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
**Hand-numbered and stamped edition of 300** Strago leans heavy on the latest dubstep skulker for Niteshade Inc. A-side weighs out the meditative aid of mid-air triplets and spectral pads in; B-side RDG brings fwd the drums for a more aggressive steppers' version.
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
Mr. Mitch reps modern E-grime's tender side with the first-ever vinyl collection of 'Peace Edits' - the scene's antithesis to 'War Dubs'. Approaching pop and dancefloor classics from refreshing new angles, the posse flip rigid conceptions of grime on their empty bonce, rendering a colourfully sensuous clash of cold, industrial tones synched with a raw, emotive appeal. The Gobstopper boss opens up with a pensile reframing of Dru Hill, and Strict Face nails it with a glyding, iced-out flip of Alice Deejay's '90s trance classic. The Loom remix of Kate Bush is pretty weird, remindi… Read more
Rabit makes a crucial contribution to the current discourse between US and UK club/grime styles with his stunning debut for Tri Angle. Arriving hot on the heels of 'Heterocetera' by another Houston-rooted producer, Lotic, the 'Baptizm' EP presents Rabit's smartest, most concise productions to date; 4 tracks, just over 10 minutes of crystalline, piquant electronics feeding off elements of classical composition, instrumental grime and computer music. Much like Arca, he's a master of reduction and efficiency for maximalist effect, whether cramming lucid, violent detail into every millisecond of music or … Read more
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!
Monday, 02 March
Proper bass weight from Kromestar on V.I.V.E.K.'s System Music label. Both track subtly update the original halfstep sound for 2015: 'Mere Sher (My Lion)' brings shudderingsubs and growling mid-range with a red-eye skank; ''Flute Song' goes all 'Ancient Memories' with flagrant flute and sci-fi samples spun on a trilling trap/halfstep fusion.
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
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.
Thursday, 27 November
London vs Liverpool in the street rave stakes; everyone's a winner. Champion and Melé go toe-to-toe with the sparring breakbeat swagger and wide-ass bass wobble of 'Get Down' up top, and step off again with sparring, fractured breaks and caged animal bass prowl in 'Radio Babylon'. Wicked and bad.
Thursday, 13 November
**Inaugural white label from Her Records - Hand-stamped edition of 400** Her Records at long last deliver their first ever vinyl release after a slew of essential Digital-only releases, featuring grimy rebuilds of a classic Baltimore club vocal by Devon's No.1 club trak specialist, Fraxinus. After lighting up the scene with a string of advanced club constructions starting with Miss Modular's 'Reflector Pack' and taking in debuts from label bosses Sudanim and CYPHR, they commit their ass to club music's divine, physical format with timelessly fwd style. Uptown, the A-side buxx wild with flanging su… Read more
Third and quite possibly strongest release yet from Beneath's Mistry label canters back to the 'floor with two deft, blocky riddims by Enklav. boss Chevel. Working a stripped framework of percolating bleeps and woody, splintered percussion greased with oily Reese and 808 bass, the Italian producer unfurls two lean and mean productions every bit as shark-eyed and skunked-out as his recent remixes for Webstarr's 'Agreus' (Misty002) and Downliners Sekt. A-side, the icy countenance of 'Tank' is primed at a 115bpm swagger for early doors in dark, claustrophobic bass pockets and cold warehouses alike… Read more
Thursday, 06 November
Wild one from LuckyMe: the debut proper of bubblegum techno pop from Edinburgh's Joseph Marinetti. Operating in that same wipe-clean sphere as Felicita, SOPHIE and the PC Music gang - he contributed to their Christmas 2.0 release in 2013 - Marinetti arrives squeaky clean and fresh with the Makina bounce of 'Ms. Telesales' and indulges some '90s nostalgia with the natty garage bubble of 'Kenzo Lee' and the laminate 'flooring of 'Lipsync' whilst '3D Hentai Stud' freaks out with a sort of piquant, grimy hardstyle burn, and French ghetto house player Big Dope P flips 'Lipsync' for the club.