The second London/NYC Transatlantic session within four months; it's clear the fusion between the two city's labels is healthy, creative and ultimately fertile. Highlights across this international modern bass romp include the delicate jazz samples of Matt Deco's spacious stepper "Absent Minder", the juicy digidub bubbles and woozy horns of Dubsworth & Tapa's "Backflipper", Bakir's percussive snake-hip wriggler "Hyperion" and the breezy hums, distant yearns and dampened rim shots of Jobanti's "Afrique".
The second single to land ahead of Spectrasoul's highly-anticipated sophomore set The Mistress, "Shelter" emanates the duo's most sensitive, touching sides. Leaning heavily on a woozy half beat, full focus on placed on Lily's yearning, heart-torn vocals. D&B doesn't get any more emotional than this. Remix-wise Two Inch Punch lays down a darker, barbed beats twist with a treacle-thick slo-mo stomp while Spectrasoul themselves jump on the VIP with a 170 refix that's tailored for prime time floor flattening. The full package.
DJ Zinc's Bingo Bass chalks up its third Structures releases and it comes from the main man himself; Benjamin Pettit's long awaited return is taking shape. Prior to these Structures releases, Zinc's last flurry of music came out in 2010, and the UK producer's sonic palate is seemingly evolving with this current stream of funky, UK bass and big room house sounds, just check out opening track "Right Here". Bouncy, knees up drum and bass is the order for the DnB mix of "Back Up" while dark UK funky rears its head in "Back N Forth". Stepping drum and bass makes its way into the EP with "Boppa" alongside the electro of "273" and breakbeats of "Fraction".
Having recently secured this future-garage clash of the titans, a two track exclusive collaboration between space-bass man Conducta and Brighton's lunar garage hero, Moony, Artifice are (probably) doing Michael Jackson-style moonwalks with joy. Both tracks presented here possess a fury and velocity not normally encountered in the world of garage but these guys are clearly intent on hammering out their message hard and fast. "Bounce" sees warm, soulful keys waver over undulating bass and accelerated 2-steppy rhythms. "Remember" is speedier again with hard snares leading the charge over shots of wobble and retro Robin S-style organ melodies. Sweet!
Skubi steps into the limelight with his debut release for Modern Ruin, an imprint reserved strictly for the finest in footwork killers. "Brain Music" is basically a modern hip-hop lick with cavernous low-ends and that familiar juke vocal stutter. The same goes for "Wet", a relatively darker, dreamier sort of affair. Remixes comes from none other than Slick Shoota and House Of Black Lanterns, the former opting for a jungle swing while the latter twists and funks that juke into an even nuttier bundle of drums and percussion. Large.
London bass house specialist Mickey Pearce returns to Loefah's Swamp 81 with a new collection of floor pulverisers; the sort of tunes that make trends and break necks. "Warm Barzz" itself is on the docile side, but "Loop W" rapidly enters the abyss in what is surely one of the oddest drum loops we've heard from the man. "Sticky Fingerprints" is a lo-fi kinda number with eerie background sonics but still a prime cut for the dancefloor, while "Loop X" is completely broken, a mass of percussion held together by the darkness below it. Large.
Following on from their statement b2b mix CD, Pinch and Mumdance have been back in the studio together to cook up this rough and ready single for the formers Tectonic imprint. Riko Dan brings a savage Jamaican swagger to the title track with his fired-up MC turn, while the beat keeps the pressure high from start to finish. "Lucid Dreaming" provides the moody alternative to that party-starting manifesto with some of that Pinch-esque iciness, a deadly restrained menace lingering over the track without ever needing to resort to big drops or crescendos. There's also an instrumental of "Big Slug" for those who need it, although trying to step to Dan's own vocal is not advisable.
Hostage, the Edinburgh-based beat-maker, has appeared on countless labels over the last few years and his style is in a continuous state of flux, hopping from funky electro house to jittering bass music with utter ease and pure charisma. He appears herein courtesy of the UK's 877 crew and this time he's in a technoid mood with "Bladderwrack", a gnarly fusion of dubstep wobble bass and straight-ahead four-to-the-floor. For seconds you got "Touchdown", a relatively more bumping affair thanks to its swinging drums, and also "Red" which takes a slamming kick-snare and spills another thick layer of distorted bass all over it.
Until the release of the first two volumes in the El Rudo Del House series earlier this year, Matias Aguayo hadn't put out any of his own material on Comeme since 2009. This third instalment in the series is as essential as its' predecessors, offering a quartet of quirky, South American influenced house and techno jams. There's naturally much to admire, from the low-slung bass, metronomic rhythms and pitched-down vocal samples of "El Grubb", and thumping, Cumbia-influenced madness of "Ven Aqui Que Te Destapo", to the tribal drums and sludgy, mind-altering bottom-end of "El Volcanio". Best of all, though, is "Chup Chup", a sweaty, basement-bothering, choppy house workout destined to raise the tempo in more than a few clubs this summer.
It takes all of about 2.5 seconds of listening to the Overpowered EP to clock that Nottingham label Certified Bangers live by their name! New signing Blacktip adheres to their 'no nonsense' mantra by delivering three molten bass bombs that are purely devised to cause maximum party damage. The title track is a raw growler, with snarling loops of wobble bass and irritable hi-hats and "12345" is given mean, vintage 4x4 makeover. Finally "My Monster" wraps things up with hip-hop influences, snippets of kitsch 50s B-movies samples and bass attack patterns.
The young Korma, a low frequency dweller who has impressed with his industrial brand of quasi-dubstep, gets called up to the Infinite Machine roster for a seven-tracker spanning the full bass circle. It's all half-steps and head-nodding but consisting of different strains and varieties: there's the melodic charm of "Pariah", darker and more penetrating beats on "Orloj", the broken monster that is the aptly named "Dismantle", and of course, the jittery sci-fi number "ZGMF X19A". Watch the Tomas Urquieta remix of "Oloj", an even wilder and nastier version of the original.
London G Anton returns to Plastician's Terrorhythm imprint with four synth-snapping jams that poke, provoke and prod the broad underbelly of futuristic bass music. No matter how dark or light, though, every track boasts smooth, well-polished veneer; the carnival of bleeps that is "Swaggy" (think Doshy or the current output on Shadow's Liquid Amber), the smooth talking chips-down emo soundtrack of "Blue Bubbles", the moody piano-stroking blues and gnarly bass development of "Murder" and the loopy, siren-zapped slo-mo footwork flavour of "Ferris Bueller". No days off for Anton for the foreseeable.
Having wowed hearts and minds with his Dinas Oleu LP for Fear Of Flying, Leif has been quietly issuing out singles for sister label Sudden Drop, but now this new release finds him branching out to pastures new for Bristolian imprint Idle Hands. With the new territory comes a new slant towards broken beat productions, as "Life Through Analogies" layers up all manner of disorientating found sounds around a shaking beat. Leif's knack for serene melodies is still intact though, as is evident on the sumptuous "My Heart Stopped Beating", while "Salix" represents the moodiest of all the tracks. It's a marvelous fresh move for an ever-developing artist, and it sounds right at home on Idle Hands.
Globe-conquering beatsmith Hudson Mohawke has been sparing with the material he has issued recently, but he's back on Warp with a new single that promises to tickle the earbuds of as many drive-time listeners as club-ready heads. "Very First Breath" features Irfane on vocal for a highly strung delivery that sits naturally on top of HudMo's searing synth lines and whip-crack beats. Boys Noize then takes on the pop tones and charges them up with an anthemic house backdrop on both the "Turbine" and "Classic" mixes, which will no doubt get plenty of hands reaching to the sun on any number of crowd-pleasing terraces this summer.
London's pioneering Warp imprint has gone through many transformations and guises over the last two decades - all of them on-point, of course - but they've really done it this time with these Cargaa series, a batch of releases dedicated specifically to the recent Lisbon sound that has been jump-started by the Principe label. There's six smoking joints on here, all of them wet, wild and heavy on the Angolan-style percussion. The full marks here go to DJ Maboku's remix of DJ Lilocox's "Terraxo Electrico", a broken down mass of deranged and grimey house beats, and "Somos Todos Malucos" by DJ Firmeza that you gotta hear to believe!
The Billon duo, that is Ed Butler and Robbie Lamond, have already appeared on London's Rinse imprint - and every time something comes out on the label we quiver in our little writer boots - with three previous EPs, all of them boasting that familiar strain of bass-filtered deep house for the dancefloor. This time, however, their "Special" tune is given a seeing to by Danny L Harle, who plays with Maxine Ashley's vocals enough to make them fit perfectly amid harsh, stepping percussion and violent drums. It's a steppers tune for the young 'uns, big up!