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16 Feb 13
Review: Dave Huismans is always a producer guaranteed to confound your expectations; he released a slew of material last year that ranged from cavernous techno rave for 50 Weapons, uneasy liquid funk for Clone's Basement Series and the dehydrated desert rhythms of the Air Jordan EP. His eponymous imprint is where the real crazy stuff seems to land however, and we've been eager for another since the eardrum splitting "Take The Plunge". Thankfully this hand-stamped return to the label is no disappointment; "Ahead" is a broken combination of industrial rhythms and breakbeat-inspired sampling, described rather succinctly by one Soundcloud commenter as "stutter funk", while "Endgame" is a more conventional techno number, made no less furious thanks to its Underground Resistance undertones, serrated bass and malfunctioning drums, reminiscent of the recent Numbers reissue of Unspecified Enemies' classic "Multi Ordinal Tracking Unit". Essential!
07 Dec 11
Review: Take The Plunge sees Dave Huismans return to the A Made Up Sound moniker for the first time in a year, following the superb Fever album under his 2562 alias. Huisman is known for his particularly unique productions, but "Take The Plunge" is perhaps his most mind-bending yet, combining his signature garage-inflected techno rhythms and combining them with syncopated samples, chopped and distorted beyond all recognition, while their pneumatic drill-like quality pans across both channels at irregular intervals. The (digital) B-Side sees "Anger MGMT", which, despite its name, is actually less aggressive then its counterpart. With the same kind of clattering, ramshackle beats, it is a slightly more straightforward techno track, albeit with dub influenced bass and scaffold pole percussive qualities providing its flavour. The EP closes with "Take The Plunge (First Thought)", a beatless version of the original which regardless of its abrasive jackhammer tones, actually has a bizarrely soporific effect. Another fantastic EP which is further proof of Huismans' unique genius.
16 Oct 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Electro House, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, DJ Cure (Aufect Recordings), Fed Conti
Review: Zinc and A-Trak's transatlantic collabo connection picks up where "Stingray" left us with this firing piece of no-nonsense euphoric grit. Natalie Storm's vocals hog most of the spotlight. A dancehall diva with crisp delivery and just a smidgeon of raunchy undertone, she drives the floor into oblivion as the levels peak beneath. Remix-wise it's satisfaction central as we're smashed to pieces by Shadow Child (woozy breakbeats with a heavy dose of sub), Dismantle (boshing, full-paced electro stomp) and JWLS (D&B/half-step madness).
05 Nov 12
Review: Having forged a career out of the sort of ballsy, in-your-face garage/rave hedonism, Christian Sibthorpe is attempting to take his A1 Bassline project in another direction. As a result, the Breakaway EP's title track is a deep, fluid groover that seductively shimmies between the speakers. Rather than bowel-bothering basslines and blunt beats, there are classic US garage keys, woozy pads and intricate drums. "Open Mind" and the thunderous "Copper" feature rhythms deeply rooted in UK garage, but still boast more depth than your average Olympic diving pool. If you've enjoyed Scuba's recent outings, you'll definitely enjoy this.
20 Aug 12
Review: A1 Bassline, aka Croydon's Christian Sibthorpe, has moved on considerably from his ghetto rave beginnings, getting deeper and darker in the process. This latest EP sees him really pursue a retro sound, especially on "Slur" where we are taken to a David Morales Red Zone party in early 90s New York. Up next, "Slingback" is altogether darker: melding tech house with a hint of vintage Detroit techno for an intense and hypnotic trip.
19 Mar 13
Review: There's something weirdly familiar about this collection of bass-heavy, warehouse-friendly stompers from Australian newcomer Abstract Now. Check, for example, the explosive 808 cowbells, rumbling bass, hectic beats and borrowed vocal of "Default Drub", or the rolling garage-meets-rave thump of "Evrythng" - both sound like the work of someone with a keen ear for bass music trends - see the colossal "Forever" and bate "The Way It Is" - while keeping his productions impressively on-point. A long and illustrious career awaits.
24 Apr 11
Played by: Tvyks, Shadow Dancer, Liondub, J-Wow (Buraka Som Sistema), Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka, J Courage, Groove Armada
Review: Addison Groove's explorations into dubstep under the Headhunter moniker have inherently informed his sound to date and his more recent experimentations into the now fairly ubiquitous (thanks to Planet Mu) sounds of Chicago juke's latest permutation footwork in tracks like "Foot Crab" or "Work It" have really made ears prick up. Here, he returns to Pinch's Tectonic imprint and builds on his reputation, dicing up vocals Jamie Oliver style, bouncing synths off them, reinforcing it all with 808 bass and dizzying bleeps and clicks. "Make Um Bounce" blends bongo drums with ticking hi-hats, rippling rhythmic patterns and an intoxicated repetitive soundscape that sucks you in for the duration. Intense stuff here.
06 Jan 13
12 May 13
Played by: Big Dope P
Review: Bristol's DJ Die has gone one better than signing Addison Groove to his Gutterfunk imprint, he's only gone and collaborated with him on both tracks here as well! The footwork-influenced side project of Headhunter, Addison Groove assumes charge of "Keyhole" - a stripped back excursion into sultry voodoo beats. Meanwhile on "Hydropump", DJ Die takes the lead steering this ship into breaky hip-house waters in the process.
17 May 13
Played by: Sccucci Manucci
Review: Having made his debut on Prime Numbers earlier this year with his titular contribution to a split release alongside Truss and Massimo De Lena, Adesse is granted a full release with this all killer no filler Untitled Love EP. For someone who came to the fore with a version of Theo Parrish's "Sky Walking, it's unsurprising that the title track here has a rugged charm reminiscent of the outspoken Sound Signature boss - it's all about that thumping snare son! Meanwhile "Supernal" veers into deep steppers territory and contains some ingenious looping of a Laurie Anderson standard, whilst "Metachemistry" highlights Adesse's talent for loose, freeform arrangements.
13 Mar 12
Played by: Chrissy Murderbot, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Bizt, Bunny On Acid, Simon/Off, Konnekt - Hot N Heavy
Review: A real joy for bass heads and fans as Bristol's Admin & Mahni combine to mix the sonics of Julio Bashmore with Om Unit beats and detuned hip-hop acapellas on the excellent "Formattin'". On an even more minimal yet deliciously tuneful vibe, "Next Universe" reminds of early Morgan Geist and his brilliantly twee electronic weirdness, while remixes from Kon, Magnum, Slick Shoota and Konga Konga add to a hugely impressive and forward-thinking release.
09 Sep 12
Review: Otherwise known as Rob McAndrews, former James Blake collaborator Airhead is fast becoming one of the most interesting producers on the R&S roster since Blake's movement to more mainstream concerns. Taking a more explicitly rhythmic direction than previous release which concentrated on lush acoustic textures, "Pyramid Lake" combines rapidfire percussion, breathy vocal samples and lo-fi VHS textures to create the most unlikely club banger you'll hear this year. "Black Ink" meanwhile sounds like a maelstrom of kickdrums tumbling up and down a rubber staircase with stray hi-hats and handclaps thrown into the mix. Undeniably one of the best R&S cuts this year.
25 Mar 12
Review: The collaborator of choice for James Blake, Airhead has been wisely taking his time to develop on his own terms, sticking largely to his preferred stable at Brainmath to release his unique brand of utterly decayed 21st century beat music. Now though he steps up to R&S with a delicate 2-tracker that sees his burgeoning sound get a touch more full-bodied. "Wait" highlights the man's guitar talents, letting languid notes ring out over a typically deconstructed beat. "South Congress" however echoes Art of Noise and other such elegant experimentalists in its bombastic composition. Highly recommended.
14 May 12
Review: Despite his productions being of a consistently high quality, Al Tourettes' blend of deft electro and dark UKF inflected bass still hasn't gained the same level of notoriety as that of his peers - which is criminal given how likely these tracks are to smash up the dance. Hopefully this release on Sneaker Social Club will go someway to rectifying that - "Habit 7" goes in hard with frantic snares, dubbed out chords and a gnawing bassline which tunnels deep into the mix, while "Inventing" is one for the Swamp81 heads - coming on like a jam between Boddika and Roska, filled with complex, clipped rhythms held together with elastic. Highly recommended.
16 Jul 12
Review: Released by the fledgling label grown out of the popular dance blog We Are Blah Blah Blah, the ridiculously young Alfie makes a killer contribution to the grimy techno/UK bass scene with this two-tracker that's already garnered support from Four Tet, Claude Von Stroke and Addison Groove. On a militant tech tip, "Uncomfortably Numb" rocks a rush of pattering hats, colourful slow release pads and some seriously deft arrangements, while "About Midday" is a gloriously gonzoid thump of 808s and skeletal melodies. Hugely impressive stuff - these have a long shelf-life indeed.
18 Mar 13
15 Apr 13
Review: For his latest signing, Gilles Peterson looks closer to home - Brighton to be precise - where he found the Anushka duo of Max Wheeler & Victoria Port. Not particularly exotic, but the music, which they describe as 'bass music from the future', covers that requirement. Theirs is a blend of deep bass, glistening synths and breaky urban beats flavoured with digital riddims ("Wired"), deep tropical ("Yes Guess") and soulful house ("I Have Love 4 You"). Definitely going places.
05 Mar 12
Review: Italian Aquadrop bites back with full force, following some stunning releases in the last year or so, with his Street Player EP on Seclusias. The title track is all tripped out, glitchy beats, stretched out, distorted vocals and gloriously fuzzy synths. Bathed in subtle, stripped back beauty, this one's for the heads. "Meaning Of Dreams" continues in a similar vain with a Burial-like intro and quirky mid part, dominated by curious instrumental quivers and bleeps. There's also an instrumental of "Street Player" for all you purists.
23 Jul 12
Review: Italian producer Aquadrop has impressed with his releases in the past and now steps up with his next release, the gloriously entitled "Synthesized Landscapes From Future" on the Seclusiasis imprint. An introductory "Welcome" skit lures us in to Aquadrop's world, where the "Eagle Nebula" kicks off with its quirky synths and ADHD-riddled bleeps. "Mare Tranquillitatis" is another synth-drenched number reminiscent of Rustie and Joker at times, while "Back & Forth" does just what it says on the tin with a playful abandon. Then "See Ya" brings things to an end with quirky patterns and hasty bleeps and blips.
02 May 11
10 May 13
02 Apr 12
Played by: In Flagranti
Review: Marking the second release on Jacques Greene's label, Holographic comes on instantly like a psychedelic indie rock take on electronica. There's an impressive diversity to the three tracks on this EP, from the beatless dream-pop of "Vitamin D" to the homespun funk of "Purple City", but the unifying factor is the fuzzed-out quality to every sound. Crumbly synth tones sound like they've sat out in the sun too long, while the beats feel like they're being played on the decking of a rickety beach shack south east of nowhere. With the season nearly upon us, it's the perfect time to let a little Arclight into your life.
26 Mar 13
Review: Bristol's champion of full-bodied and immaculately produced dubstep business brings more of his plush melodics to bear on the Halocyan imprint after sterling turns for the likes of Apple Pips. "Addict" is a prime example of his style, fusing crisp, sugarsnap garage drums with thick swathes of synths that dart and parry around each other with grace and skill. Komon steps up on the remix tip with a simple fashioning of the track into a chunky house groove that retains the essence of the original. "23 Summers" takes a more laidback approach to the steppiness, slinging R&B samples around in a delirous and boogie-inflected haze, while "Iron Oxide" plunges into a more rolling breakbeat flavour shot through with a healthy dose of melancholia. Finally, October gets jacking on a remix of "23 Summers" that piles on metallic percussion and bubbling acid in a linear and psyched out fashion that's as much industrial as it is techno.
15 Oct 12
10 Apr 12
Review: UK bass producer Artek turns in a blinder on this new EP from B.YRSELF, crafting a cocksure rhythm from subs and dry percussion on the spacey "Out of Touch" and laying down icy stabs and UKF-influenced beats on "Earth One". "Grief" however is the speaker-buster - a cosmic trip around top-end filter pads and and thick enveloping bass that also gets some great remixes from Umba, Keiska and Bombe.
23 Jan 12
Review: The fledgling Deadplate label delivers another fantastic EP of bass-heavy post-everything music. This time round it's the fresh garage-infused house sound of Artefact that gets an airing, already championed by the likes of Mary Anne Hobbs and Dark Sky. "Archaic Line" showcases his knack for clattering Blawan-esque percussion, offset by an atmospheric haze of foggy chords. "Deserted" meanwhile is characterised by its deep, resonating bassline, and stretched out synths which sound like a bleaker, more greyed-out take on eski grime. Topping it off is a remix of the title track from hotly-tipped young producer Graphics, who turns the hesitant, stuttering original into a straightened out house monster, complete with deep melody and bass that turns the track into a tune going to present-day London via 80s Chicago. Incredible stuff, and certainly marks Artefact and Deadplate out as artist and label to watch in 2012.
04 Feb 13
Review: Having already delivered some attention-grabbing techy UKF bombs on Deadplate and Rebirth, Bristol's Ryan Bronfield now finds himself on esteemed imprint Some Think Sounds. In keeping with the label's style, "The Way It Do" is housier: deep and sensual without being boring, and full of quirky, off kilter percussive elements and effects. "We Trapped" is deeper and weirder: sounding like the wheels could fall off this disco bus at anytime, and all the more fun because of it. Damu also remixes the title track in a dark techno fashion that wouldn't be out of place in a vintage DJ Hell set.
08 Oct 12
Review: Having already marked himself out as a producer to keep an eye on with his EP for Deadplate early this year, Artifact moves to Local Action for another EP of swung UKG influenced techno. Two of these tracks are refined versions of tracks that have been in Local Action sets for the past few years; "Worn" combines a strong but lean rhythm with a wonky acid-tinged bassline, building up the drama with its rising strings to create a unique hybrid of techno and UKG, in the vein of Mosca's killer cuts for 3024, while "Turtle Fight" takes the acid theme full throttle with its combination of fierce squelch and rapidfire vocals. Finally, new track "Drain" combines the atmospherics and vocal trickery of early Joy Orbison with metallic, industrial percussion and warbling sub-bass.