After the rip-roaring cocktail of acid house futurisms that made up Reeling Skullways, Bass Clef is back once again to tap into that fertile geyser of 4/4 creativity for the first track on this single on Idle Hands. With the drums bouncing in a playful furore across its breadth, "Dawn Chorus Pedal" represents the widest possible stretch of house with swing, but really it's the rich and glutinous bassline that makes this track an instant classic. In contrast, "You Don't Know Don't Know You" is a more introspective affair decorated in detailed layers of percussion but pressing forth on a weighty half-step beat. With synths ranging from frazzled to soothing and a plaintive piano providing a more thoughtful side to the track, it's far from a typical dubstep track.
Aside from sporting the finest, bushiest beard in dance music, Ralph "Bass Clef" Cumbers has long been a producer with more ideas than most. Just as capable of making thrilling, bass-heavy floor fillers as quirky dubstep and oddball electronica, he's made a career out of surprising listeners at every turn. This latest album - his first for Peverelist's Punch Drunk imprint - is a good case in point. Having seemingly tired of straight-up dubstep and bass music (for now, at least), Cumbers turns his attention to linear electronics, classic Detroit techno and stargazing electronica, laying down a series of delightfully melodic compositions that arguably rank among his best to date. The album's forthright positivity is its most startling feature; clearly, "Clef" is in a good place right now.
After seriously impressing with the debut sounds of Andy Mac last time round, Bristol imprint Punch Drunk step it up a notch further with this monumental release from Bass Clef. The local hero turned Hackney import graces our shelves with his first release in 2011 and it's totally been worth the wait, unveiling the rather glorious sounds of "Rollercoasters Of The Heart". There's an undeniably throwback nod to the euphoric days of rave gone by thanks to the swirls of lysergia tinged stabs and stretched out vox, but it's how Bass Clef marries them to a crisp groove of rolling sub bass and crisp off kilter house drums that has us hooked. Complementing this, "So Cruel" brings the mood down markedly, revolving around a half time swagger and bouncing subs dipped in purple menace which are the perfect foil for the requisite looped up chanteuse. It's the searing synth flourishes that jettison through the track without announcement that lift "So Cruel" to somewhere near the title track in our affections.
Although Peverelist's Punch Drunk has taken a back seat to his Livity Sound endeavours this year, the label's third release maintains its strong run of form. Seeing the label return to Reeling Skullways, Bass Clef's excellent album for them last year which was a considered highlight of 2012 for many people, the interstellar sounding album track "Stenaline Metranil Solar Flare" is the subject, remixed here by both Pev and Bass Clef himself. The latter's revision sees it taking on a weighty yet broken techno framework, with the producer's modular setup working overtime across its restless bassline and otherworldly sonic textures. Pev opts to transform it into a patient Bristol house jam in the style of his dubbed out collaboration with Hodge earlier this year. This digital version also includes the original version, and an expansive, hi-fidelity reworking by Coseph Jonrad, which acts as a nice contrast to its beat-focused counterparts.
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