Thursday, 30 July
*Upfront Exclusive* Killah brukbeat and swing techno functions from Spatial on his resuscitated Infrasonics imprint. 5 years since leaving his label on ice with a CD round-up of their first four releases, Infra12006 marks its return with signature, minimalist efficiency and dancefloor insistence. With 'HeLa' he syncs pendulous kicks and scything chords in möbius loop twysts occurring somewhere between the oblique swing of Phork and the latinate shuffles of El-B at his slinkiest. In 'Referent' he tests out a more crack'd sorta bruk funk nodding to A Made Up Sound's earlier, ruder transmissions, b… Read more
Murky, nicotine-stained ambience from Young Echo affiliates, Neek and Amos Childs (member of Jabu and Zhou) for Bristol's ever-expanding Idle Hands label. Working within Young Echo's now well-established style, they eviscerate the bodies of dubstep, grime, D&B - that Bristol sound - to come out with eight ghostly emissions framed between low end sub-bass presence, greying ambient chords and faint flickers of voodoo percussions.
Dubstep original and erstwhile pirate, Jack Sparrow launches a tribal steppers assault upon Deep Medi. 'Hold and Pull' barrels forth with high-pressure 4/4 subs and grounation-style drumming carrying serious momentum; 'Pula Riddim' cools off on a rootikal digi-dub skank for the Adriatic beach set; 'Where Am I' goes one 'step farther into dank, skunked-out dub pressure.
Thursday, 23 July
Lil Silva cuts hard and wild on his 2015 shotta, 'Drumatic'. With the title track he forges a fresh sorta UK techno-bruk tribalism infected with buzzing grime bass and razor-cut breakbeat rattle, and 'New Squeeze' updates OG West London bruk funk with a tauter, gleaming techno edge, all percolating perfussion and melting chromatic chords. '606' clocks out with a pinging UK electro-funky zinger that could only come from this don. If his previous form is anything to go by, this may be your one and only 12" from Lil Silva this year, so make the most of it!
Silkie follows two volumes of 'City Limits' albums with the plush dubstep boogie dimensions of 'Fractals' for Distal's Anarchostar label. There's far more variation in this suite than we've previously heard from Silkie, proving equally adept at Miami-style electro in 'Escape Route', trim electro-tech in 'Moda' with J. Tijn, and swish Linn funk in 'Love Affair', alongside the trap-style lean of 'Majik' and electro-jazzy halfstep in 'Cascada'.
Blue and moody garage/breaks rollers from Kiwi label, Egyptian Avenue. 'Windmill' features delicate vocal from Afiya placed over rustling breakbeats and emotive string arrangement; 'Devotion' rolls off on a sullen halfstep weighted with folksy strings.
Thursday, 16 July
*Visionist’s Lost Codes label re-emerges as Codes, a new collaboration with PAN. Edition of 500, first 200 copies pressed on steel grey vinyl* Visionist resets his Lost Codes imprint as a new PAN sublabel, with a killer, collaborative grime/techno collage by Acre and Filter Dread. Marking the first time either producer has collaborated properly, they prove a vital pairing in equilibrium between industrial techno engines, body-scanning UK bass tones and gritty, diffuse urban-gothic atmosphere. Upfront, ‘Drumz34’ burrows in with viral 8-bit squiggle and squashed subs before ‘Flash Speed… Read more
Diaphanous ambient-grime designs from down under. Sydney's Mokona elides styles with seamless precision, plumbing the lusher depth of '80s new age and '90s ambient where many of his scene peers prefer to keep everything upfront in the mix. A-side features the wistful weightless arrangement of synth voices, flaring lead and airborne flutes in 'Morning Vapour', and with a hazy, meditative patina of bird calls and gaseous pads punctured by swooping drums in 'Shrine Garden'. Turn it over and 'Inner City Test Run' unloads crunching dancehall snares and crushing subs streaked with polychromatic synths, … Read more
Thursday, 09 July
Sawf London's Coyote Records pull another wicked debut from the pack with Spokes' 'Green Eyes' session. Working at the soft spot between OG grime and new age ambience, their three originals present lucent visions of our present future, crisply detailed with avian flute chatter and prickling electro drum palettes, at best in the Slackk-approved 'Lo Pan Strikes' and the shades-on at midnight ATL vibe of 'Mutations'. On a remix tip, E.M.M.A. proves a fine candidate to spin the light-headed dynamics of 'Ritalin', earthing its diaphanous bleeps and white noise washes with double dipped bass and whirrin… Read more
Proper, mutant UK killers from Bristol's Lurka. 'Partials' follows a steady line of dancefloor inquiry from his early ones for Black Box, thru a killer Hotline drop and last year's unique 'Holding' 12" to twyst farther still from convention with these weird gems. The title track rides a slackened, bashy dancehall bump with calving chromatic synth motifs, sounding something like Pekka Airaksinen and Florian Hecker on a very freaky weekend at Sandals, whilst 'Mach' holds steadfast to that tempo but with kinkier fills and metallic licks. Tip!
2nd album from LHF distilling myriad elements of UK and outernational soundsystem culture and vibes for Keysound Recordings. The work of Amen Ra, Low Density Matter, and No Fixed Abode, a.k.a. LHF, 'For The Thrown' presents ten filigree collages of samples and synths to follow the rudeboy stance of their recent Ragga Twins hook-up. The production focus is on bright, colourful melody and textures, full of choral synths, wistful flutes and Alice Coltrane-like shimmers buoyed by subtle subs and percussion that glints under the sun.
Thursday, 25 June
**Edition of 300. Includes Suicideyear remix** DarkO debuts with typical drama on Rinse, following a striking shot for Visionist's Lost Codes label in 2014. It's a sweetboy grime ting, treading a fine melodic line of effusive heartburst and melancholic heart-break between the teetering trance arpeggio peaks and crashing trap snares of 'Abrasion', and the beat-less R&B lush-out of 'The Past', also taking in the buoyant Reese and 808 bass and breathlessly ascending blips of 'Fuschia', and a slippery, colourful grime zinger in 'Spiral'. On the remix buttons, American producer Suicideyear follows his relea… Read more
Manchester's Walton consolidates grime, techno and dubstep frames in a taut collection for Tectonic. Last spotted on a trio of 12"s for Hyperdub, he remains true to a mutant 130bpm stylein the 'Bulldoze' EP, throwing down the icy strings and whirring worksite percussion of 'Wrench' beside the ruffneck bongos and wheezing grime melodies of 'Flute Riddim' up top, whilst B-side brings a killer sound synching pirate radio barks with EBM-strength drums and massive subs, and 'L.E.A.N.' comes off like some Chiraq drill infused with roadwise UK flex. Cold and deadly.
Thursday, 18 June
Dreader UK pressure from Bristol via London on PAN affiliate Beneath's Mistry label, coined for his peers and like-minded bass cadets. The label's 4th drop is Laksa's first, framing the ruggedest UK house sounds with red-eyed night vision. 'Draw For The' strides over the A-side with drunken master style; all sloshing subs and roiling drums inna cold and brittle echo chamber style. B-side, 'Baded' drops the tempo a few notches but brings up the celsius at the same time, finding a woozy sub-tropical swagger in its hard surfaces and synthetic bird calls, whilst 'Touchdown' forges a killer sort of bl… Read more
Thursday, 11 June
Sharp Veins reveals a captivating debut dream sequence of emirg-ent hybrids for new age grime pushers, Glacial Sound. Hailing from Alabama via the U.S. East Coast, he was one of Fact magazine's "producers to watch in 2015" based on the strength of his soundcloud alone. Like fellow American mutants Elysia Crampton or Rabit - with whom he shared a side for Bristol's Blacklink Sound - the Sharp Veins sound errs to a more electronic, IDM-style sci-fi atmospheres, but with the economy of UK grime instrumentals and emotive incision of R&B. He describes them as "functional places - idyllic, iso… Read more
Keysound link up LHF and UK dance legends, The Ragga Twins, on a ruffer set of 'nuum mutations. Amen Ra, Double Helix, Low Density Matter and No Fixed Abode divide duties accordingly, coming with four tracks ranging from darkside megadome wreckage with the dread 2-step junglism, 'Fugese', beside the radar-skimming roller, 'Exodus', whilst '2000 Dust' runs at a ruder, Ghost-style garage tilt, and 'Street Wise' dips with jazzy midnight halfstep flex.
Black Acre bruk loose with Tsunga's solo debut volley of 'ardcore/B-more rufige. 'Maris Piper' bangs out choppy jungle swerve streaked with darkside pads and brooding breakdowns inna classic fashion, whereas 'B More Dog' feels more upfront, closer to say Mumdance's brittle but lushly expansive sound designs mixed with a cheeky old skool rudeboy attitude.
Thursday, 04 June
*White vinyl* The vocalist formerly recognised as Butterclock steps up solo under her own name with four Rinse-ready pop tracks. 'Fade' crosses reggaeton and dreamy '90s pop modes; 'Slowly' marries blue trap and ethereal, echoic vox plus raps by Nina B; Cold' is a dated autotune outing; 'Fantasy' gently bounces in a mid-air pop reverie.
Thursday, 14 May
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
**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, 23 April
*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
Shawhin Izaddoost aka VVV returns with his finest material yet on this 6-track EP for Hush Hush. The sound here is heavily indebted to Burial, but the vocal arrangements provide a flash of brilliance, making this a recommended listen to those of you enamoured by those amazing Arca productions for FKA Twigs.
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.