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
Absolute panic in the darnce with Royal-T's relentless shoot-'em-up starring P Money and Footsie. Landing 4 years since his last solo 12" on Butterz, 'Shotta' hears the South Coast's dopest grime producer stick to a simple and deadly effective formula, crafting an entire riddim outta guncocks and shots. It's maybe not recommended for dogs or those of a nervous disposition but, the vocalists are undoubtedly in their element, P Money blazing bars from the hip and Footsie coming off like a proper hungry gunman. To counter the violence, he tests out a more sensitive side in the pensile, Reese-loaded 4… 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, 19 March
Sweeter, ruder bass turns from Champion and Terror Danjah on the 2nd 12" warm-up for the f= Bass² compilation. Champion gets tropical with the whopping bird calls and tribalized bounce of 'Cannon' up top; Terror Danjah shows off with inimitable style in the taut but fractious UK techno funk of 'Run Out'.
Thursday, 12 March
Delinquent, deliquescent grime from Damu on return to Keysound. M.I.A. since 2013, his 'Holed In The Hovel' session reveals an even shinier chassis and curdled silicon aesthetic, in chromatic flux somewhere between SOPHIE and PC Music or the most lucent Her Records releases. 'iPolice' starts up like some Matrix sentinel, all laser scanning bleeps and wavey synths with a sci-fi agenda, while 'Whirlybird' rolls out like a mutant mix of Fis-t's 'Night Hunter'. At his maddest, 'Holed Up In The Hovel' wields wild claps and meter-melted Ballroom beats, and 'No Pain, No Gain' gives up frantic, frothing grime patterns infected with some mad computer virus.
*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
UK's baddest duo do it again with the '1 Sec' EP landing on XL after the blinding 'Take Time' 12" for Rinse. Mumdance makes the music, Novelist runs rings around it. This is the OG sound developed by BBE and Wiley accelerated with incredible vision, imagination and tenacity; bending your ear to the preternaturally observant, incisive lyrics of 17 year old MC, Novelist, while Mumdance's ballistic, collaged production slaps up from every angle. Both the title track and 'Shook' set the levels head-high for 2015, outmaneuvering all comers at every swerve, each near miss with a bus and in every rave-eyed bass stab. This is what music needs to sound like in 2015.
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.
Thursday, 12 February
District brings some burly 2-step pressure to Chestplate. 'Alpha House' flexes nifty hi-hat shuffles and swinging snares around an almighty subbass shape; 'Inorganic' double dips with proper, El-B styled swerve. More stuff like this, please.
Thursday, 05 February
Wicked version face-off from Jus Now and Kahn & Neek for Hotline. On top, Bristol-based "riddim obsessives" Interface and LAZAbeam aka Jus Now curry 'Backchat' with a darker bashment flavour full of glancing percussion and ragged dub stabs. Down under, Kahn gets wild with Jus Now's take on Bunji Garlin and Stylo G's 'Tun Up', girding the riddim with grimiest brass stabs and wheelin' drums.
Thursday, 29 January
Lean, mean hybrids of UK rolige and European techno from Roska, Roska, Roska. Back for his 3rd outing on Tectonic, he reflects the label's current aesthetic with tightest, jabbing drums and dread bass for the darkside skank 'n shuffle. 'Hyperion' rolls with effortless momentum guided by zombied 4/4 bass pressure and frankly fxxking evil drones; 'Off' is distinctly UK-centric, synching the widest swing from fractured drums and offset sub swells for the dancers; 'Only Human' really gets our vote though, setting a pensile balance of crisp rimshots and slicing claps poised with noirish dub chamber vibes precipitating the nastiest bass shapes..
Dutch turbo skank pressure from TMSV on Artikal Music UK. Three rotten riddims stepping out between the gabber bass pulses of 'Jackhammer' to dread halfstep and pinging congas with 'Guillotine', and the reek of dank dungeon spaces in 'Elegy'.
Thursday, 22 January
Oil Gang lock and load four big grime instrumentals from Slew Dem OG, JT The Goon, and hyper-tropical specialist, Murlo. Heating up with the sweeping orchestral strings, Sino flutes and whirring trap grime of JT's 'Garden Of Eden', he links with Murlo on the lushly heady, quick-fire tilt of 'Plume', before Murlo takes control with the slick R'n'G orientalism, 'Cold Stroke', and a searing, pointillist rework of JT's 'Twin Warriors'.
Youngsta and Truth on weighty remix session for Tempa. Rinse FM OG, Youngstar launches a nimbly technoid steppers take on Truth's 'Devil's Hand'; Truth refigures J: Kenzo's 'Invarderz' as a swooping halfstep heat-seeker.
Thursday, 04 December
Diverse, techi dubstep and D&B torsion from Gijs Snik aka Proxima, including a collaboration with his brother, Jeroen Snik aka Icicle, and vocal by P Money. First plate comes with the creepy darkside lurch and Coki-style bleeps of 'Trapped' beside the grimy slaughter of 'Pressurized' with P Money and the raving old skool Skream styles of 'In Vacuo'. 2nd plate is all about the pensile pressure of 'Gravity' and the aforementioned, killer D&B mutant, 'Redshifted' featuring Icicle.
Monday, 01 December
Acre on a mad one for Tectonic with four brukken, mongrel club constructs. In the best sense, each cut nimbly evades concrete classification, twysting out between battered 'ardcore mutation reminding of Millie & Andrea in 'Ping' to the bit-crushed aquatic dancer, 'Blue Moon' and further out into hyper Afro-centric styles with the Shangaanese percolations ov 'Icon', and an MDMA-smudged flux of chords and dub detritus in the bittersweet close, 'Reload'. RIYL Andy Stott,, Actress, Dynamo.