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19 Feb 13
Review: Liverpool producer Friend Within is a perfect fit with Dirtybird. His hectic, all-action style, previously seen on Hypercolour, bolts bulging, rave-era bass to cocaine house pads and UKG-influenced drums. There's enough depth to please the heads, but more than enough low-end pressure to work gigantic rooms full of sweaty, pie-eyed students to the brink of collective orgasm. Choose between the stab-tastic lead cut, "The Game" - all Robin S riffs and booming basslines - and "The Hollow", a deeper excursion that nevertheless packs more punch than Vitali Klitschko after an all-night amphetamine bender.
12 Sep 12
29 Jan 13
Review: A key step in success for all gentlemen - grow a beard. Richard Branson, Mr T and Brian Blessed can all attest to this. Can't grow one? Subscribe to Lucky Beard's regular audio newsletters and experience the same level of achievement. This month's hairy heaven comes from Italian bass noob Fuuku; with support from genre-jumping DJs such as Martello, it's a swaggering synth-horn heaver armed with a mischievous low-swung groove. Looking for more high-end naughtiness? Head for the brightly-lit bleep fest from Lucky Beard long-timer Digi G'Alessio.
05 Nov 12
01 Jul 12
Review: The renewed Apollo imprint continues its fast moving release schedule with the debut release from Gacha. Fitting in with the label's cloudy, effervescent aesthetic instantly, "Remember" combines pitched down vocals, dreamy guitars and gentle bass over a half-stepping groove. "Bowl" meanwhile is more obviously aimed at the floor, with a rolling garage rhythm that seems to phase in and out around gentle chords swathed in tape delay.
05 Nov 12
Review: Australian producer Galtier debuts on Car Crash Set with an impressive pair of contemporary techno tracks with nods to the UK end of the bass spectrum and Detroit styles. "Ring Twice" is a no-nonsense slice of 4/4 with dry stabs, granite rhythms and simmering bass with the arid atmosphere of a Terrence Dixon production and recomposes it with a big-room sensibility. "Shaped" is a different beast, taking sparse, swung 133bpm drums, abstract whistles and subdued chords and wrapping them up into a package that is part ghetto house, part dub techno. Fans of Blawan, Bambounou and Tessela take note.
30 Apr 12
Played by: Lpz
Review: Not to be confused with the US-based, video nasty obsessed synth nerds of the same name, Bristol-based Gatekeeper's releases for the likes of Skull Disco and Punch Drunk have been few and far between but have always displayed a keen ear for progressive dubstep rhythms. This EP on Apple Pips is undoubtedly his sharpest to date - "Atmosphere Processer" utilizes a galloping breakbeat, a revving bassline and dusty synth pads for some proper Metalheadz meets contemporary Bristol vibes. "Let Us In" on the other hand is full of more suitably stripped back rhythms, but with a distinctly more dubbed out atmosphere coating its corkscrew bassline.
12 Nov 12
04 Dec 12
Review: Less than a month after his Black Screen album for Frijsfo Beats, Geiom delivers a further EP of driving, leftfield UK funky. "Glesprin" kicks things off with its swampy, malevolent bass, pushed forward with, minimal, techy percussion. "Ferrite Gaps" offers a fairly more conventional UKF style killer, with rolling snares and angular strings, albeit covered in a woozy sense of atmosphere, while "Digitithe" is characterised by its wonky, atonal 2-step rhythms and tunnelling bass.
30 Jul 12
Played by: Smutlee, Juno Recommends Electro House, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), The Captain, Deepski, J Courage
Review: Bristol dubstep/UKF producer Gemmy makes an impressive stand on Roska's Kicks and Snares label with this fresh EP, containing the winding neon buzz of "Lakota", the tropical dub of "Badman" and the minimal house spank of the wicked "We Watch The Sun Rise". Huge American electro rocker AC Slater turns in a less subtle but very effective breaks-styled rerub of "Lakota" too.
15 Apr 13
Review: Maintaining their reputation for the most intriguing contemporary bass skulduggery on the planet, Crackling Claps introduce the fractured, seasick vibes of Genda. The second the dusty, crinkled glitches and surging fuzzy euphoria of opener "Fractal" hits you, you know this is going to take a few listens to get your head around. Sitting somewhere between Morris Cowan, Apparat and Autechre, everything about this engrosses and envelopes. From the spiralling sub-aquatic psychedelia of "Particles" to the soul-stopping synth pulsations and horn washes of "Self Similarity", this bends the mind as well breaking gravity. Make sure Genda is on your agenda...
19 Mar 12
Review: Genotype is just the latest in an increasingly long line of respected drum & bass producers turning their hand to techno, but this release shows that far from being an afterthought, he has more than justified his move. "Red Bass" has a bit of characteristic D&B swing in its step, with a thick tunneling bass - it's a theme repeated in "Bondage", but with a significantly more sinister vibe. However, it's the inclusion of cinematic D&B aesthetics that really gives the EP its flair - "Injury Time" for example combines a deeper Detroit sensibility with a metallic ambience, whilst the lurching bass of "Hideout" combines with crackly D&B-inspired percussion. Exploring that exciting ground between bass and techno like no other, Deca Rhythm have fast become one of Bristol's most intriguing labels, and this release is another one to add to a strong catalogue.
23 Apr 12
Played by: Paul Mac
Review: Pulling together a healthy spread of their roster, Decarhythm ably demonstrate their increasingly focused musical remit on this four-tracker. There's lean techno to be enjoyed from Genotype, where the bassline rules the day and the beat is an exercise in restraint. Kamikaze Space Programme plump for a shufflier approach to 4/4 with "Bhopal", although still plumbing a dark deep-space vibe. Bloodman has a decidedly straight-up tech-house atmosphere at work on "Jones", while Orphan 101 similarly ticks away with a warm sound that peppers the minimal groove with a light dusting of electro. For that sturdy peak-of-the-night tech-edged sound, Deca Rhythm seem to be an increasingly wise destination.
18 Jun 12
Played by: Lee Daley:contentmcr/Beef/Huddtraxx, Homegroove Project, Billy W., Monkey Beats, Ricky Simmonds (DJ Rsi), Deepshizzol On Deepvibes Radio 16.0, Shadow Dancer, Juno Recommends Deep House, Pablo Contraband (Disco Deviant), Cottam, Tura, G-Blaster (Rotarydisco76), Antek, Dublin Aunts, Coyu, Black Jack, The Legendary 1979 Orchestra, Resident Advisor, Tom Taylor, Manhattan, Embryo, Joyce Brooke, Filthy Rich (Toolroom/Great Stuff)
Review: While it's recently become fashionable for bass music producers to jump ship and start making house, you could never accuse George Fitzgerald of being that cynical. Throughout his career, he's always infused his house productions with more than a healthy dollop of bass flavour, be it the rumble of garage or the crackly atmospherics of dubstep. This four-track EP continues that theme, featuring tracks that fuse pitched-down juke and tropical rhythms with the glistening gorgeousness of British deep house (see "Lights Out" and "Hindsight"). The two strongest cuts, "Unilateral" and "Child", are pretty much straight-up garage. Inspired by classic US productions from the tail end of the '90s, they're among the most obviously anthemic things Fitzgerald has produced to date.
17 Jan 11
Review: George FitzGerald first came onto our radar last year with superb "The Let Down/Weakness". Here he makes a welcomed return to the airwaves and a bright start to 2011 with his next release on Scuba's ever-exciting Hotflush imprint, backed with an edit from the man himself on the flip. Two-step meets future garage in the title track with a repeated Ramadanman style vocal punctuating the beats and rolling, undulating b-line below. Enticing and insatiably good, this certainly whets the appetite for more to come from the hotly tipped producer this year. Over on the flip Scuba dons his SCB alias for a pared down version of the original, which will leave Berghain veterans drooling. Big.
05 Sep 11
Review: A fine start for the fledgling Man Make Music imprint, with George FitzGerald TCB on the label's first ever release. The young producer's style is a pleasing one, taking a linear and progressive approach to building his tracks with only subtle yet vital deviations such as gentle build ups and quietly euphoric break downs. "Fernweh" lulls to life in a comfortably opiated state of joy, the beats kick along steadily, somewhere in the middle ground between 4/4 and a step, while "Hearts" is characterised by a similar melodic shuffle with cooing chords and soulful vocal snippets. Highly recommended.
17 Dec 12
Played by: Homegroove Project, Alkalino, Juno Recommends Deep House, Nic Fanciulli, Sean Danke, DJ Cure (Aufect Recordings), Anja Schneider, Hermanez, Shox, Gullfisk, Resident Advisor, Tom Taylor, Jack Fell Down, Tulioxi, Flashmob, Eats Everything, Donka, Agoria, DJ Hell, Hot Since 82
Review: The techy and bass-ready label Hypercolour has always had some pretty leftfield tendencies, ranging from its releases with Groove Armada and Neil Landstrumm, to cheeky Aprils fools day pranks all part of the package. However George Fitzgerald's Needs You EP typifies the Hypercolour sound minus any tomfoolery. "Needs You" in particular plays "oh baby" vocals, sucking percussion and melodic keys against vast-monoliths of low end sonics. On the flip is "Every Inch" again by Fitzgerald. Fluted synth spooks and successive clap-tambourine combos swing to a groove that has a moderately lighter mood. Deetron writes a love note to rave and garage in his remix to "Every Inch" by the way of squelchy electronics and nerdy percussion.
05 Dec 11
Review: 2011 has really seen young producer George FitzGerald come into his own, with exceptional releases on Hotflush, Aus, and his own ManMakeMusic imprint all helping him to develop his silky brand of garage-leaning bass music into a trademark sound. His final release of the year sees him return to the Hotflush stable for Shackled, the title track of which will already be familiar to those who have heard Scuba's DJ-Kicks mix. It revolves around a lush ever-intensifying chord sequence and twitchy acidic synth line and is perhaps his most effective dancefloor weapon yet. However, it's the following two tracks which provide the real delights; "Feel Like" is a foray into a housier terrain, with an organ melody that evokes some of Marc Kinchen's NY garage productions of the 90s, while "Friends In High Places" sees FitzGerald traverse moodier waters with a slow burning affair, bringing its loose beat in slowly over a wash of pulsating synths.
22 Jul 11
Review: Aus add the supreme talents of Londoner George FitzGerald to their already impressive roster of artists, and the Silhouette EP betrays further evidence of the young producer's gift for modern house centric sounds. Anyone who checked Fitzgerald's two impressive drops for Hotflush will be all over this release as the title track fully demonstrates his talent for merging elements of hypnotic house and swinging 2-step and flushing them with his trademark pitched vocals. Given the warm reception afforded to John Roberts album last year, the Dial man was a smart choice for remix duties but you couldn't imagine the results if you tried. Stripping the track of its warm melodic excesses Roberts transforms it into a stuttering, fractured mass of heaving industrial psychedelia which is without comparison. Finally, FitzGerald swerves proceedings back towards a sense of danceability with the epic, sweeping Detroit meets Hackney Wick rhythms of "Reset".
26 Mar 12
Review: Having firmly found his groove with UK labels such as 2nd Drop and Fourth Wave, Gerry Read's latest EP sees that further notch in his ascendancy as he gets snapped up by Dutch institution Delsin to kick off their new house-orientated series. Stylistically, the four tracks on this new EP continue the mission statement Read has already laid out; there's a claustrophobic quality to lead track "Yeh Come Dance", that finds a cacophony of wooden percussion and angular vocal loops sweating all over each other while the hi-hats leer on drunkenly. As something of a contrast, the beat in "Crawlspace" is decidedly straight by these standards, letting the sequencing of the drum machine call more of the shots before too much wayward sample placing can send the rhythm askew. It doesn't take much to see the jazzy quality in Read's music, but "Bozza" perhaps marks the first instance where this quality has been capitalised on and fully realised. In that sense it marks something of a progression for the young beatsmith, as the complex arrangement of brushed drums, piano and other sonic debris aim for a place other than that usual seedy corner of the dancefloor. "Crooked" rounds off the EP with by distilling all these feelings into one track of strung out strangeness, where the groove is borrowed from garage and then robbed of its innocence, with an underlying bed of mean-spirited audio fragments. As with all the GR output it's evocative stuff, and reminds you that this EP marks not just consistency but also progress for the plucky producer.
07 May 12
Played by: Dusk + Blackdown, The Town - Clekclekboom Recordings, Lpz, Juno Recommends Electro, Leri Ahel (Mutant Disco Radio Show), The Captain, Reilly Steel, Amazinggaijin, Illmana (Dirty Trainer Crew)
Review: After breaking through with some powerful EPs on Night Slugs, Girl Unit is back to continue what he started. Interestingly, the grimey element in his earlier output has been replaced by a screamingly loud electro influence, positioned in the kind of snappy funk favoured by EDMX and his Breakin Records posse. From "Ensemble (Club Mix)" to "Plaza", the sharp edges of the synth work chafe against crisp drum machine workouts, leaving six cold crush bangers in their wake. It's something of a departure for Girl Unit, but he's absolutely nailed the target sound with tracks that will absolutely tear up the dance.
26 Apr 10
Played by: DJ Purple Rabbit, Mary Ann Hobbs, Wire Magazine, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Hackman, Instra:mental, L-Vis 1990, Kashii, Code Duello, Moda Music
Review: Despite having a moniker which sounds like an all-female pop outfit from the 90s, you'll be glad to hear that Girl Unit, is, in fact, nothing of the sort. A house aficionado of the highest calibre, the South London based producer blends elements of UK funky, 2-step, house, garage, Chicago juke and shades of dubstep with an iconoclastic irreverence for genre boundaries. Appearing on Bok-Bok and L-Vis 1990's label, Night Slugs, the I.R.L EP marks the third release for the burgeoning young imprint, which was established earlier this year. The EP - incidentally one of the most hotly tipped records around at the moment - begins with the title track. A dramatic, cinematic intro (rather reminiscent of D&B producer Rockwell's "Noir") initiates the proceedings with a thumping statement of intent and screechy, sliding synth embellishments. A hollow, clip-clop beat underpins the track, moving from dark, moody moments to more mellow, Mount Kimbie-style sections with masterful ease. DVA takes things down a tougher, rougher street with the tapping, grinding synthetics and raw industrial edge of his 'Hi Emotions' remix, whereas Young Gunz crew member, French Fries tunes in to a funky vibe, with shuffling rhythms, a nod to soca and lashings of sun-drenched tropical exoticism.
25 Oct 10
28 Jun 11
Played by: Sharps, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Mike Hindle - Immersed Audio, Shox, Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team
Review: Commonly regarded as the centrepiece of Night Slugs first year as a label, Girl Unit's incendiary ode to dirty south hip-hop is pretty much the epitome of a track that needs no extra embellishment. However we guess you can relent when Dirtybird deity Claude Von Stroke reveals an interest in tackling it. Thus Night Slugs present two of three Von Stroke remixes of the track - expect the third "Fully Dressed" version to appear on a forthcoming remix compilation. Strains of both the "Undressed" and "Butt Naked" remixes were heard several times over the Sonar weekend, and the titles lend some clues as to the stripped down nature of the results. The former slowly reveals an 8bit soaked variant on that distinct synth refrain over skeletal drums which explodes into brilliant colour at just the right moment. The Butt Naked remix is a far darker affair but no less potent.
12 Mar 12
Review: Rounding off his mini-series of releases for Saigon, Goldffinch continues the label's fine tradition of spooked-out techno-dubstep combinations with some fresh and freaky ideas that hit the contemporary nail on the head. "Tip The Dog" maximises the mileage you can get out of a chopped vocal, while the synth hook creates that aforementioned haunting vibe. The beat rolls along on an easy break, all soft hits and voluptuous sub, leaving the decoration to take the limelight. "Outer Twigs" is a 4/4 workout that maintains the lean beats, creating a strange meeting point between UK Funky and techno with the dramatic synth sweeps.
04 Jun 12
Review: Fast following up a stellar joint release from Hackman & Tessela, Dutch bass merchants Audio Culture turn to the Belgian duo Goldffinch, who have been nothing less than on fire over the past six months. "Model" displays their deft touch for minimal UKF snare patterns and sensitively handled vocal slices, all wrapped up in a package of deep, dark bass. "Let Me See" takes things in a Drexciyan electro direction, employing cavernous reverb around sharp flecks of rippling synth. "Belle" meanwhile finishes things up on a futuristic R&B note, filling their sparse production with warm neon blue synth pads. As ever with Goldffinch, this is essential stuff.
14 Feb 13
16 Jan 12
Played by: Odiggity, Chris Coco, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Vorres - Juno, Bunny On Acid, 123mrk, Nunchaku
Review: Although he's got remixes for Nguzunguzu and Crystal Fighters in the bag, this debut full release from the London producer has been eagerly anticipated for a while, especially with Well Rounded records having already introduced the talents of Deadboy to the world. Thankfully it doesn't disappoint; "I Could Be There" consists of a deep garage bassline, shackling percussion and a synth melody that drifts through a fog of auburn mist. It's undeniably the vocal hook that makes it though. "Cactus Banger" meanwhile clatters along with all the aplomb of a Gerry Read production, with sinister atmospherics sitting alongside a confident sense of melody which marks Gongon out to be more than just another also-ran in the bass music stakes.
18 Feb 13
Played by: Mat Cant, Redsoul, Alkalino, Juno Recommends Deep House, Utah Saints, Martin Solveig, Kid Kenobi, Kono Vidovic
Review: This powerhouse duo - a collaboration between none other than Foamo and Rack N Ruin - dropped their killer debut EP last year and since then things have been ominously quiet. Well, now they're back with a stonking great new release that fully explores the pair's interest in all things deep and groovy. "Real" features the vocal talents of rising star Yasmin and manages to be both an exotic pop anthem and a sparse, 4/4 bass head-nodder. "Thor" is nasty dark basement fodder, "Athena" is a lithe, tropical acrobat of a tune and "10 Below" is a sinister house-meets-garage monster.
27 Feb 12
Played by: DJ Stex, Ricky Simmonds (DJ Rsi), Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Sunday Roast, Hxdb, Bizt, Shox, Rack N Ruin, Konnekt - Hot N Heavy, Major Notes, Black Butter Records
Review: The first fruits of a working partnership between excellent tropical bass man Foamo with fellow UK producer Rack N Ruin, Gorgon City's debut surfaces on Black Butter this week. Title tune "The Crypt" draws in fellow Black Butter family members Rubi Dan and Navigator who verbalize over the dancehall/electro hybrid beats, while "The Truth" plays host to singer Janai and thrillingly fuses grimey bass with hooks and a tech-tropical beat.
09 Jan 12
Review: London producer Graphics drops a truly stunning slow-bass beauty in the form of this latest release from Get Me. "There's A Way Back" is deep on an oceanic scale, with gentle waves of bass washing over primitive percussion and hazy strings and snares. The deliriously looped and detuned vocals provide the cherry on top of a very cool little cake. Glasgow's finest Dam Mantle shoots the BPMs up to drop a speaker-rattling remix, while another Graphics original, "Fiddla", gets severely eerie on an almost industrial/gothic vibe.