Boomkat Product Review:
Renegade dubstep mavericks Shackleton and Appleblim finally commit their Skull Disco back catalogue onto a shiny digital format
Skull Disco have kept us right on the edge of our seats with a timely succession of mould breaking, vinyl only releases and the odd exclusive dub to really get our bones going (read any of our past reviews for some serious gush love). I distinctly remember two summers ago having my head twisted sideways by the first Skull Disco 12", confounded as to where to slot this thunderous slice of dubstep warfare into my DJ sets, finally settling at the realisation that it was a truly stand alone 12" that deserved to be played from start to finish, on both sides.
This helped place the Skull Disco sound in a very special place, right next to Rhythm and Sound 12"s, in front of the mutamassik 12" on Soot, and sandwiched between the first two DMZ 12"s and first couple of hyperdubs, at that time, a hallowed spot indeed. In a steady stream ever since, the Skull Disco clan have constantly upped the ante with each new installment, with the contrasting sonic personalities of Shackleton and Appleblim chasing the dubstep dragon deeper into their own personal visions, with Shackleton heading on a deeply percussive journey into the mid-East territories on 'Hamas Rule' or the pan generic, peerless low-end melancholy of the astonishing 'Blood on my hands', and belying a strangely coincidental fascination with the sonic possibilities of this turbulent part of the globe with his Lancashire counterpart Bryn Jones a.k.a Muslimgauze.
While on the flipsides Appleblim continued to forge a headstrong and unique dubstep expression with tracks like 'Girder' or 'Fear' owing as much to Monolake as the Bristol and FWD sounds he is heavily involved with. This serious love for Berlin's techno dub heritage from T++ to the Basic Channel axis, a sound very dear to our own hearts, has culminated in a cross pollination with the awesome Ricardo Villalobos mix of Shackleton's biggest 'hit', in the form of an 18 minute trip into opiated minimalism given birth by one of the only characters who could really handle it.
From a shared palette of sounds, influences and ideas Shackleton and Appleblim have developed a fierce arsenal of future Soundsystem weapons showcased on the second disc with the Villalobos mix of 'Blood on my hands', tracks for the excellent Mordant music crew, and the jackin stepper for HotFlush 'New Dawn', alongside Appleblim's previously unreleased 'Gold and Silver'. Adorned with Zeke's definitve artwork, this is the full Skull Disco package, brimming with character and primed for summer listening and delivering Soundboy Punishments right, left and centre.