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Reviewed this week
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Following the sad news of Rashad's passing, this latest single from the ever-productive Addison Groove takes on a more poignant nature as the late footwork legend guests on the second track. That the track is called "U Been Gone" only adds to the emotional weight of it, not to mention the wistful keys and yearning vocal lick. Elsewhere Addison Groove is on typically fiery form, from the rave baiting whiplash of "Push It" to the weighty bassbin busting badness of "Dat Ass". The samples are beyond cheeky in their recognisability, and it matters not a jot when the music kicks as hard as this.
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Haunted bass peddler Woz has upped his output quota recently, and he continues his ascent with this short and sweet two-tracker. First up is "Cherry Hill" which is low slung, spacey and dark house: all sultry buzzes, hums and the ghostly vocals of Max Marshall. However, if it's creeped-out and dark 2-step you're after, you're best heading straight for the dark alley shuffle of "Trust Meh".
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With releases on Mad Decent and Southern Fried to their name, Birmingham duo Hybrid Theory are fast becoming stars in the all-action world of bass music. Here, they continue their hard-to-define explorations, which variously doff a Snapback to grime, UKG, UK funky and deep house. Opener "Drop To The Max" gets things rolling via pulsating sub-bass, cut down rave stabs, locked in house beats and an almighty breakdown that should get hands rocketing skywards on the dancefloor. "Raw Sex" is an altogether more robust proposition, with dirty great bass and grime electronics wrapped around a hissing UKG rhythm. Finally, Hybrid Theory break up the beats a little on "Dollars", which is impressively sparse in its production, but no less effective. Once the bass and watery melodies take hold, you'll be hooked.
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Amazingly, it's been three years since Birmingham-raised duo Cause & Affect made their debut on Beatdown Music. Since then, their profile has rocketed thanks to regular appearances on Rinse FM. Here they pop up on the station's label offshoot with a four tracker that smoothly joins the dots between UK funky, deep house and UKG. Opener "Mistakes", blessed as it is with jaunty bleep melodies, warm sub, heady pads and a choice vocal sample, is particularly impressive. "Dimensions" is faster and breezier, with deliciously wide-eyed breakdowns, while "Bird Flu" laces electronic blips and cut-up vocals over a rolling 4/4 garage rhythm. Finally, "Foorest" is impressively weird and glitchy, sounding like UK bass house beamed down from another planet.
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Cameron Jenkison and John Neenan aka South Royston are steadily making their way to the top of the garage game. The Southampton duo drop their first EP on the irritably on-point Four40 and as expected, it's a doozy. "Another Night" starts all floaty and pad-rich but quickly drops into a funky, militant 4/4 beat for the peak time hours. "Bad Format" goes even nastier thanks to a chopped up vocal sample that twists and turns over those silky, fast-paced garage kicks and hats. Bombs, the lot of em!
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The vocal sample from Tuff Culture's "Africa" will be familiar to any Chemical Brothers fans out there who know the track "It Began In Afrika" (originally sampled from Jim Ingram's "Drumbeat"). The lead cut here is a great tune which combines baile funk with splashes of dubstep and skipping house. "Bye Your Side" is the standout garage track on this EP, while "You & Me" and "Touched VIP" are deep, bass driven and flecked with flashes of cooling chords.
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It's been some six years since renowned misery guys Kevin Martin won plaudits for London Zoo, a typically dark, intense and aggressive full-length that showcased his unique ability to blend dubstep, grime, dancehall and dub techno textures into nightmarish new shapes. Angels & Devils, his belated follow-up, is intriguingly different. While the second half of the set is blessed with plenty of robust, floor-friendly riddims (each blessed with vocals from a range of impressive collaborators), the first half is an altogether more downbeat affair. In fact, it's these moments - the droning, dub-inflected ambience of "Pandi" and the bluesy, soundscape dub-soul of "Save Me" - that hit home hardest.
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Roughly two years after they first surfaced with Do The Same on Shifting Peaks, UK bass duo Mak & Pasteman add their names to the long list of artists that run their own label. The reception to releases in the ensuing period for Lobster Boy and Naked Naked have proved that this West Yorkshire pair have a willing audience for such a move and it will be interesting to see if Materials is used solely as a platform for their own work or whether they'll use it to nurture new talent too. Naturally they helm the debut release which brandishes an upfront bass-tech-house hybrid on the A Side in "Jam One", whilst "Formation 131" sees M&P doff their hats to the sound of darkside jungle.
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Deep dark, future-focussed madness from Bristol's darkest partnership Asa and Sorrow. "Legendary" has been doing the rounds with a select few heads for a while now with its bubbling bass undulations, sharp Eski beats, synth-string stabs and cut up grime vocals, fusing to create a physical bomb that is guaranteed to cause chaos. The rest of the EP stands up to the duo's near-legendary status, too: "Untitled" carefully balances harmonic vocal textures and groaning bass attitude, "Titan" is undiluted grime drama as it pings you across the dance with cheery aggression and "Shook" flickers and flutters with dynamic choppy mischief and a mean soft skank.
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The Plastician remix series comes to a close with a trio of currently hot names from the contemporary bass music scene reworking tracks from the grime pioneer's 2004 Cha EP. Young Echo members Kahn & Neek arguably do the best job, delivering a bouncy, string-laden revision of "Search" that makes much of the original stabs, vocal hits and bassline. Also impressive is Wen's revision of "Shallow Grave", which offers up an off-kilter scurry through dubstep and bass house pastures complete with church bells and spooky vocal hits. Mak and Pasteman's bouncy, synth-laden UK house interpretation of "Search" completes a solid package.
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While his Numbers contemporaries Jackmaster and Hudson Mohawke have been courting international superstardom (the latter soundtracking Apple ads and working with Lil Wayne and Drake), Rustie has stayed true to his roots. This second full-length - the follow-up to acclaimed 2011 debut Glass Swords - proves that it was a wise strategy. Green Language is a storming set, delivering blends of crunk, wonk-hop, 8-bit electronica, grime and post-dubstep rhythms that bristle with intergalactic synths and glassy-eyed, late night swagger. Rustie has carved out a niche of his own that's increasingly hard to define, but one that guarantees thrilling, next-level music. Green Language proves that emphatically.
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It's been an exciting ride for both group and listeners alike since Dark Sky first emerged some four years ago on Black Acre, with ever more impressive musical feats getting signed up to ever more respected labels, and now well and truly in the Modeselektor fold on both 50Weapons and Monkeytown, they offer up their debut album. It's an expansive listen, from the rich synth orchestrations of the title track to the catchy band-in-the-room groove of "Vivid", with the focus very much on home-listening interest over club dynamics. There are still some kicking moments such as the rushy arpeggio drop of "Odyssey", but on the whole this is an album of carefully composed melodies and finely chiseled sounds to accompany you in more personal, introspective moments.
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Plastician continues flexing back to the past with future fusion on this second part of his Plasticman Remixed series, dusting off the parts to his foundational fire and sharing them liberally among some of the most exciting names in the game. Highlights flicker and flip from every rub; the elasticity of Kendo & Gunkst's bubbles and rolls, the uncompromising rusty grunts and metallic menace of Patrick Brian's version, Mojo's careful balance of scuffed skanks and hands-in-the-air positivity, the naked sinewy UKG vibe of Roska and the unashamed star-gazing, almost Kraftwerkian vibes of The Others remix. Remixes don't come with much more bass heritage and creativity as these.
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Portuguese native Luis Sequiera has been living in London for a while, and this is his second EP for the iconic Third Ear label, a home to names like Thomas Brinkmann and Theo Parrish. These four tracks are perfect for the label, where Briddim conjures the perfect blend of house, garage and electronica, all engulfed into the producer's creative stream of thought. The title track is certainly our favourite, with its seductive loop coiling over itself continuously, but it's all utterly class and as usual, another masterpiece on this strong label.
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The end of summer and the rustic pinch of autumnal air has, by now, become synonymous with a new instalment of Allo Love - Wah-Wah 45s annual compilation. This year sees the fourth volume in the series curated by their very own 'queen of dark, electronic soul' Lea Lea. As usual it's packed full of quality gems including the fizzy, synthy hip-hop of Paper Tigers' "Gundam Bling", the ghostly trap of Keena's "Behind Doors" and the anthemic broken soul beat of Anushka's "Atom Bombs".
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Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker make a swift return to the Testpressing series with a sixth installment arriving just a month after the excellent TP#5. The superbly titled "40 Years Under The Cosh" finds the Demdike pair wedged in the punishing crawlspace between detroit techno and vintage grime for six thrilling mind bending minutes, with the track gradually falling apart at the seams as the middle of the track draws close. Fans of both Pharrell Williams and Demdike Stare (there must be one or two) will probably express disappointment that "Frontin" isn't a cover of the big hatted fella's noughties hit; instead it's a brutal exercise in lurching industrial wave that will fry the brain cells of unsuspecting individuals.
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On her latest release for Hyperdub, Sara Abdel-Hamid is in as eclectic and confrontational a mood as ever, delivering razor sharp modernist beat constructions and mind-bending synth work to get the dance well and truly hyped. From the cavernous drum throwdown of "Position" to the melancholic, melodic reflection of "Praxis", the Ikonika style is ever broadening and ever unpredictable. There's also snappy electro stylings to be enjoyed on "Strawberry Underlay" and poppy house overtones on "You Won't Find It Here (VIP)", while Perc and Alex Deamonds turn in remixes that bring completely fresh perspectives to her music.
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Shifting Peaks are slowly but surely carving out a niche in world of bass, and they're doing it their own way. Although Working Girl have a vaguely urban sheen, their heart is deep in the electro-pop world of the early '80s. No bad thing with us, as "Sailing West" sounds like Howard Jones as produced by M83. Elsewhere highlights include the '80s prom flick new wave of "Naomi", the fizzed-out Prince-isms of "Aqua Neue" and the totally awesome moody Miami Vice-ish instrumental "Breathing Sand & Glass".
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There has been a great run of new talent popping up on R&S lately, with Shanghai Den being a notable example, and now Alma Construct debuts here to drop a selection of lo-fi studies peppered with influences from techno to hip hop. There are some distinctive forces at work behind these tunes, not least on the decidedly unhinged and magnificently realised "Deer Drink From The River", while "Imagine Them" comes on strong with a snappy bounce that wouldn't sound out of place on Music Has The Right To Children, albeit expressed with less sleepy synth tones. It's a sterling effort that leaves one wondering what's around the corner for this hitherto unknown beatsmith.
Exclusives
DJEDJOTRONIC - Drum Program EP (Boysnoize Germany)
WHISKERS PO - Yes (Hot N Heavy)
SLACKK - Palm Tree Fire (Local Action)
Exclusives
THE DOT - People Watching (Mike Skinner Ltd)
BAD MOJO - Tidal Waves (Meanbucket)
AIRHEAD - October/Macondo (Hemlock Recordings)
Philthkids DJ Chart
Sunship DJ Chart
Lucent DJ Chart
Mak Pasteman DJ Chart
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