The information surrounding Mind Of A Dragon is still as imperceptible as ever, and this new EP for Slime adds to the mystery in a delightful way. Even the tunes, a harsh blend of garage, bass and nu-skool jungle, are dusty and covered in a layer of mystique that gets our appetites going good and proper. "Emotions" itself is a powerful garage stormer with a those inimitable r&b samples and accompanied by an intricate percussion flex, The stand-out moment for us, though, is surely "Not The Same" simply for its woozy, shape-shifting bass and forward-thinking beat arrangement. A winner.
Calum Lee aka Paleman returns to Loefah's new 81 label, the more spontaneous, more digi-centric Swamp 81 offshoot, and as usual the man brings with him an air of innovation to the whole bass sphere. That's because "Yrs Ago" is a tune that could easily be played out in a techno set and, much like Boddika's recent output, it subtly ties the lines between many futuristic genres and sub-genres - a total winner! "Animus" is bleaker in texture and hollow in structure but nonetheless at the cutting-edge of UK bass music. Both tunes offer something less penetrable and more impressionistic that the majority of Paleman's compatriots in 2016. Excellent and highly recommended.
Sitting pretty in the triptych heat of halftime, jungle and bass, Nuvaman continues his fractured sermons on Artifice. Instant neck-snappery abounds on "Strength" as amens rifle back/forth/inside/out over dense pads. "Bada" is a more restrained piece of pensive drones and tones while "Throttle" gets up to speed with stark bass and a spacious two-step swing. Finally "Mutu" takes us back to bed with the trippiest low-end designs of the EP. Welcome to the future.
Hammer horror vibes: Dubzta takes us back to dubstep darker, gritty side with a staccato riff that marches with a few sense of doom. Laced with arpeggios and far-away cries, it's an instant screwface piece for any discerning dance. Remix-wise we're in for a treat as Project Allout provide no less than six versions. Highlights include Creep N00m's retained riff and subverted textures, the detuned tones and melodic twist of Filthy Gears' remix and the humour of John Brown The Rebel's version. Ice cold.
U Wot Blud are always ahead of the game and although many have moved on since last year's instalment of the Rising Stars series, they've not stayed still either. This third volume shows us a whole new side to the UWB sound, which if not exactly 'sensitive', is certainly showing a kind of newfound maturity. The dancefloor is still their main priority of course, and the two 4/4 techy electro-house bangers by Aliii ("Artifice", "Blackmail") totally capture that spirit. Elsewhere highlights include scattershot tropicalia and bouncy bass of "You Went" by TK Vicious and the pounding future-jack-fest of "Redshift" by Lycid.
UK grime maestro Terror Danjah has been smashing it ever since his first EPs started to emerge in the early 2000s, and we have to say that the man hasn't stopped rinsing it since. Among other big labels, he's been an integral part of London's Hyperdub unit, but the time has come to spill some truth on the respected Keysound label and here he is with "Juicy Patty", a vocal-led gunshot riddim that literally sounds as if it was recorded straight on the curbside; jacking, stop-start beats and a minimal arrangement make this a true London burner. There's an instrumental mix, too, for the DJs, but the first remix comes from Logos, who shreds the entire structure down and focusses heavily on the percussion, followed by Blackdown's louder, more menacing interpretation for the peak time hours.
Stanton Warriors were pleasantly surprised when a demo from Brazil arrived on their doorstep. The demo was from none other than Bombo Rosa, possibly Brazil's only break beat-style act, and so impressed were the Warriors that they signed the guys to their very own Punks label. Their first release for them, Make It Bang, is a jaw-dropping short, sharp introductory jab in the solar plexus. Sounding like nothing else around right now, the track is four and a half minutes of stop-start dirty breaks with a red blooded Latin twist. A dancefloor monster if ever we heard one!
Russian dubstep producer Sqz Me makes some emotive and haunting deep dubstep we must say. "Beautiful" samples Justin Timberlake's vocals put through harsh redux that wail over layers of smoky pads and powerful bass pulsations. "Inner Place" is minimal and glacial, like getting vaped and going on an Arctic expedition.Closing this thing out is "Missin Element" which reminds us a bit of bass music classics like "Hyph Mngo" and is absolutely sublime. This young Siberian producer is definitely one to watch out for in 2016.
The (Re)Sources label is still relatively young in terms of releases and artists, but they've already instilled a sense of reliability from our viewpoint, particularly for the diversity AND quality of their output, whether that be house, techno, or straight-up bass. This is their first compilation yet, an eight-track spew of all sorts of forward-thinking beats named Club Hexagon Vol.1. Chaams' opener is a twisted pile of bass and morphing samples, and other stand-outs include the techno-minded "Diamonds Foot" by Sheas Drunk, Tommy Kid's gunshot ride "Shanghai", and the moody, deep bass weight of "Bloom Doom" by John Vitesse. Hold tight for the second chapter!
Liminal Sounds associate Copout bursts through Purple Tape Pedigree like a man with a mission...and with four devastating firebombs that cover all sorts of bass spectrums. "Helix" opens with a pseudo grime swagger, only to be swallowed whole by the more electrifying industrial weight of "Stressed". "Fallen" is pure UK bass, a tune that refuses to find any one genre and instead shifts and morphs continuously; this is followed by the eerie presence that is "Enough", a rather foreboding sort of tune that only the heads will appreciate on the dance floor.
Stanton Warriors are busy firing out one track missives at the moment, with each single release on their Punks imprint packing more of a punch than most other four track singles out there. Marten Horger's "Deeper Down" was already pretty fierce proposition, but now Slovakia's Macho has got his hands on it and now no dancefloor really is safe anymore! Macho actually won a remix commotion with this effort and we're not surprised - starting out with some seriously tough ghetto beats, the track evolves into total hands-in-the-air piano house territory and crucially does so with ease, rather than cheese.
So you think you're up on all things bass, eh? Don't worry, if you've yet to discover the wonders of 'Beijing bass' though, because the Do Hits label are here to educate and inform. Do Hits Vol 4 collects 13 truly unique jams that seductively blend the old and new - traditional Chinese instrumentation and ultra-modern hip-hop influenced beats. Highlights include Jason Hou and inner Mongolian multi-instrumentalist Yider's distorted digital electronica "Data Forest", Jyun Jyun's panpipe electro pop workout "Fire Monkey" and the futuristic neon strip club grooves of "Yin Kou Chi Nyu" by Duanger. Welcome to the future.
Liminal Sounds introduces Orlando Volcano to the bass world, another talented newcomer with more beats than sense. Throughout this expansive five-tracker, Volcano touches on pretty much all corners of the bass spectrum; from the opening bleeps and chirps of "My Dream Life", you can instantly hear that this isn't a disposable dance EP, and even the more rhythmic tunes like "Mixed Messages" are filled with interesting outsider electronic and wonderfully crafted curve-balls. "Gold Bars Rhythm" would make any grime DJ salivate non-stop, while "The Mantis" offers a stringer percussive muscle, and "Final Exhalation" enters the realm of the sinister with its horror soundtrack approach. A diverse and provocative effort from this interesting newbie.
Badboy bass deviant Bazza has been out of the picture since 2013, but this tidy two-tracker on Triangulum Recordings is sure to turn more than a few head his way. "Dead Caller", for instance, is dark, grimey and holds absolutely nothing back; a large swarm of fuzzy bass devours anything in its way, namely a set of loose vocals and stabs of the synth. "Black Edge" is more ripped to shreds in terms of structure, but that sullen, urban flavour is still very much part of its core formula. Dutty!
Debutant Half Normal produces music that's just as deranged as him name implies. These three twisted slices of neural bass funk come courtesy of the young and daring Lifted Contingency imprint, a label that seems to be getting bigger and badder with each single. "The Secret" is a deep, rolling bass melter that flutters its Eastern chimes amid pouncing kicks, and "Salt Of The Earth" follows suit thanks to morphing low frequencies, but "Elk Hide" is where Half Normal really sinks deep into the mix by injecting a tenebrous layer of chilling harmonics and cut-throat sonics.