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Reviewed this week
$1.39
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Alix Perez on Exit? That's enough to make most D&B aficionados froth at the mouth. Throw in collabs with the equally hot Stray and two of footwork's most demonstrative players and you've got a release so cool it comes with its own beard. "U" is a rifle-like jitter-jam of cuts and chops, all massages together to juke glue. "Sludge", meanwhile, lives up to its name in every way. A funky post-dubstep downbeat strutter, it wonks as hard as it works. The truly unique "Make It Worth", meanwhile, is an eerie stepper that morphs from subtle to stately drama with a Detroit style heaviness and a grime vocal loop. Finally we hit "Gully Halves" which, as the title suggests, is a waspy paranoid bassline on a dark stroppy halfstep. Four incredible future jams from the Shogun superstar... This is next level business.
$1.49
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With their influences ranging from chart-baiting house music to skippy garage and deeper moods, Nu Era stride forth on their debut single for Four40 as representatives of the West Midlands scene. "Give It All" screams crossover appeal with its canny mix of vocals, strings and chords precision placed for maximum ear-worming, while the "Bass Mix" brings a much ruder underground twist on the track. "Came Into My Life" rides a more electro influenced beat but keeps the cheerful melodic elements and chipmunk vocal slices present and correct, leaving it to "Source" to bring a techno edge to proceedings with its nasty synth line and strict 4/4 jack.
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Oh hello, some fresh Djrum material from Felix Manuel on 2nd Drop here and it's the first of two separate releases from the producer put out this week. Essentially Manuel's first original music since last year's debut album Seven Lies, 2nd Drop are presenting The Miracle and Ode collectively as a third Djrum "suite" for the label following the previously issued Mountains and Watermark 12"s. The Miracle reminds you just how ambitious Manuel can be as a producer with the fifteen minute track spreading its wings across two halves, and moving gracefully between DJ Krush-style hip hop and intricate drum and bass programming.
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Croydon crusader Deft continues to flourish in the future beat hinterland with two more startlingly crisp and distinctive jams. "Emeralds" sparkles with diamond-like distinction as deep-seeded harmonies provide the ideal bedrock for a breath-taking arpeggio. "A Little Kiss" shows Deft's darker side as the lolloping beats slur across the rich bass amidst an array of unpredictable FX and processes. Elsewhere we pop and pump to the timeless house groove of "Octavia" and unleash our inner junglist to the footwork fused "Perky". The grass is always greener? Not on Deft's lush lawn it's not.
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Falty DL's Brooklyn-based label Blueberry steps up with a new offering from hitherto unknown producer Luke Warm, whose style of production makes a snug fit with his label boss' own plush broken beat style. "Daydreamin'" snakes through Vibert-style sampling fun and games while keeping a suitably whimsical tone to the track through its choice of chords and harmonies. "Brockley Spears" is a more extrovert breakbeat funk roller, working plenty of old-skool hip hop cuts into the mix and making for a tidy party worker. "Instant Vibe" takes some definite influence from Wagon Christ style synth lines, while the funky groove is certainly not far that peppy brand of Ninja Tune beats. "Party Piece" rounds the EP off with some rude bass dominating the mix of loose and limber drum licks.
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The one like Tony Quattro returns to Trouble & Bass with a scorcher of a three-tracker. We don't really know how to describe his sound apart from absolutely banging - all three tunes are total winners but the prime cut has to be the title track, which features a jittering, gnarly, oscillating electrolyte bassline penetrating through the mix like a dagger. Check it!
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Emergent London duo, Mounter & Mifi open their Losing Suki account with a telling manifesto for their self styled 'Analog Rave Music' which previously saw a worthy outing the Save You Records imprint. Those partial to a bit of rude garage will delight in the heavy stepper "Temper" where jagged basslines and loose 2 step rhythms clash with jacked up beats and some decidedly strange vocal samples. "Fiercely Pretty" is indeed pretty fierce, and demonstrates Mounter & Mifi know how to craft a bassline that repeatedly jabs away at your gut, whilst "Feel Ha" is perhaps the rudest production here - all jump up drums tumbling over Reese style bass lines.
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London bass night and label Church return with their first offering of 2014 and the first original material from resident Apes. Putting into practice the methods learnt on a bunch of remixes for Church, "Two Thousand Six" finds Apes ploughing the kind of weighty, heavily swung techno that is so popular right now, and is complemented well by the warmth and subtlety brought to the table on Chaos In The CDB's subsequent remix. If the main track is all about immediacy and power, then the other Apes original "Cold Love" shows a calmer side to his production palette, and is notable for some orgasmic male vocal sampling. Fellow Churchman Seb Wildblood ends proceedings with a doleful, melodically driven remix of "Cold Love".
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Pinch's new vessel for the darker side of the dance officially cements its existence with this sturdy compilation that draws on a limited cast of characters for a focused lecture on how to keep things icy and heavy in the splintered dubstep scene. Acre brings industrial tones and jungle breaks to bear in spartan environments, while Ipman channels murky techno and gnarly sound design to vicious and paranoid ends. Batu's offerings follow on neatly from his Dnuos Ytivil appearance and Elmono brings some more colourful elements into oddly moody environments, while Pinch's own efforts find him taking his sound into playfully eerie headspaces that should freak out the dance admirably.
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Loops Haunt, aka Dundee-based producer Scott Douglas Gordan, has been cultivating his own brand of crepuscular electronica for the past five years, with his intermittent output finding a home on Bristol label Black Acre. Gordan seems to have gravitated closer to the album format with every release, 2012's five track Zenith was somewhere between LP and EP, so it's little surprise to see his latest Black Acre release fully embracing the album format. Some eleven tracks long, Exits is apparently designed to be listened to in one sitting, and we presume with the curtains drawn and some stiff Scotch for company.
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Hard-working experimental dubstep types Downliners Sekt are masters of the deep, woozy, claustrophobic groove. This third full length - their first for acclaimed French imprint Infine - is jam-packed with such moments of smoky goodness, all soft-focus rhythms, dubwise chords and long-drawn out pads. It's intoxicating, all right, and evokes hazy memories of sitting in smoke-filled rooms early in the morning, feeling strangely in tune with the bubbling, off-kilter rhythms seeping from the speakers. Highlights are pleasingly plentiful, from the jumpy dreaminess of "This American Life" and vintage Hyperdub deepness of "Eiger Dreams", to the cascading pianos and field recordings of "Junior High" and tough, dancefloor-focused "Once Mercurial".
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Routine rowdy joker of the bass-driven electronica scene, Otto Von Schirach is never one to bore you with his music, and so it is on this short but sweet two-tracker for Monkeytown. "Tipo Tropical" unsurprisingly features plenty of sun-baked calypso styles in amongst the silly vocal turns and gut-punching b-lines, but for all the comedy in the track it's utterly deadly in its execution, making a fine tribute to Miami bass (and Knightrider) in the process. "La Plancha" has a more hyped-up tempo, but no less nonsense worked into its bones. The animal sounds alone keep things decidedly ridiculous, but then you were never hoping for some sensible and serious music from this cat right?
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Often dubbed 'The Mighty Clueless' (or so he says), this producer was there on the frontline of the future garage wars a few years back. He takes his time mind, you wouldn't want to be expecting more than a couple of releases a year from him, but when he does drop a new tune, everyone sits up and listens. Last year speakers were banging out his sultry VIP mix of "Secret Love". Now L2S have commissioned a string of new mixes including some scattered, icy beats from Whistla, dubby 2-step from Lojt and some warm fuzziness from Pledge. Safe.
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While her name carries a decent amount of clout these days, Nightwave has still been quite sparing with the amount of material she has released, but now she's back with the rip-roaring firepower of new single Hit It on her own Heka Trax imprint. As her music continues to embrace all manner of attitude laden ghetto business it makes perfect sense that she would link up with the likes of Dance Mania veteran DJ Deeon, and the resulting "Hit It" comes on like a limber modern update of the finest ghetto tech, cheeky lyrics and all. "Fire Hoes" meanwhile takes a ravier stance full of hyped up synth turns and some hard as nails drum hits while "Scooter" does a mean job of slapping trancey synth lines about the chops with a crisp trap beat.
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Nodding to the resurgence of dark and edgy grime, Rinse snap up this EP from Celestial Trax which makes a more bold interpretation of the icy subtleties of Wen and co. "No More" treads on nervy string stabs and gun shot samples that dart around the mix with that agoraphobic amount of space that typifies the newer strains of the genre. "Wax Forest" moves away from gritty urbanisms towards a more esoteric, electronica influenced soundworld, but without losing the concurrent atmospheric tones from the opening track. "Blockx" meanwhile gets crafty with a snappy rhythm and some tense string notes, while "Sinner" lets a little trap influence loom over the drums, and "Sutekh" settles for the most dank and oppressive of vibes on the whole EP. "A Cross" brings a wry finish to proceedings with an approximation of jungle tropes completely repositioned in the curious world that Celestial Trax inhabits.
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Burgeoning half-step D&B producer Epilleptech steps up to Terra Null with this immersive EP of psychoactive rhythms and pulses that carry the torch from the Autonomic days. "Nyctophobia" does a fine job of dirtying up its basslines while all around patter crisp drum lines and spooky atmospherics, before "Natural Selection" heads into a more overtly unhinged head space that revolves around an existential speech sample. "Peru" goes down its own path into intricate percussive lines with a tribal twist about them, both spiritual and menacing in the same bar, and then "Premonition" delivers the finishing blow with a slow-paced lurch leaving all the more room for the bass to growl out.
Exclusives
EPILLEPTECH - Nyctophobia EP (Terra Null Recordings)
LUKE WARM - Instant Vibe EP (Blueberry)
JUSTIN MARTIN/EATS EVERYTHING -Hello Mr Jello (Dirtybird US)
Exclusives
DJRUM - The Miracle (2nd Drop)
CELESTIAL TRAX - Paroxysm EP (Rinse)
NU ERA - Give It All (Four40) - exclusive 21-04-2014
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