seem boring by comparison. There's eight absolute treats inside, from the lush bump of introduction, 'Afro' to the auto-tune gilded crush of ghetto-dance-pop in 'House Kaliente' featuring DJ Olifox, and the tussle of sweeping string motifs and clipped, swanging drums in 'Sentimentos'. We're ki… Read more
Thursday, 12 March
*New Edition with full artwork* The biggest Grime riddim of 2010 with DJ Q remix, finally repressed on 12 inch. A-side features the bubbling 808s and shark-eyed synths of 'Woooo Riddim' straight up, sounding as lean, futuristic and skunked-out as every time you've heard it on the bus, youtube or soundcloud. D Double E may be missing but this riddim goes hard regardless. On the flip DJ Q's remix lends a flush of feminine, twinkled-toed synths and cut-up vocals for the club. It's possibly symptomatic of the times that it's taken so long to land on wax, but Butterz have just made a lot of grime heads very, very happy with this pressing. Essential!
Thursday, 26 February
Air Max '97 follows one of 2014's sickest singles with three fluoro aces on 'Fruit Crush', including an exceptional hook-up with Strict Face. This is the new skool in full effect, twysting the genes of grime, kuduro and freestyle electro with vaporous 'tronics in sheer hyperspace. 'Fruit Crush' steps out first with a grimier analog to SOPHIE and PC Music styles, streaking mad FX around sharp electro stabs, chattering melodies and wobbly bogle; 'Shape Cut' resets to a slower roll nodding to Lisbon's taraxho sound, but with xtra subs and off-kilter, lilting licks. Best of all, 'Armour Form' inc… Read more
Tuffened dubstep/grime hybrids from the Rinse FM DJ and producer. The tensile half-step lurch of 'Technoid' appears one side, backed with an 'Urban Gorilla' vocal version starring Juiceman, and the skippy cyber-grime styles of 'Expansion'.
"Twenty-year-old Amsterdam-born producer Ebbo Kraan presents his first EP proper. The Aletta EP is a nocturnal, eclectic meld of explorations in hip-hop sound and ambience. Like an enchanting siren, opener "Bag of Medicine" lulls the listener into its dark midst. It's a pretty intense rush, a screeching joyride of grating bass. "20" is a viscous onslaught of side-chained choppy abuse, while, "No Amount" is a distorted, ethereal mind-trip. Dreamy, refined "Pian808" slows things down -- a must for after-hours -- only to be potentially upstaged by "Thirst," the spatial and trippy closer with equal portions of low-end theory pulsating through."
Thursday, 19 February
**Spotgloss-printed jacket with download code** Strong debut album from the multi-faceted Future Brown collective for Warp. Numbering Fatima Al Qadiri, plus Lit City Trax's J-Cush and Nguzunguzu's Daniel Pineda & Asma Maroof, they represent a worldwide perspective (LA, NYC, Kuwait) via myriad dancefloor strains shaken for their sweetest, futurist fruit and voiced by an international roll call including MCs from Chiraq, Jamaica-via-London and Latin NYC. Holding up a mirror to the world's increasingly mixed and itinerant population - and it's disproportionate representation in mainstream med… Read more
UK rufige allstars on a heavy Formula Records sampler session. Flava D's 'Home' is ramped with bristling bassline flavour by label boss, Champion - sounds killah on 33rpm, too! - while flipside is given to a clash of the titans with a dream hook-up of Terror Danjah & Zed Bias on quicksilver 2-step tip sporting vocals by Olivia Louise.
Obey City switches tipple to 'Merlot Sounds' for a smoother follow-up to his heady 'Champagne Sounds' for LuckyMe. Laced with vocals by Kelela, Anthony Flammia and l-O.A.K & Eric Arc Elliot, six songs twyst traces of grime, B-more, and EBM into blinging riddims ranging from the Jones-referencing glyde and swerve of 'With Grace We Go' thru The Dream-style lushness in 'Water Bed' or 'Chantè'; giddy grime-funk in 'The Motion Blurs', and a sparkling run of electro-soul with 'Cloud Lust', and lissom Linn groove, 'Air'.
**ncludes 20 track bonus CD** Back on Big Dada - Wiley rises to the top again with 'Snakes & Ladders' featuring guest spots from JME, Footsie, Wrigz, Flirta D and more. He's as mad as ever, dropping baffling bars and signature non sequiturs across 17 of his strongest tracks in years, from the bouncing summer 2014 anthem, 'On A Level' to the gulliest new skool grime in 'Reel Off' to the extended, eleven minute chicanery of 'Snakes & Ladders (Part Two)' which surely sets a new precedent for modern grime. Get in.