Sheffield's Dr Cryptic has made a home for himself at the Chip Butty label and, if we're honest, we love what he's done with the place. The bass playa is up and knocking around with "Skippy", a UK garage track with a wobbling, moaning piece of bass fit for a low-riding dubstep tune. There's a heap of remixes of the tune: Phatworld plays with the bass and wobbles it to its very limits, Rico Tubbs goes deeper and dubbier on the percussion muscle, Vital Techniques distorts the low frequencies, and Dr Oscillator adds a little old-school flavour to the equation.
Boy, it's their instalment of the This Is Night Bass series and, as always, it's a tight and severely jam-packed bag of pure bass-ridden quality. The rhythm carrying the best part of the release is one that locks into 4/4 mode, but the melodies, low frequencies and vocals contain something seriously UK about them. In fact, if you're looking for purist British house music with a garage flavour then you'v hit the right spot; it's as if these guys have tele transported back to 2000/2001, when the roots of dubstep were being laid-down from the foundations of garage and bassline. YES.
South Coast bass troubadour, Distro, now finds himself back where he started - on Roska's mighty Kicks & Snares imprint. He's on his most commercial form yet, we reckon, with "Nothing To Prove" being a perky UKF sing-along featuring plenty of wobbly carnival vibes. The Roska X Marjora mix steers things into deeper, darker waters - all sublime moods and scattershot beats. Doctor Beat also steps up to the (dub) plate to deliver a heavier bassline assault for those later hours. There's also a sleek instrumental supplied for all those who don't dig the vocals. Win-win!
It's been way too long since we've heard from Polish duo Negativ. Thankfully they're back with a full force EP on another UK label, 887. The VIP mix of "Stealth" starts proceedings with a bang - dark tropical beats with a muscular bass bounce and even a cheeky hardcore break. Elsewhere "Ritual" sounds like Gary Numan's synth guys at a breaks night in Fabric and "Havoc" wraps things up with moody FX, evil bass stabs and tough, tense beats. Great to have them back.
Brighton's up and coming DJ/producer Pavv is back on Southpoint with some truly representative sounds of the UK underground garage sound and after some great releases on Project All Out, In:flux Audio and U Wot Blud? Records. The sexy and wonky title track is no doubt indebted to legends like MJ Cole, but what an impressive tribute; the use of the sampled vocals on this one is sweet. Bushbaby turns in a pretty killer remix of the track too which we dug, adding more swing to the rhythm and some added 'wonk' to the bassline which worked well. Also appearing is "Run Tings" which is more raw, tracky and full of attitude; save this one for later in the night when you want to up the energy level effectively.
If anywhere is providing a credible challenge to Bristol's bass crown, it's Leeds and here we have that city's newest contender, Oliver Livsey, with two new jams on the Second To None label. "Disconnected" is an assured 4 x 4 pounder that neatly twists in some subtle 2-step and dubstep breaks into the mix. "Smoke" on the other hand, sees Livsey collaborate with bass hero Mikey B, and is a super melodic jam with skippy beats, female RnB vocals and accelerated catchy basslines. One to watch!
Despite being renowned as a heady bass label, Slime have a softer side too and here they have taken a chance on serial guest vocalist Lauren Neko. Now with a solo platform of her own, Neko gets the chance to fully shine. "Moments Like This" is a beguiling slice of hazy garage pop with lashings of soft and shimmering instrumentation that allows her silky vocals come to the fore. However the real fun to be had is on Bad Habits' remix which transports us to Ayia Napa circa 2000 for some B-15 Project-style 2-step action.
Ever wondered what kind of sound Roska's Kicks & Snares label champions, or if you do know but haven't time to find the best new releases? Take a chill pill because Roska has rustled up this mini-sampler that compiles highlights from three recent releases. "Grinding" by Tickles starts things off with a virtual orgy of tropical/urban percussion, MA1's "Static" is next, an upfront club jam that presents a deeper, edgier take on the carnival sound and Spectr's "Dance 4 Me" wraps things up with some serious raw beats and distorted RnB vocals.
For their latest release the U Wot Blud crew have searched for fresh talent as far as the Russian Federation! They've found it too in future-forwards duo Sine Step (aka Jack & Beek Chelyabinsk). The Bump & Shake single features two key tracks that reveal the pair's fresh production style, one that's is based around their love of riding the oscillators. The title track is a sparse, mechanical workout with sinewy percussive rhythms, ghetto beats and squelchy synth melodies. "Amnesia" on the other hand, sees 90s trance pads get fussed out over a driving garage jam.