Ikonika welds US, UK and Afrobeats in a rude and brooding 6-track return to Hyperdub following her 2017 album.
Intersecting UK grime and hard drum styles head on with rugged American trap, Jersey club and tucked nods to Afrobeats, Ikonika’s ‘Hollow EP’ is a strong, if more spaced out and darker, follow-up to her cracking ‘Bodies’ EP for DBA.
Six tracks follow her long-held line of serious bass pressure with crisply articulated, technoid swing, at best in the underground LDN meets NYC via Lagos cubism of ‘A-Void’, and curved to a pendulous R&B hustle in her title track, while ‘Kicks Count’ hits a lethal line of UK/Afrobeats, and ‘Body Servants’ comes with the coldest, off-kilter vein of drill recalling John T Gast’s Young Druid - never a bad thing.
Simo Cell’s newly minted TEMƎT label starts up with the skewed rolige of fellow French producer E-Unity clad in ace artwork by Dr. Me
Relaying the sound of Paris-via-Bristol in four parts, E-Unity sets out the label’s agenda with a mix of tight percussion and sloping bass suspended somewhere between the styles of his label bossman, Equiknoxx and Batu with infectious highlights on the sidewinding chromatic bubbler ‘Inner Osc’, the natty stepper ‘Late Tate Tale’, and on a craftier slow swivel with ‘Not For Me’. Big twelve.
DJ Mellowbone SA and Supa D finesse the sort of SA Gqom-meets-UKF styles rudely explored by Scratcha in a dead tight trio for Supa D’s Housupa Records
The confluence of deeper South African house pressure and current UK styles from UKF pioneer and Rinse resident Supa D comes to natural, ongoing conclusion in three killer cuts, tucking away militant trills and hypnotic cut-up vocal lead in the darker Gqom-like ace ‘Chifta’, along with breezier hustle in the wide-skied pads and percolated vocals and drums of ’Sghubu Somedantso’ leading to brooding bleeps in a way that recall another SA producer, Transmat’s Mbulelo, while ‘Cheese’ locks off a slower, shark-eyed swerve and droning, jabbing lead with results reminding of Geeneus’ Volume 1 set.
Sir Hiss goes on like a mellow echo of Bristol’s purple sound in two 140bpm low riders for Wych, paired with a woodblock-kissed remix from K-Lone
The title tune leans back and reminisces on a G-funk-meets-late ‘00s Bristol sound with fruity top lines and massaged subs for the old heads, and ‘Anatolian Heartland’ gets it right on the nose with a sort of E.M.M.A.-meets-Gurdjieff flex, which come neatly crimped and sweetened up with some R&G scented oils and Timba woodblocks in K-Lone’s remix.
Simo Cell diversifies his bonds alongside Egyptian singer and trumpeter Abdullah Miniawy in a Fourth World Bass style for Brothers From Different Mothers
Miniawy has previously lent his styles to collabs with Carl Gari for TTT and Whities (now AD93) in recent years, and now finds an ideal foil in Paris-based Simo Cell, who underlines the passionate vocals and touches of Hasselian brass with a range of speaker-smacking rhythms and textured noise.
The bookending works are perhaps most intriguing, working a sort of up-to-date spin on fourth world vibes in the lush opener, and its bitterer closer ‘Weed In The Freezer’, whereas the main body sees the two wrapped in supple club music for home play, at best in the Low Jack-esque warped dancehall of ‘Pending In The Pattern’, and what sounds like early Arabic electronics meets scorched trap drums with ‘Locked In Syndrome.’
The master of the tape loop returns with "Lamentations", yet another collection of eroded drone for low-light dreamers, captured and constructed from tape loops and studies from Basinski’s archives – dating back to 1979 – Lamentations is over forty years of mournful sighs meticulously crafted into songs. They are shaped by the inevitable passage of time and the indisputable collapsing of space – and their collective resonance is infinite and eternal.
Those familiar with Basinski's catalog won't find a lot new here - not a complaint - like the molasses-slow shots that made David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" so eerily affecting, Basinski's spine-chilling repetition drags u into a state of near-hypnosis, focusing on the tiny details as they crumble in and out of view.
"Lamentations" is the perfect title; we've been spinning this on repeat as the constant chatter of apocalyptic news bubbles thru social media and every newsreel across the planet. It's hard to tell exactly what Basinski is lamenting but it doesn't really matter - each track sounds like a fragment of our past slowly fading from view. As "The Disintegration Loops" mourned a New York City that had been lost, "Lamentations" feels like a memorial for something else huge and all-encompassing. Nostalgia's a hell of a drug.
Genius dembow rhythm science from DJ Python on his 2nd album for Anthony Naples’ and Jenny Slattery’s Incienso. Total mind-melter this one, easily Python’s best material since his 'Dulce Compañia’ debut - we can tell you now we’re gonna be banging on about this record all fucking year.
Following from the reticulated deep house-paced reggaeton hybrids of that acclaimed 2017 debut, the new side by Brian Piñeyro ‘Mas Amable’ takes a rambling, sidewinding trip exploring slippery, mutable 90/180bpm metrics with a serpentine guile that surely lives up to his moniker. Imagine Beatrice Dillon jamming with Gescom and Kelman Duran, and you’ve nearly got a grasp on this incredibly constructed album.
Across 50 minutes of seamlessly arranged transitions from lush field recordings to hip-gripping dembow permutations and semi-conscious and tripped-out vocals, Python dangles the dance by a fine conceptual thread that ties the constant rhythmic chronics to their subtly shifting tonal/textural variables. Call it ambient-dancehall, avant-dembow, deep reggaeton, whatever; it’s just an incredible record for lovers of rhythm and sound of all stripes. Starting up with five minutes of rustling, shoreside ambience in ‘Te Conocí’, the album elegantly and rudely shifts its weight between seven mutations of dembow’s tressilo drum pattern and junglist markers, toggling the pressure gauge from gently propulsive sway in ‘Pia’ to tighter, darker steppers type in ‘Alejandro’ and wavey whistling melodies in ‘oooophi’, before technoid neuro D&B stabs light up ‘Descales’ and it all fades out in the narcotically effective downstroke and tripped vox of ‘ADMSDP’, and slunks into the deep blue reggaeton electronica of ‘Juntos’ and ‘mmmm’.
Cast somewhere between the horizontal and vertical, and thus primed for dancehall or late night satisfaction, whatever angle it’s approached from, ‘Mas Amables’ is a unique and richly immersive experience that will surely rank among the definitive records of the year.
Yeah, we’re feeling this one.
DJ Plead switches gears for a more infectious, slow and deadly percussive whirl on this killer 40 minute session for our Documenting Sound series, mostly recorded on a Yamaha ‘Oriental’ keyboard and inspired by the likes of CS + Kreme’s ’Snoopy’ album and Felix Hall’s dancehall mixtapes. Proper spacious, all-tension-no-release gear from one of the best in the game.
Recorded and sent from his home in Sydney, ‘Relentless Trills’ sees Jarred Beeler aka DJ Plead dismantling his much-loved hard drum club style. Dropping the tempo and conserving energy levels across a suite of smoky, tense works, he matches the waviest microtonal vamps with the signature, rhythmelodic lilt of his drums in a properly hypnotic style.
Equally influenced by vintage dancehall riddims and the inspirational glow of CS + Kreme's psycho-ambient heartmelters, the results sound to our ears like an offshoot of Mutamassik releases for DJ/Rupture’s Soot, or Shackleton slowed to a hash-smoking drift and heading on a Mahraganat tip. A hazy introductory piece of autotuned vocals and digital bass prodding seduces from the front, with the vibe spilling out into deep, spaced-out dancehall pressure with deliriously strong works almost nodding to Timbaland and The Neptunes in ‘RT5’, closing on a mesmerising beatless highlight in ‘RT6’ to seal the deal.
Deep London groove pressure from Parris, with a cameo by Minor Sciences, on a dead classy follow-up to his energetic outing for TTT
Debuting for Brighton’s ace Wisdom Teeth, Parris plays into a classic vibe on the balmy swag of ’Soft Rocks With Socks’, bobbing along at a laidback sub-110bpm with gently heart-in-mouth pads and feathered drums, while ‘Sabor a Ceniza’ steps up the pace to a floating, buoyant sort of broken beat swing working shades away from Sensate Focus in a dubbier way.
From the archives comes ‘Terrapin’, a crafty joint cooked up with Minor Sciences a few years ago, seeing the pair neatly out-do each other with swiped-out drums and melting deep house chords that resemble a sort of crunchier Move D cut or some early Juju & Jordash stroller.
‘Elvine Unlocked’ is Chevel’s most substantial outing since his Different Circles LP in 2018, and sees his sound adjusted to more colourful, intricate and off-centre ends
One of its highlights ‘Late Bloomer’ has already been signed for sync use on a watch advert, while the rest is of similarly evocative quality, taking in lushly bittersweet dissonance harmonies in ‘Fed Enough’, plus PC Music-like synth-pop futurism in the title tune, and Autonomic-style electro in ‘Swamped’.