Stepping up with his second album for 50 Weapons, Addison Groove is once again mining the rhythmic excitement of juke and footwork and working it into his blue-hued melodic headspace. Standout vocal cut '"Just You" is a prime example of the upbeat flavour across the album, while "11th" matches the plush harmonies with moodier switch-ups, and "The Spirit Level" drops the tempo into a house bump that lends itself to the illustrious synth sweeps. Typically though the beats are in that twitchy middle ground between dubstep and footwork, leaving plenty of space for razor-sharp constructions and dazzling edits as best demonstrated on the dynamic acid roll of "Space Apples".
Bassman extraordinaire Thomas White steps up to the ever-impressive Paradisiaca Recordings for a filthy, romper-stomper of an EP containing four tracks and two nutty remix jobs. "Au Ciel" and title track "Ariose" are our top picks and are both smooth, warm-blooded bass curdlers prepped for the dancehall. Night Slugs' own beat maverick Helix steps up with our pick of the reworks, a noxious, side-winding retouch of "Ovation", a track which features Dear Lola on the vocals.
Polishing beats isn't Cardiff-based Stagga's way - he prefers the smash-it-up-and-re-arrange method. "Who Ya Gonna Kill" proves this method seems to be giving him the magic touch, as the title track moves from para synths to strangely-appointed beats with a sneaky snippet of an old familiar sample giving the track its name. Taking bass down to obscene levels on "Wots That", it switches through dub and swaying, grimy, uneasy filth to bring a tune made for packed-out, darkened club corners. "Buff Gyal Riddim" is a booty shaker, as you'd expect, winding and grinding through middle-eastern sounds and samples, it sounds part vintage computer game on some trippy ancient Egypt level and part fresh-as-owt bass music. Make up your own mind.
First surfacing a few years ago on Black Butter with the appropriately titled UK bass/jungle hybrid "Fyah", Warrior One has become one of the emergent label's most potent weapons. A debut on "Hypercolour's little sister" Losing Suki is probably the veteran producer's most high profile release as Warrior One and you sense it's a good fit as soon as lead track "5ths" swing into focus. It's been called a modern incarnation of "RIP Groove" by some blogs, and the classic 2 step vibes and powerful bassline is certainly reminiscent of that vintage jam though Warrior One melds it successfully with elements of classic US House. On the flip "NYC" is a wholehearted homage to the original house movement in the five boroughs with some truly killer keys, whilst "Only You" has the Warrior One edging back to a more UK-centric sound.
Now we all know very that there's only one kind of work that's any good, and it's not the kind that finds us sullen faced on public transport every morning. Here Decibel teams up with Slick Don to reiterate this universal truth via the medium of pounding peak time ghetto-ton, coming across like Oxide & Neutrino's effervescent younger siblings in the process. The remixes continue to up the rump/bounce ratio with Hybrid Theory's wobble-heavy 4 x 4 remix being the hard to beat Goliath amongst these heroic Davids.
The first artist album on the Parisian label ClekClekBoom fittingly comes from French Fries. After debuting on the 'French' electro label YounGunZ Entertainment (alongside Bambounou) in 2010, Valentino Canzani Mora has remained central to ClekClekBoom since he co-founded the label back in 2011. The Kepler LP comes after a string of bass-heavy tracks and bootlegs, but there's no denying this LP is the South American-born artist's piece de resistance. At 13 tracks long, the album explores hissing cosmic ambience, experimental drum tracks, industrial bass-techno, broken beat rhythms, and some dubbier excursions on a classical tip. Special mention going to the album's club-geared highlights "Bug Noticed" and "Change The Past". Highly recommended.
"Straight up Argentina moustache gangsta house" reads the press release, so needless to say, we were intrigued. Packing a lo-fi punch and ripping into retro plink plonks like nobody's business, Arcade has stripped this season's sound down to its pants and taken it out for a stroll. Working it all out into a big bassline freakout as the track strings you along is just all part of the fun, not to mention the side order of nutjob footwork left by way of a remix from Deft. Absolute madness.
Continuing Black Acre's fine tradition of worldly beats in the more adventurous realms of hip hop tempos, Clap! Clap! present their own unique twist that channels African folk traditions into low-riding rhythms. Opening track "Elon Mentana" is largely focused on squelchy beats with occasional smatterings of tribal background noise, but "Tambacounda's White Magic" is where things get really interesting with the lively shuffle of flute and hand-played percussion running rings around an arresting voca trill, working a club ready beat into the mix only when the time is right, and doing it with panache. "Tambacounda's Black Magic" is a more subtle affair that plays down the modern ingredients and makes for an even more enthralling listen.
The WT Records boss and all round hero of leftfield house circles Willie Burns is building bridges across the pond to DJ Haus' irrevocably irreverent Unknown To The Unknown. It's a chance for Burns to zoom in on his love of old-skool sounds and show them off without a whisper of self doubt. "Woo Right" kicks things off with a piano-led heater steeped in moody '90s attitude, while "The Heaviest Elements" makes for a more aggressive affair with more overt club stylings to impart through tough-edged beats and a distinct lack of any melody. "Fast Times At Long Island City High" shuffles arpeggios and dusty drums through lo-fi delay in a more esoteric approach that is ably followed up by "Adverbs & Adjectives" with its chords that fall somewhere between Detroit techno and early trance in their euphoric veneer.
The ever-impressive Champion Sound bring a new name into the fold as they present Hold Me, the impressive debut EP from Irish house producer Replete, who brings his own brand of deep, bass heavy house to the label. The title track combines blissful pads and a late '90s atmosphere with bold piano stabs and an emotive vocal, while "Appetite/Life" takes the concept even further with a luminescent synth palette that balances the intricate yet dubby rhythm. "Make Me Want You" takes things deeper still, as a conga-led percussion melts into a reverb-heavy soundscape, while "I Haven't Felt Young In Years" provides a fittingly melancholic mid-tempo closer. Another killer release from the Champion Sound crew.
Sccucci Manucci once again proves its dancefloor chops with its fifth release, the Cinquemila Lire EP, which sees the London based imprint curl its moustache in the direction of deep house. Manchester based duo Toyboy & Robin open proceedings with "No More Sunshine", an insouciant mix of soulful vocals, shuffling garage percussion and burning deep house organ stabs. It's a heady, intoxicating mix, and it's one that's matched on the A-Side by Sahin Meyer's effort; the husband and wife duo turn in the gorgeous "Spread Love", a cut that wrings every last drop of emotion out of a classic, drummy arrangement. Flip over for "Saif" by Illyus, a twinkling late night excursion into melodic, star gazing house, and "Feel Love" by Firas, one half of the Waze & Odyssey, who rounds off another killer Sccucci 12-inch with raw-thentic smacky beats and an addictive loopy vocal and bassline.
A rather underrated cornerstone of the the UK's nebulous bass and techno scenes for more than half a decade, Untold ushers in a debut album in the shape of Black Light Spiral and boy does it pack a punch. If you caught any of the online previews that have surfaced in the period preceding it's release, you will have some idea of what to expect but the Hemlock boss has genuinely delivered one of this year's most impressive albums thus far. The foreboding sirens of opening track "5 Wheels" set the tone for an album that delivers on Untold's mission to keep the people up and at it with rough tough music while confounding them with brilliantly executed improbabilities.
Our favourite Spaniard A2C returns to Pandora Box with some of his inimitable breaks flair in what is probably his most daring outing yet. The title track is an absolutely storming, filthy garage bomb with some seriously abrasive low-end, While "Funky Out" is its more chopped-up, grooved-out spawn. "Original House" on the other hand is a punchy, MAW style workout - those breaks are very tasty indeed.
After his successful turn on Maceo Plex's Ellum Audio Danny Daze scores further points with this signing to Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic imprint, turning out a monstrous peak time club rocker that's equal parts heavy hitting and malicious restraint. The bassline stays firmly in place to keep the brain pinned down while all around it narcotic blasts of synth weirdness whirl in ever increasing displays of ostentatious production, and that's just the title track. "When The Freaks Come Out" is a more measured electro-tinged stalker, while "Beatdown" gets into a more techy 4/4 stomp sure to get fists shaking across the globe.
Over the last few years we've really seen the emergence of a very unique kind of retro R&B revivalism. It's chiefly one that seems to remember the early '90s as replayed on a broken cassette player - all slowed down and watery. This has resulted in the hitherto unnoticed beauty of this music coming to light. Here Blackbird Blackbird deliver two delicious slices of this luxurious sound; "This Is Nowhere" being beautifully multi-layered other worldly soul whilst "Hold On" goes all cascading soulful electro-house-pop on us. Divine.
If you like your beats like you like your Nandos, i.e. with an extra saucy kick, then Piri Piri's your man. The UKG elements of yore have taken a bit of a backseat in his productions here, instead opting for weirder, freakier jams on Patterns. We're not complaining either as this EP is stuffed full of dancefloor punishment of the finest the kind. Highlights here include the deep voodoo-tech of "Peak", the warped retro freestyle of "Ice Cream" and Neana's stompin' keyboard-falling-down-the-stairs version of "Quest".
Ballroom badness with bass-bitten distinction, Trax Coulture celebrates the very roots of house music with contemporary production glee. At the helm is Londoner Rushmore who's already enjoyed acclaim with the label debut "Hot 001". Here he treats us to an array of raw groove ingredients; "Bloodlines" fuses elements of late '90s 4/4 garage with classic Chicago jack, while "Jumpshot" is a more fractured exploration of the 808 hinterland. "Turn It On", meanwhile, is a booty-slapping ghetto-tech stomper with unrelenting fervour and "Bitch Please" sounds like Ron Hardy making sweet love to a bleep machine. Beautifully crude.
Ah yes, Major Notes steps forward with a new helping of Lossol Entertainment delight in a delightfully African kinda twist. It's a bittersweet assemblage of house, UK funky and of course, afrobeat. Sampling and twisting his way through three tracks, the Major does things properly. Check "Onofu", it's blindingly funky - highly recommended to fans of Daphne and the like...
Increasingly joining forces to explore the icy wastes of bass-laden rave damage for darker-minded dancers, Pinch and Mumdance officially consecrate their aligned creative visions with this nasty single on Tectonic. "Turbo Mitzi" comes to life on a dread-filled string refrain that instantly sets the mood for the track, before giving way to a sparse combination of whipcrack drum machine snaps and brain-drilling synth noises of a stunningly rendered glass-like quality. "Whiplash" is no less forgiving as a cavalcade of percussion flings itself about the room with malicious intent. Between the monstrous bass swells and stop-start dynamics there's going to be a whole lot of mean-tempered solitary shape-throwing occurring to this one over the coming months.
First surfacing on Werkdiscs back in 2010 with the wonderfully strange Sensational collaboration Smashing Your System, Cambridge-based producer Nochexxx finally comes good on the potential shown across a smattering of subsequent 12"s with his debut LP. Released on irregular home RAMP, Thrusters finds Nochexxx recollecting "the rich synthesized lexicon of Drexciya and the prismatic glory years of Zomby" as the label puts it. If you've indulged in previous Nochexxx material, you'll love the eleven tracks here which commence in breakneck fashion with "Exholst" and doesn't really relent - there's a touch of vintage Vibert/Rephlex at play here which should be enough for most to investigate further. Largely instrumental, Nochexxx does make space for one vocal cut "Cola Duck" that features Clone Crown Ltd don Zacky Force Funk and sounds like Dam Funk on LSD.