Edinburgh's Hostage is particularly impressive for his ability to craft just about any sort of UK flavoured dance music that you could possibly think of. The man has dabbled with drum & bass, techno, house, and just straight up bass, of course. He's back this week, and he's landed on the Tessier-Ashpool label, home to many a bass licks, and an underrated label that deserves more hype. "NT1" is a true hybrid, a house tune surrounded by semi break beats and warm pads, and the tune is remixed three times by a diverse collection of names. Liar Optimix throws in an appearance, but the heavier action comes from 2ndSun's two reinterpretations. Heavy stuff and most probably the best best yet from Hostage.
London's Modern Ruin hadn't been messing around since their first release, and now the label are back with a hot collaboration between Slime's BSN Posse, and newcomer Stayhigh in what could possibly be one of the label's most soulful and seductive slice of bass weight, as of yet. The opener by BSN Posse, "All My Dreams" is a gorgeous bit of sliding drums and placid vocals, and the follower by Stayhigh, "You're Not Alone", follows in a similar vein except there is more energy and more of a rise in momentum. Check all these cuts out; the moral of the story is that these guys are just simply good at making sidewalk bass music with an elegant, maybe eve jazzy edge.
Murder He Wrote might not have that many bangers to his name in terms of volume, but the fledgling producer can sure conjure up some bass power with his very own 'bass house' moves. "Still Crooked" features Maddie Ellerby on the vocals in what turns out to be a delicious pseudo garage cut with Ibizian kind of flavours, while "Sirens" is darker, nastier and more tribal - not to mention even a little bit more on the acidic side! We're also very much into the "DS9 Riddim" for its subtle swings of jungle, but it's Murder He Wrote's general style and outlook that we're really starting to appreciate. Watch out for this guy on the bass charts!
Warsaw duo appear next on UK bass imprint Saucy with their darkside, industrial strength breaks sound. First track "Vision" sounds like Mathew Jonson's "Decompression" if it was remixed by Meat Katie. It's more straight ahead 4/4 stomp on "Infinite" that is, until, it switches back to trippy early morning breaks; one to unleash once they're really in the zone. "Tethys" sees them team up with Dosage and is a more restrained and atmospheric effort, that lets the beats do most of the talking. Finally the Archive remix of "Infinite" is a right monster with furious sub bass and body bashing beats that showcases the extreme side of UK underground music to impressive effect.
Nina Wilde has had an impressive run of form in 2015, and the young Wolverhampton bass head has landed herself a spot on the UK's excellent Formula imprint after a series of magnetic EP for the likes of Bass=Win and Low Pitched, among others. "Living Dead" is a deadly, slithering bass stormer that sits somewhere between dubstep and house - you can surely imagine what it sounds like. "Hustler", on the other hand, ditches the house and drops in the garage drums, making for another heavy-loaded but of mutant four-to-the-floor. Deadly.
Moveltraxx come correct with the third installment in the Street Bangerz Factory series with a host of wild-eyed floor smashers. Feadz brings the Ed Banger flavoured heat with "Everywhere We Go" in an unstoppable display of edit heavy trickery, while EQ Why takes to the footwork blueprint with a pitch-perfect display of rapid fire tom triggering and some sly Sade sampling. Dudley Slang knows how to keep things bumping along on a more even kill with a chunked-up take on boogie, and then Maribor shows off what happens when you slow down footwork to a downtempo pace. Matching inventive production with a soulful core is no mean feat but all six artists nail the concept across this EP.
PC Music affiliate and rising star SOPHIE is up next on Glasgow's Numbers imprint. Having previously worked with the likes Madonna and LE1F, he brings his already established take on pop to this full length. Somewhere between post UK bass, electro-pop and minimal R&B would be the best way to describe the oddball music on offer here. There's the vocal led pop mutations on "Bipp" and "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye" but not forgetting the gorgeous symphonies on "Elle" . "Lemonade" and "Hard" are proper bass assaults merged with Top 40 sounds if they were on acid; an unholy mixture that somehow works. The album is wildley diverse with "Msmsmsm" merging electro, trap and trance aesthetics in unorthodox methods while towards the end "L.O.V.E." is a beatless and experimental exercise.
Dev79, the Philadelphia bass badman who has brought grime to the US like no other, lands on the Lucky Beard Rec with a new EP, the aptly named Smoked Salt EP. The title track itself is a masterful excursion into the deepest, most cavernous corners of bass music - an artillery of low frequencies swelling and dissipating back into folds of percussion - but "No Dance Routine" is probably the most memorable cut on here, thanks in part to the UK vocal flair of Dread MC. "Gash Out" is a straight-up instrumental grime bullet, and you also get a stripped-down, instrumental version of "No Dance Routine". BAD.
Boothroyd has only put out one EP to his name thus far, but the young beat head has obviously earned himself some attention because he's back and he's on Rinse. The dude is joined by MC's Maxsta and Maniac, and together the trio blast six tracks through with utter ease. "100 Problems" is pure London business, a nasty grime tune like they used to make 'em, "No Retreat" is more broken and experimental", and "Green Light" goes for a hip-hop approach. The aptly named "Mare Street Dickhead" makes reference to the level of the streets these days, "Hood Pharmacist" wins on its sublimely wonky melodies, whereas "Local Splitter" takes piano keys and lays down the vocal truth.
Having previously surfaced on Optimo back in 2014, Shift Work now sidle over to Houndstooth with their crafty take on a modern kind of electro house. "Abandoned Hands" shakes and quivers with chunky bassline synths and fragmented vocals, powered by a technoid urgency and peppered with industrial noise flairs. "SBFM" meanwhile gets into a more edgy mindset with its nagging arpeggio, setting up Factory Floor perfectly for a remix which actually ends up pirouetting into a cyclical slice of abstract techno. DVA Damas meanwhile remixes "Abandoned Hands" and turns it into a slow-creeping pressure cooker of unreleased tension.
Given the quality of Herva's last full-length, the Delsin-released Instant Broadcast, hopes are naturally high for this follow-up on Planet Mu. Kila was apparently produced using hardware and software modified by the Italian producer himself, as well as his usual weird and wonderful array of bizarre but brilliant samples. The result is a distinctive, thrillingly varied set that effortlessly blitzes hip-hop, house, techno, IDM, broken beat, bass music, ambient, glitch-hop and acid-fried electronica into a deliciously wild audio soup. It's arguably a little more soulful and curiously positive than previous outings, but retains his trademark wonkiness. Either way, it's arguably the last great album of 2015.
After first emerging with his cosmic electro project back in 2009, King Britt is back on Hyperdub after last year's The Phoenix album with a short but sweet collection of blissed out beat-scuffing business. "Sonic Six" is a true heavens-scraper with its dense layers of broken beats and wistful key lines, loaded with emotive intent and crushing bass. "Faith" meanwhile takes the scenic route through twinkling arpeggios and swooping pads over a blissful 12 minutes, before "Past" meanders into some strange soundtrack-ready excursions of the highest calibre. It's another stark and surprising artistic statement from one of Britt's most adventurous aliases, and it sits just right on Hyperdub.