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25 May 12
Review: There have been whispers of an album from fast rising UK producer Hackman for some time now, and though it's yet to arrive, this free download should give some indication as to its direction. "Forgotten Notes" perhaps shows the producer at his most melancholic, combining bittersweet keys and mournful vocals with some deep bass. But don't let that deceive you - it's still filled with the upbeat garage flutter, and packs more colour into four minutes than the scores of house-influenced bass pretenders that are following in his wake.
18 Jun 12
Review: Following their last 12" from Bristol producer Artefact, Deadplate Recordings hit up the combined talents of Hackman and Bluto for their third release. "What Matters" is an upbeat piece of UKG influenced house, filled with whipcrack snares, manic keys and bright, ravey tendencies. On the flip, James Fox opts for a deeper revision, making the most of the delicate vocal and stretching it out over a swung rhythm, stripping it back to the bare essentials, opting for clouds of wafting synths rather than an all out assault.
07 May 12
Review: In a pairing that captures the vanguard of UK club-ready dynamics, Hackman and Tessela pool their resources to come up with some gutsy jams that celebrate the wilder end of what contemporary dance music is all about. There's a constant roll to "Now I've Lost My Number 4" that sees clattering beats falling into a steady groove, while the bass seems to wobble out regardless of the tumbling rhythms. "Feel Like Me" is the real killer though, bouncing on a nasty bump that belies the more garage-leaning tendencies of the artists while also chucking in a truly unique choice of crooning vocal sample.
26 Nov 12
Review: Heralding the start of the newly minted Church imprint, Happa makes a strong case for the buzz he has received with but a smattering of appearances before now. "Beat Of The Drum" is as percussion-centric as you might hope, and what percussion it is. Ostensibly based around a 2-step wiggle, the monolithic hits that fall with deft swing are infallible in their guaranteed dance-levelling power. Throwing Snow takes said beats into a frantic, juked-out territory on his remix, firing off that instantly identifiable jerky rhythm and a considerable tempo jump. "Bring It Back" is a considerable shift in style, as Happa delves into a menacing electro house well, leaving it to Apes & Seb Wildblood to drop a more casual deep house cut.
24 Sep 12
Review: There's something decidedly old skool about this breezer stepper from the Riddim Fruit camp. Boasting a weary but emotion-rich vocal, twinkling melodies, rubbery double bass and retro-futurist two-step beats, the original version of "Step By Step" sits somewhere between the jazzier end of two-step, broken beat and dubstep. It should go down well with those who enjoy the musically developed productions of, say, Maddslinky. The Pulsar remix, meanwhile, adds some heavier bass and a fluid dubstep shuffle, while retaining the original's autumnal beauty.
03 Oct 12
Review: It's true to say that genres in dance music really are melting away at the moment. With its clippity-clop rhythms, velvety pads and melodic vocals, "Heat Wave" is a warm blend of spacey synth-pop and house. Bassmynt's 'Rain' remix, takes the tune round Burial's for a night in with a broken synth, before Reilly's Indian Summer mix takes it out for a bit of thumping-jazz clubbing (yes, a new genre for us too!). "Buried" is an intriguing mix of doomy, bass-heavy tuneage and ecstatic gospel that is given a mangled garage makeover by HxDB.
26 Nov 12
Played by: Hxdb
Review: Bristol's fresh-faced house progenitor Jacob Martin spreads his wings on this EP, making a clear distinction from the more laconic Outboxx material he jointly creates. There's a refreshing rudeness at work on the sub of "Tonda", while the drum programming comes in at nifty angles without ever peaking too far away from the moodiness of the outset. Likewise "Dusted" is a po-faced exercise in bass placement and minimal distractions, using the tails of select sounds to feed into a taut atmosphere in a style reminiscent of Kowton, the chosen remixer for this single. "Turmoil" in its original form does the nasty with some micro house chops re-contextualised amidst a rolling broken beat, while Kowton does the damage by focusing on a mammoth kick note and then feeding nervy strings into the mix.
20 Apr 12
Review: As part of Bristol's Outboxx, Jacob Martin is no stranger to the unique style of house that is now part of the city's DNA. But while his work as part of that production duo comes from an angle that is undeniably driven by a classic Chicago template, his solo work as Hodge applies a 2-step structure to the same brushed, vintage sounds. Like his contemporary Hackman, it's a melodically lighter take on the genre - "The Fall", despite its name, is a summery slice of swung percussion and funk infused textures which at times recalls Space Dimension Controller's intergalactic timbres. "Crush" meanwhile positively snaps with its whipcrack percussion, whilst offering a more grounded experience with its squidgy bassline, which is momentarily sent skywards on a drifting chord. Another name to add to Bristol's already bursting list of talent.
06 Feb 12
Review: All that time conversing with the likes of Marcus Mixx and DJ Stingray must have rubbed off on Unknown To The Unknown's DJ Haus. Despite his Hot City project (alongside Ben Keen) being known for its bass-heavy 2-step productions, this EP, in collaboration with the LA/Montreal pair LOL Boys, consists of a pair of tweaking acid-house jackers. The title track opens with a flurry of swung 808 kicks and neon stabs, before giving way to a rough and ready 303 line, with the rhythm straightened out in the second half into a tough 4/4 house rhythm. "Whitney (Jus Some Shit)" is another winning piece of Chicago inspired house, with a gnarled bassline, driven by furious cowbells and detuned ghetto vocal samples, all with a grimy undercurrent that keeps its feet firmly entrenched in the underground of contemporary London club music. If you're worried that the new direction will cause some of Hot Ciy and LOL Boys energy to be lost in translation, don't be - this is some their best output to date.
24 Sep 12
Played by: Ya Dun Know, Hxdb, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Sounds Of Sumo, D3adl1ne, Major Notes, Allmostt, Cosby (Car Crash Set), Modo Fractal, Soaka
Review: Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, HxdB aka hexadecibel, is a producer on a mission to deliver forward-thinking bass music to the world. Judging by this, his latest EP, he's right on track. "Up", takes sparse garage beats and elevates them with spacey rave synths, killer staccato rhythms and claps, into a heavenly slice of dancefloor gold. "Stylish Cadaver" is an awesome excursion into tropical riddims, high-pitched vocals and apocalyptic synth chords. Bwana and Grenier provide rain-kissed and synth-drenched mixes respectively. Remixes of the title track come from Pasteman who evokes the spirit of Copacabana in his version and Bassmynt who's mix is all about trippy garage.
10 Apr 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Hxdb, Vorres - Juno, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Mike Hindle - Immersed Audio
Review: Fresh grimey house goodness from this Canadian pairing on an excellent new release from Party Guy. HXDB channels Boddika and Pearson Sound on the UKF-meets-808 funk of "Once Bytten", while the pair break out some Blawan-esque drum heat on the fantastically moody acid blast of "Bassixx". Really strong stuff that deserves to be snapped up by fans of heady and future-focused bass music.
06 Mar 12
Review: HXDB teams up with Self Evident for this monster release on Palms Out Sound. First up is "Hoof Hearted" with its sci-fi sweeping intro and quirky spaced out SFX. Eerie and empty from the off, it swiftly develops into a dark horse of a piece with funky little number with pattering beats and deftly placed sounds. "New Stylee" is another excellent outing with hollow, chopped up vocal, bongo-esque clapping beats and distorted synth work. Max Ulis' remix adds another dimension to the piece and wraps up the EP with stylish panache.
12 Nov 12
Played by: Hxdb
Review: Hybrid Theory returns to Four40 with his most substantial work to date, the five track Tropics EP. The title track more than lives up to its name, an infectious combination of bright UK funky synths, soca rhythms, heavy bass and tropical melody, "Top Boy" combines thick square wave bass with deep house stabs, while "Grime Alarm" is as raucous as its name suggests, switching up the energy between sections with crafty rewinds that lead into hands in the air rave moments. "Pita" strips things back with its simple combination of rattling percussion and deep subs, while closer "I Believe" takes a rolling flex and combines it with glittering keys and expert vocal manipulation.
25 Feb 13
Played by: Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy)
Review: Ahh! The good old days of 8-bit video gaming (when a typical game cartridge took up about as much memory as an email does now). Duck Hunt then, for the Nintendo, 'reimagined' by Hybu as a raw and lo-fi slice of tropical UKG with a bit of pixelated funk for good measure. On remix duties we have Blnd who takes things in a sparser, linear direction. Plot Twist adds luxurious pads for a mellow and exotic joint and Heblank who opts for a high energy ravey rework. Sadly a light gun isn't included.
06 May 13
Review: Ahead of a multitude of new ventures and projects, Hyetal makes a welcome return to hint at where his sound might be heading with this new track. It's a bold move that fuses rasping electro drum patterns with reverbed vocal and trademark plush, detuning melodies that comes on like a dramatic, windswept version of synth-pop built for craggy coastlines. Vessel steps up for the first remix, shearing away the niceties to create some industrial flavoured dread complete with yowling, nebulous wraiths of the original vocal and insistent bass. Factory Floor meanwhile bring their own brand of looping sample revisions that work up to a peppy, disco-fuelled burner with a catchy bassline to anchor the more wayward samples in the background.
17 Sep 12
Review: After somewhat breaking through on Ramp with "Go Shorty" back in 2010, Hypno returns to the label for his latest, bringing yet more of that otherworldly beat science he so favours. "K2" in particular goes deep on the drum programming, twisting intricate and razor sharp percussion across a gamut of organic sounds and moving between moments of uneasy calm and intense workouts. "Kancourde" is based on a 4/4 template but uses it merely as a springboard to all manner of swung and nutty sample drops, creating a veritable jungle of funky weirdness along the way.
22 Apr 13
Played by: Amirali
08 Apr 13
Review: Intent on delivering retro-futuristic club music, Classicworks have teamed up US producers Nick Hook, Vin Sol and Matrixxxman to deliver 3 pure underground dancefloor bangers. Looking to the past for inspiration, but also ensuring contemporary intensity, these tracks are not for the faint hearted! 'I Can Feel It' is old-skool techno with fast footwork-esque drums, '666 Wayz' is pure minimal ghetto house and 'High Volume' ends proceedings with a relentless kick and a plethora of retro vocal samples. You might want a little lie down after dancing to all three in a row.