Desiccated, mnmlst, grey area D&B incursions from Levl, leading on from appearance on Hidden Hawaii with a debut for Warp’s Arcola sublabel
Pushing classic D&B frameworks further into the murk than even the UVB-76 cru, the three tracks are an exercise in meditative energy conservation, keeping everything tucked in and menacing by inference, not physicality.
‘Arcola #1’ is empty dancefloor warm-up gear for when it’s just he DJ and the ghosts, while ‘Arcola #2’ also keep the energy level tensely suppressed, and ‘Arcola #3’ is all trimmed attack and tip-toed steppers motion.
Pivotal Amsterdam producers Aroy Dee and Ma Spaventi double down on a romantic house tip
Marking up their first collaboration, following a split 12” in 2012 and many solo M>O>S joint between, ‘The Way We Love’ lays down a firm groove for lovely, soft focus pads and aching vocals in the title tune, while the ‘Reprise’ shed the beat to gorgeous, late ‘90s effect.
‘The Way We Move’ cuts shades deeper on the B-side with bruised kick drum anchoring elegiac pads, sculpted square bass and choral progressions like a really moody Larry Heard joint, which Spaventi cools out with a lovely, dawning rework.
Strategy returns to Bristol’s dandy Idle Hands label for a 3rd round of debonaire bass music
‘Tropical Storm’ rolls and swangs on a warped garage bass ballast with glancing 2-step drums and warmly dubbed-out nods to AGCG and 808 State, whereas ‘Evolu’ drops down a gear or three for a dusky, strolling sort of deep house swing.
Pessimist comes in from the dark with two dreadnoughts on his freshly-minted, self-titled label
The first proper follow-up to his ‘Pessimist’ album follows down dank alleys of crushing breakbeats and fetid drones in both parts. Think Rob D meets The Underdog in an abandoned warehouse kinda vibes.
A-side, he rolls out rugged and scowling drones for a proper into-the-‘00s feel on ’SPRTLZM’, before the B-side reinforces that aesthetic with a more gutted sound design, leaving ghostly traces of breaks mired in treacly subbass pressure, waiting for a DJ to blend in on the offbeat...
Manchester techno hero Claro Intelecto reflects on the city’s rave heritage with a mix of dewy-eyed nostalgia and deeply rugged heft
‘For Thunderdome’ gives it up for the OG Manchester hardcore club (not the Gabber holyland!) with typically gnarled acid and bruxist bass pressure; the crushed drums of ‘Sniffer Dogs’ nails the clenched tension of waiting in line; ‘Messages’ twirls feathered dub chords into ‘floor-swilling square bass; and ‘Sirens’ evokes the the effect of hearing the main room form outside, perhaps on approach to the club or locked in a K-hole inside.