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17 Dec 12
Review: French imprint ClekClekBoom sew up a killer year with their final transmission of 2012, from French producer Jean Nipon. A producer already well versed in ghetto house styles with his early material for Institubes, the title track sees him engage in the same kind of vocal cut ups as fellow countryman French Fries, combining it with threadbare 808 rhythms and thundering bass weight, whilst "Black Things On Desk" and "35 Thieves" see him experimenting with the same contemporary dub techno styles as Bambounou's recent missives for 50 Weapons, delivering a clutch of deep bass-techno tools primed for the floor.
10 Dec 12
Review: Wonderfully deep vibes abound on this young Cornish producer's Prospekt debut. There's a heavy emphasis on the dark garage flavours throughout as we're guided through the mournful pads and wistful melodic structures. "Music Work You" whistles on a subdued two-step with an underplayed euphoria, "They Heard I Was Good" carries some really interesting vocal harmony processing over a more solid club beat while "Make It Through" builds and builds with beef beats and a deft vocal loop. Another fine release from Prospekt.
20 Aug 12
Review: This forward-thinking Bristolian (aka Joe Cowton) has been building up a name for himself over the last few years thanks to his genre-blending productions under such monikers as Narcosist and most notably Kowton. On "Sunblind" he explores the rarely charted waters where dub, bass and UK funky meet with evocative results. "Slow" is a moody slow-burner complete with haunting atmospherics wafting around a stark drum n bass soundscape. His own remix of "Frontier Dub" is a linear garage workout: deep and dubby with real swing.
09 Apr 13
Review: Natlek is a 22 year old Italian producer called Giovanni Manzoli whose life motto is "never say no to a panda" Apparently a panda has never said no to him either (nope, us neither). Anyway it makes sense that this bonkers bass EP is being released on the equally bonkers bass label Lucky Beard. "At L'Ass" is a totally weird voodoo ghetto banger in the same vein as Marble Players. "Bart Wiser", based around a Diplo-style gunshot sample, sounds like a shoot-out at a strip club. Lastly "Beck's Bunny" is an insane staccato stop-starter featuring chopped up vocals and a malfunctioning keyboard. In other words, excellent!
26 Sep 11
Review: The latest offering from the mighty Hemlock sees a new producer enter their stable: Toronto based Nautiluss, whose brooding take on garage provides a more than worthy addition to their catalogue. "Ultraviolet" is a collaboration between Bertie and former Simian and Black Ghosts vocalist Simon Lord under his Lord Skywave alias. As you'd expect from such a collaboration, it's undoubtedly one of the poppier things that Hemlock have released, as Lord's maudlin vocals float atop metronomic handclaps and symphonic pads not unlike something out of a 70s sci-fi soundtrack. Instrumental track "Bleu Monday" on the other hand is far more what you would expect from the label, as swampy bass sits underneath stuttering drums with definite garage leanings. It's nicely accented by a bright kwaito-style melody which rears up at the halfway point before the rhythm rolls into a cyclone at the end.
22 Oct 12
Played by: J Courage
Review: The 2-step garage revival shows no signs of abating and, with tunes like this, why on earth should it? "Everything" recalls the days of SFA's 'Flowers': rockin' trilby hats and leather slip-ons on the dancefloor of The End, circa '99. "Apologies" is a deeper affair where classy sax, fretless bass and gentle chords nestle with expensive beats in the back of MJ Cole's BMW. One for the club and one for the afterparty, job done.
10 Sep 12
Review: This new Hotflush release from mysterious duo NeferTT - apparently a meeting of minds between two familiar bass music producers - comes on like a thoroughly inebriated version of Sepalcure. Throughout, the EP offers a delicious blend of intricate melodies, woozy warmth and full-bodied bottom end. Whether reviving the bagginess of break-based '89 house (see "Blue Skies Red Soil"), reinventing instrumental hip-hop ("Cleo's Spot") or celebrating rush-inducing deepness ("Pyramel"), NeferTT's compositions are never less than picturesque.
07 Jan 13
Review: Manchester's Nemmz is doing his best to combat these dreary winter blues, styling his new EP around shimmering tropical vibes. "Up To No Good" kicks things of with mellow garage beats, gentle chord stabs and a cheeky hip hop vocal sample. "Ocean Blue" dives into deeper, crystalline waters, with even dreamier synth pads and mellow beats, while "Without Ya" ups the energy stakes with dubby bass, incessant beats and a huge breakdown. Finally "Break You Down" is a future bass/2 step fusion boasting pitched RnB vocals and evocative palm tree-lined synthwork.
27 Feb 12
Review: After last year's 10" for Lone's Magic Wire, Neon Jung returns with another slab of bass-toting badness for the ballsier side of the dance. "Delirium Tremens" takes the principles of early breakbeat and matches it to some menacing bass stabs, starry-eyed synths and sublime soul hooks. It's nailed perfectly for a floor-smashing winner, and paves the way perfectly for Nathan Fake to freak everything out on the remix. The beat is a surprisingly focused garage swinger for experimentally minded Mr. Fake, but the synths more than make up for that as they swirl around in a maelstrom of detuned magnificence.
03 Jul 12
Played by: Massacooramaan
Review: Hailing from the ever-fertile climes of L.A, Nguzunguzu look set to break through with this sprawling release on Hippos In Tanks. It's hard to latch on to a specific angle the duo are coming from, so fluid is their approach to constructing collages of samples. There's a pervading tension that hovers just overhead at all times, sometimes manifested in spectral voices, sometimes in ghostly chimes, but it comes no clearer than in the X-Files aping melodic hook of "Drop Cage." The production shimmers and shivers with a plethora of signifiers from jungle to dubstep via coke rap, but really it's the loaded atmosphere that will draw you in.
26 Dec 11
04 Jul 11
Review: Maya Medvesek cuts loose her former 8Bitch guise with this release for Svetlana Industries. The first two tracks in particular have a bold, anthemic quality to them that is both instantly accessible and satisfying. The production itself is weighty, with a rumbling bottom end and a healthy dose of dirt, but it's the optimistic, reaching-for-the-skies feeling that "Night Bird" especially has which will see this tune explode. Unknown To The Unknown meanwhile delivers an abrasive remix of "Night Bird", which finds a groove and slams it hard, matching the chunkiness to be found elsewhere on the EP.
30 Apr 12
Played by: Sounds Of Sumo
Review: This time last year, London-based producer NKC caused a bit of a fuss with his debut 12", the impressive 8-bit/tropical soundclash "Marie". Here he returns with another EP of on-point goodness that's every bit as booming as that notable debut - better still, it's seeing release on Awkward Movements, one of our favourite little labels. "Fading Floor" fixes acid house era rave riffs (think "This Is Acid") and spiraling vocal samples to a shuffling tropical rhythm, while "Shockout" nags away with darkroom stabs and clandestine percussion. Dave Jones dons his Maddslinky guise to remix the latter, offering more left-of-centre bass pressure. There's also a fine Raimo refix of "Fading Floor" that tames the rave elements in favour of a vintage techno flex.
27 Aug 12
Played by: Godfather Sage - Noisy Meditation
Review: Steeped in the tropes of the Burial fallout, Nocow sports his influences with pride as he delivers the second release for Infinite Machine. Steady breakstep beats with an earthy quality drown serenely in a dense vat of pad on EP opener "The Man Behind The Suit", while forlorn RnB vocal licks loop around harmoniously throughout. The trick is repeated in a similar fashion on "I Just Want You (To Know)", albeit with slightly less morose end results, while "Like Apart" and "I Told You" change tact with a driving 4/4 undercurrent upon which the pensive sonic decoration travels.
29 Jun 12
22 Mar 13
Review: Be prepared for this one, most certainly not for the faint hearted as Dutch hardcore producer Nosferatu drops his much anticipated album on Be Yourself Music. Holland has long been the breeding ground for the worlds biggest hard dance talent with the likes of headhunterz and Wildstylez. Raw and vicious are two words the label use to describe the 25 tracks, which is a fitting summary.. that said there is plenty of clever melody work and the production is massive. There are plenty of MC / hype-man vocals throughout and appearances from the likes of Evil Activities, The Playah, and Ruffneck. If you like it hard, fast, and crazy, then don't waste anytime in grabbing this. Prepare for the walls and windows to shake and shatter!
25 Jun 12
Review: Expect low slung, synth-laden party beats to erupt from this three-track release by Notion. The "Digits EP" gets things started with a burst of bleepy beats in aptly entitled "Digits", which is all hazy computerized sounds and simple progressions before it drops and becomes an altogether different beast, with pumping beats and shimmying rhythms. "Soundbwoy Killa", up next, pairs an iconic vocal snippet with grinding mid range, clapping beats and a fun, funky vibe. "Watch Here" is another dancefloor-driven piece with grouchy beats, reverberating vocal and compelling melody.
11 Feb 13
Review: Formerly known for his drum & bass productions when he first emerged, Russian producer Nphonix is in a funkier mood these days, not least on this EP for Audio Culture. "Tactix" plies a similar trade in disorientating sonic clutter as Gerry Read's disassembled house, except the garage rhythm underneath the dubby scrapes and swells is far more militant. "Don't I Feel" is a moodier cut featuring plenty of soulful vocal licks and a tech house persistence, while "Naimina" heads into a white flash of dub techno adaptations. "20Cube" heads down its own path of icy electro, and yet still the same dubby sensibility informs the melodics and sound design, obviously brought even further to the fore on "Naimina (Dub)". Highly recommended.
12 Mar 13
Played by: Juno Recommends Dancehall/Ragga