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SWITCH GENRE
 
Reviewed this week
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Having previously impressed with a trio of fine EPs and a similarly well-regarded album on Hyperdub some years back, Walton makes the move to Pinch's Tectonic imprint. He kicks things off with the grizzled, post-dubstep sparseness of "Wrench", all thunderous riddims, spooky electronics and spaced-out hits. There's an almost broken beat feel about the mangled grooves, pulsating sub and twittering melodies of "Flute Riddim", while the title track sees him go deep into heavyweight bass territory via drawn-out electronic textures, ragga vocal samples and bouncing beats. He closes proceedings with "L.E.A.N", a deeper, more ghostly trip full of crystalline electronics and spaced-out, half-step beats.
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Blimey! London's Mike Delinquent steps out of his usual Champion home and he's brought along the legendary MC Neat with him on the ones and twos, for the newly founded Zeus Sound. The two have conjured four cuts of their new "Hype Ting" cut, the club and radio mixes being the two floor-fillers, a pair of UK garage steppers that take us back to the early noughties when the likes of Oxide & Neutrino were churning out tunes. You also get a deeper dub mix of the original, leaving room for the percussion to flex, and an instrumental, for the DJs.
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Amon Tobin calls these six tracks 'rhythms'... Bit of an understatement; we would rather describe these cuts as pure evidence that there is still so much more potential and room to explore bass music, sound design and instrumental hip-hop than most people assume. But that's not such a snappy title. Bottom line: Each cut is right at the boundaries of various genres and oozes dense, uncompromising textures that show more and more layers on every listen. Highlights include the Radioactiveman style breakbeat sword-slayer "Adrian's Rhythm" and the daft counter play of bass tones and processes on "Cashew Rhythm" but, in all honesty, there's not a dull moment throughout. Welcome back Two Fingers... Don't leave it so long next time!
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This latest missive from Denver's Ultra Bass sees Bracknell duo Coity & Rykennon on a mission to revive 'the golden days of garage music'. The original take of "Lover" cleverly infuses the traditional open hi-hats, chopped vocals and plinky-plonk organ riffs of vintage garage with a more pumping, muscled-up house vibe -complete with epic breakdown. Their VIP mix ups a gear into speedier territory with a looser, lower bassline, whilst Thorn wraps things up with the piano laden, multi rhythmic deep cut that's easily the EPs stand out mix.
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Paleman is back on Loefah's Swamp 81 with two dread sides of bassweight and much like his previous efforts for the label, this is true UK hybrid business of the highest calibre. We use "highest" in every sense of the word as the title track "Like O" is a smoky, gun-toting piece of rudeboy minimalism straight from the gutter. "Dining & Bar" is similarly icy and broken but the vibe is more docile, less paranoid and enjoys a softer kind of 'high'.
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It has to be said that the combining of the terms 'night' and 'bass' does create an extra heady image of nefarious nocturnal shenanigans. Night Bass is a Los Angeles party, the popularity of which proves that America, currently in the early throes of EDM mania, is starting to look deeper for their dancefloor kicks. This compilation, featuring both new and established talent, captures their scene perfectly - highlights including the atmospheric tech-house meets bassline joint "Wild Fire" by Jack Beats, the sparse clickety-clack heavy bass house of "Gloom" by Jay Robinson and Taiki Nulight's staccato hip-house-step bouncer "Checking Out Time".
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With releases by Manni Dee, Dan White and Chairman Kato, Shaded Recordings is slowly becoming a label that demands attention. This is the third time Duct has appeared on the label, and this time the producer is give a healthy dose of remixes. This six-track EP sees two originals - the trippy "It's Jungle" and wonky "Love Without Forgiveness" - reworked by label mates Manni Dee, and Sieren while Flux takes on the former to create a gnarly club cut. Manni Dee delivers the EP some warehouse techno in his remix to the latter but it's Sieren 's broken beat techno take on "Love Without Forgiveness" which impresses most - that's if you don't like the stripped back classicalism of "Lament".
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It's about time someone did a bass/wine pairing session... And it's down to rising Birmingham tech monster Toni to show us how it's done. With its silky tech finish, juicy low end and ability to fit into house, bass and tech sets, "Merlot" genuinely live up to its name; smooth, fruity and versatile. The same comparisons can be made with "Rioja" without being tenuous, too... Its classic garage vocal chops give it that classic oak aged vibe while its melting pot of genres (garage, bass, house, tech) can be likened to the wine's reputation for many subtle flavours. Wine and grind!
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Funkstorung have been releasing acid-driven techno since the mid 1990's and although they've kept a below-commercial status over the last few years, they certainly haven't gone anywhere. Germany's Monkeytown welcomes them back to the surface of the scene with their latest LP, a fourteen-track journey through vast planes of electronica and sparse bass explorations. Compared to their older material, tracks like "IATC", "So Simple" featuring Jamie Lidell, and "CHNNL" are considerably softer and more pensive, opting instead to delve into your mind by means of melody and soulfulness rather than brute beat anger. A breath of fresh air!
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Tessier-Ashpool's output sits so firmly and fairly between bass and techno that it owns a passport for both genres. Pretty much every release serves the imprint's duality well, but Aussie Ezekiel Rhodes has definitely compounded this rep even further. "Viscous" nods gravely at the classic electro elements while paying full attention to the sub. "Thermal" is a straight-up loopy, riff-focused tech jam that sounds like a Drumcode record but slowed right down and with switchy broken beats, "Saline" is ridiculously spacious and oozing so much strange you may not remember your own name by the time you get to the end of the track while "Adhesive" closes the show with brutal LFO-style bass plunges, foggy pads and a toxic slo-mo halftime D&B groove. If these constitute the seventh substance, we want to sample the last six too.
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The Enchufada label, expertly spear-headed by the now legendary Buraka Som Sistema, cuts to the chase with the fifth edition of its Upper Cuts series, an anthology of strictly bass-weighted Portuguese bumpers. This time we have the likes of Motin and Symbiz doing their thing, and DJ NK's "Agua De Coca" steals the spotlight with its fluttering melodies and skippy beats in that inimitable Lisbon flavour. We're also feeling Chuck Upbeat's "Jungle Alive", a mid-tempo break jam for the big sound systems. Tropical, wild and recommended.
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Lucian O'Neill aka The Colonel lands firmly upright on the excellent In:Flux Audio with a bunch of hybrid tracks spanning pretty much every UK genre to date. "Bad To The Bone", for instance, is a break-ridden, trombone-led piece of two-step magic, while "Where Are We going?" is a wobbly slice of UK garage surrounded by sci-fi melodies, and "Confused Face" takes grime and spins it around its neck to create a veritable slice of electronic fusion. A similar in-out through dubstep, grim and garage is reserved for "No We Don't" and the excellent "Dem Ah Holla" featuring JPoet on the ones and twos. This stuff's red hot, check it!
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In 2012 Joe Amaral started becoming immersed in his local Toronto club scene. Inspired by the bleeding edge sounds he was hearing, he quickly started making music on a similar tip. Now we have "Interchanger", his latest tune backed up with a further four sizzling mixes. The original is a game-changing new interpretation of classic bass music - rolling snares, fizzy synth stabs and celestial, shimmering chimes. Elsewhere we get a start-stop half time bass growler from ASMR, perky and light feel-good beats from Lamont Dex, a wobbly stomper from Strange Rollers, whilst Ochtone ups the synth quota on his interpretation.
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Is this the end? It seems like this seventh edition of Demdike Stare's dancefloor brutalising Testpressing series is the final installment "for the time being", bringing to a close a rather vicious succession of rugged club killers and noisy experimental tracks dating back to 2013. If this is indeed the final one, Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker end Testpressing proceedings on a high note with another two track single that's up there with the best in the series. Up top "Rathe" begins in heavenly fashion before a sea of white noise brings about a left turn into AFX style distorted half step jungle - wait for the break at the 3 minute mark! It's matched by "Patchwork" which sees a deftly sliced vocal sample from a Wookie classic bounced around the channels as Canty and Whittaker draw vicious lines in the ground with a razor sharp 2 step pattern.
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CCSIR have developed a really exciting reputation since launching two years ago. Inviting Lyon-based Chaams to the fray only compounds this status further. The title track alone sums up the label and Chaams' inventive spirit as it smelts elements of classic electro, trap and pristine pianos with ease and consistency. Further on we hit Two Fingers style sound design and spatial explorations on "Mind Release", we get seasick with lazers and twisted sample manipulation on "Symbiot" and get plunged into the 80s with the synth odyssey that is "All No Thing".
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Steel City soul: Rising northern grimer Coco and Toddla T fine tune their sights for the dance with this bounce-heavy shotter. Coco's lyrical wit is razor sharp with every word landing a punch over the bulbous steppy rhythm while the bass grows and grows with equal amounts of clarity and menace. Complete with an instrumental, it's yet another bullseye from Girls Music.
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Copout stomps his way through the bass works with a follow up EP after his debut on Freshmore, this time for the neo-grime outlet Liminal Sounds. There's four sweltering bass hoppers on here, starting with the gutter-friendly "Further", then bringing forth the percussive beat muscle on "Slate", going across pacman sounds on "Timecode", and ending on a moodier reprise mix of "Further", a serious piece of pensive bass weight for the corner dwellers. Bash 'em!
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Dust off your air violins! Nomis is back and he's pushing a little culture upon us with "Theatre". Minimal orchestral with toxic subs, it's exactly the type of culture we find enlightening. "Parade" and "Feelings" both continue the message of depth, sombreness and organic instrumentation but on spacious two-step flexes a la Phaeleh. Finally we hit remix city with a slower and synth-heavy shake-up of "Theatre" from Arma. On point.
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Newcomer John Vogh launches missile number seventeen for the Highlife label with five broken and shuffling pieces of half-step beat science. From "Four Roses" to "Don't Trust", the grooves slither away among the deep and subby low-ends which hold the tracks together. "Downtown" is also worth a check and it's glitchy rhythm is tightly packed among the woozy melodies. If you're into the Hessle sound then you might want to check this stuff! Lil' tip for ya!
Exclusives
MORRETI, Toni	 - Wine List (Four40) - exclusive 06-07-2015
SCRILLA, Danny - True Sight EP (Cosmic Bridge) - exclusive 01-07-2015
RHODES, Ezekiel - Seventh Substance (Tessier-Ashpool Recordings) - exclusive 13-07-2015
Exclusives
FUNKSTORUNG - Funkstorung (Monkeytown Germany)
WALTON - Bulldoze (Tectonic)
GENERAL LUDD - Rare Earth Metal EP (Ten Thousand Yen)
Rico Tubbs DJ Chart
Top Billin Soundsystem DJ Chart
PVC DJ Chart
Jamie George DJ Chart
Top Labels
hyperdub
houndstooth
keysound
Hessle Audio
tectonic