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Reviewed this week
Here we have clash of the Bristolian titans with rising R&B dude Conducta hooking up with bass man Notion for the long awaited "Felt This Way". This title track has a retro-futuristic 2-step vibe about it, with echoes of the early work of Craig David and Artful Dodger (officially no longer a bad thing). On the digital flip, "Vague" is a dirtier affair - all nasty bass undulations, pitched vocal snippets and sparse, high-rise beats. Fresh.
Noisia's Division operation deliver their very first multi-artist EP featuring far-out bass tests from the likes of Monuman (AKA northern D&B upstart Emperor), Signs, ARKTKT, Ponicz and JNTHN STEIN. Not a well-travelled road in sight; each act delivers something resoundingly fresh and exciting : Noisia & Ivy Lab get insanely lopsided, Monuman digs a filthy bass grave before lifting us to the heavens with evocative chords, Signs gets the motor running with an array of twisted engine samples while ARKTKT activates a spacey trap mode, all bouncy and gravity-free. Last but not least, Ponicz shreds up with a toxic instrumental hip-hop swag while JNTHN STEIN kidnaps a rainbow then pushes it down the stairs... In the same way Division push the envelope.
An instigator returns: Tectonic bossman lays down a sweet-shuffling garage-minded drum arrangement with more than enough space for Rico Dan to do his damage. Wait for the bass to really rip mid-way. As Rico says himself "original badboy business". "No Justice" brings up the rear. A scratchy, spatially dizzying stepper coded with all manner of spooked out designs, it's clear Pinch is in his element right now... Long may this continue.
Never content to just trot out generic bass bangers, Spekktrum always seeks to push things forward. "Electronic Music" is no different being a spacey rhythm trip peppered with classic interview clips of ravers in their defiant youth. "Need Your Love" really takes his percussion skills to new heights, with various metallic effects ricocheting off each other in fine style. "Witness" is the darkest offering here - all break beats and wobble bass. A real standout however, is Spooky collaboration "House Of Haunted Horrors", which features a mean, dubby groove and an otherworldly breakdown.
Mssingno has been missing from our charts for a while, and it was his EP last time around that really shook our bones, and got our bass needs pumping away like a kick drum. His return has been hotly awaited, and it comes through the big n' bad Xl Recordings, home to only the best cuts around. Here, we got "Dead", the title track "Fones", "Inta", and "Scope", four bass melters that stray towards house, but without leaving the low frequency junkies dissatisfied. If you're into the material that comes out via labels like Ninja Tune, FWD, or even some of Werk Discs' output, then look no further, Mssingno is the right call this week. Heavy and sleek.
Straight outta Shanghai, Swimful splashes down with an album sized bounty of beats. With heat picking up on both sides of the hemisphere, his Chinese wave grime fusion couldn't be more refreshing if it shoved you under a waterfall with a mouthful of extra strong mints. As teased with his recent remake of Wiley's classic "Shanghai", the whole set is paradoxically loaded with dense melodic layers (much of which contain traditional phrases, instruments and chords) and black holes of space. The result is a narrative that ebbs and flows from sublime beatless pastoral bliss ("Fisherman's Horizon") to loopy flute-blasting purple funk ("Atop") via sexy cosmic R&B circa 3016 ("Go!"). Lap it up.
Although a relatively new name on the scene, Inkline has hit the ground running with solid, killer dance cuts that don't' mess about. "Shard" is a lacerating slice of tough and techy 4x4 with a little garage bounce for good measure. The title track meanwhile, is even more merciless, with deep bass judders and snappy snares. People get ready to move!
Leeds producer Joedan made a name for himself on the great Influx:Audio a while ago, and his effective d&b hybrids have been pleasing us ever since. He's up on F2 for his latest appearance, and he's in more of a garage mode than anything else, serving up an old-school rocker with a 4/4 beat and Chiverton's dangerous vocals on top of it - the main hook is instantly seductive...the inimitable "Lower My Glasses". "Tuff", on the other hand, goes for the jugular thanks to its mutant bass swarm, broken beats and heads - down flavour.
The newcomer Akito might only be on his first release to date, but his style and groove fit perfectly well both within the contemporary bass game, and also into Tight Knit's illustrious sound. These five tunes are a mid line between grime, old school dubstep, and the sort of shady house coming out of labels like Black Acre or ClekClekBoom. Out favourites are the opener "Catching Feels" for its gunshot percussion, the tribal claps and drums of "Codeine Claps", and the broken groove that jumps around the eerie melodies of "Degrade Disgracefully". Killah.
You know those really stompy 4/4 bass tunes that could have easily been produced since 2005 and always work on the dancefloor? This. Strutting speed garage drums, a paranoid bassline that rises and rises without a care for your sanity and cheeky vocal chops ensure this Finnish creation's golden bullet status. Hey, it's not called "Big Bad Tune" for no reason. Remix-wise Matt Craig softens the blow just a tad for groove's sake while Teknian & ZeroZero and 1point5 lay down rubs of "Red Sun". The former deliver a crisp D&B refix, the latter go all My Nu Leng with a heads-down warpy house twist. Badness.
South London's King of 'African driven bass music' is back with two new remarkable tracks, "Lockdown" and "Glacier". Both are produced with the kind of precise, clinical expertise normal seen in keyhole surgeons. The former is all digital ripples in shimmering synth pools and pristine beats, whilst the latter mixes pan pipe riffs, night jungle percussion and vocal moans. Holloway's remix ups the percussive elements whilst stripping a lot of the rest away, and Majora gets deep and trippy with the title track.
Italian 'Afro-Futurist beatmaker' Khalab and revered Malian musician and Griot, Baba Sissoko, combined forces last year for their eponymous LP. Such was the reaction to the record we now get some extra remixes of "Bognya" for our listening please. Clap! Clap! Opts for sublime and synth Afro-house, whilst the LV mix is all brooding bass, warped vocals and bleeps-a-go-go.
Remember Guy Gerber's seminal "Hate/Love" tune that was out on his own Supplemental Facts in the deep house hey-day? And remember the vocals on top of it? Yes, that was Dawn Richard, and she's back with her own show and tell for Local Action. Not Above that is far from house music, and instead takes more from juke, dubstep and London's genreless 'bass'. Put it this way, its pop music with a heavy electronic edge...but really heavy.
Feast on, chow down, tuck in, grub's up: Lenkemz has dropped the release of his life right here. A proper mixtape packed exclusively with his own productions. It ranges from trap made on Jupiter with nothing but a case of Buckfast for sustenance ("Play") to bone-fearing demonic Detroit poetics from XDeathx ("Skeletons") to slo-mo sweet carnie dreams ("Ginty"). That's the tip of the mainly instrumental iceberg, this is Lenkemz at his broadest, wildest and most accomplished. Also available in pink cassette... In case the sounds aren't unique enough.
Black Acre seems to be the perfect spot for Memotone to get his singular sonic dystopia through to us, and indeed the label has truly become the perfect sort of birthing ground for artists to transform bass concoctions into weirder, more surreal sound explorations. This one-off single "Your Eyes My Teeth" is exactly the sort of thing we're yearning these days, and it's lo-fi, mystical take on house is bang on target to please both the dance lovers and indie junkies; we bet it sounds killer played at full blast, too. Hotly tipped and warmly recommended.
The shady, balaclava-sporting Badjokes is back with a new musical assault, this time on the appropriately named Arcane label. There are three cuts to get your teeth into here - the ravey cut-ups and buzz saw bass of the title track, the tough Mr Fever collaboration "How We Do It" and the menacingly minimal tech-attack "Drop It Down". Finally Ditta Dumont steps up to explode "How We Do It" into an electronic meltdown. Not for the faint hearted!
Exclusives
NONKEEN - The Gamble (R&S)
DENHAM AUDIO - Fractal EP (Heretic) - exclusive 22-02-2016
JOEDAN - Lower My Glasses/Tuff (F2) - exclusive 12-02-2016
Exclusives
NOISIA/IVY LAB/MONUMAN/SIGNS/ARKTKT/PONICZ/PONICZ/JNTHN STEIN - Division VA 001 EP (Division Recordings)
MSSINGNO - Fones (XL)
MADDSLINKY - Hammerhead (Aquatic Lab)
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