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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.
17 May 10
Review: You can always rely on Ramadanman. The ever-prolific, highly renowned Hessle Audio favourite comes up trumps once again with this beautiful, soulful slice on Hemlock Recordings (the label co-owned by London based producer, Untold, which has seen such luminaries as James Blake, Pangaea and Fantastic Mr Fox pass through its forward thinking, open minded doors already). Inspiring, deeply moving and delicately articulated, "Glut" is possibly one of Ramadanman's most poignant and reflective works to date, with a wailing synth slowly dying and trailing out towards the end. "Tempest" may be familiar to those of you who heard Scuba's 'Sub:stance' mix from earlier on this year. The seven-minute contemplation is initiated by a simple rat-a-tat of wood on metal-sounding timbre. A defiant drum kick interrupts the blissed out subtle euphoria of the first section half way through, marking a movement towards a more punchy, bleepy second phase, yet strangely retaining the ambience that seems to consistently underpin Ramadanman's productions. It's tempestuous, but not entirely tempest-like (there's a distinction to be made here, somehow).
05 Apr 10
28 Nov 11
Review: Glaswegian imprint Numbers maintain the release pressure that's built up a head of dizzying steam in 2011 with their 20th drop being a label debut from Randomer. The Norf Londoner's musical path began with jungle and that's more than apparent on the title track "Real Talk" which will get a certain SoYoer called Blawan worried about his status as the best drum programmer in town. It's the sort of disjointed, thumping house track that provides immediate gratification, especially when the sub destroying bass purge comes through. "Lime Pie" is equally thrilling, gradually aligning into a ruffed up 303 flex and concrete thick drums, whilst "Stalker" throws pots and pans into the rhythmic equation with neck snapping results. Possibly our favourite NMBRS drop to date.
20 Feb 12
Review: Randomer's "Real Talk" was one of the highlights of the Numbers output last year, a gleefully chunky piece of bass-heavy techno that rightfully raised the producer's stock to the level of his peers such as Blawan. This new release for Untold's Hemlock Recordings shows that "Real Talk" was no one-off, delivering two tracks that punch even harder than before. "Scruff Box" utilises beefed up, lo-fi 808 drums whilst 80s electro samples give the track some brash swing - in the hands of any other producer the results could be terrible, but in his hands it's the sound of being hit in the face with a bag of rocks. "Get Yourself Together" meanwhile combines detuned piano and string stabs with clattering hi-hats and a white-hot bassline. Despite the schlock horror feel of the samples, the results have the required kick - and most importantly the required charm - to make this another winning release for the producer.
01 Oct 12
Played by: Paul Mac, Brisa, Alexander Robotnick, Shadow Dancer, Wildlife!, Allmostt, Cosby (Car Crash Set)
Review: Not content with one release on Untold's Hemlock imprint this year, Randomer returns with another three tracks of what the label describes as "deranged acid breakbeat music". "We Laugh, We Scream" sees an overdriven 303 stretched to its limits and concrete drums go up against a Dance Mania inspired vocal, while "Nar" adopts a more linear approach, combining a weighty industrial feel with chopped up strings and creaking bass. Finally, "Freak Dub" is described by the label as sounding like Dillinja making house music - something that sounds quite accurate in light of the track's stomach churning bass and metallic clatter.
30 Apr 13
Played by: Cosby (Car Crash Set)
26 Jul 10
Played by: Tom Central
05 Dec 11
Review: Redinho offers a taste of what to expect from his forthcoming debut album for Numbers with a one-track EP entitled Stay Together. The sultry Chromeo-meets-UK bass vibe of the track bodes well for the full album, which is set to drop on the Glaswegian imprint in 2012. The London-based producer has already served up two previous EPs for Numbers, namely 2010's excellent Bare Blips and this year's Get Off. It rounds off a big second year in business for Numbers, which saw the divisive Jamie xx 12? released alongside material from Ill Blu, Redboy, Italian techno legend Lory D and, most memorably, Mosca. Highly recommended.
16 Apr 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage
Review: A huge new release on the Four40 label sees Regality kill it with an exceptionally fly mix of 808 kicks and snares, soulful vocals and distant harmonies on the excellent "Celebrate". A range of mixes back it up nicely, going from the dubby and mellow house of Charlie Banks & Stacklow's revisit to the more upfront floor-focused sounds of Squarehead.
18 Apr 12
Played by: Chrissy Murderbot, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Hxdb, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Reilly Steel, Urban Knights, Wolfhaus
Review: With releases on Hot N Heavy and Senseless under his belt, as well as heavy support from bass-monsters like Crookers, Canblaster, Mumdance and AC Slater, San Francisco-based producer Reilly Martin makes a startling debut on Top Billin'. Deep, Joy Orbison-like textures (as on "Risin") are matched by energetic yet breezy clubsteppers like the Snoop-sampling "Work It" and the fiendish Detroit via Dirty South banger "Oh So Nice". A perfect fit on Top Billin's superb roster of mind-expanding bass producers.
05 Nov 12
Played by: Ennio Styles (Stylin Radio Show), Hxdb, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Cosby (Car Crash Set)
Review: Resketch, aka Liverpool's own Steve Burnett, is on a bass-led roll right now and this collaboration with Infinite Machine seems very likely to up the heat even further. "Numf" is all Tropically tinged staccato drum breaks, pitch-bent rave pads and sped up vocal snippets. "It Could Be" is a very different beast, being a fluffy and melodic retro house affair complete with hazy diva wails and tweaked piano notes. "Reason For A Reason" is seductive futuristic R&B that gets a moody slow-clap makeover courtesy of Framework. Lead track "Numf" returns to end things on a high, with Liar's Herescu 14 mix opting for an upbeat, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink, electro-funk route.
21 Jan 13
Played by: Diplo, Juno Recommends Techno, Aka Tell (A.g.trio), Martin Sauvage /Soukouch Ethnik/, Laidback Luke, Sister Bliss
Review: Henry Riton's last release was the co-incidentally-titled Dark Place, which came out shortly after the tragic death of his Carte Blanche partner, DJ Medhi in 2011.Having understandably kept a low profile since then, he's now back with this powerful new release on Ed Banger. "Bang Your Head" is a hysterical, anthemic acid freak-out, "Dance To The Great Golfball In The Sky", is a glammy electro-house stomper, and "Lost My Mind" is, surprisingly, a total ghetto hip-hop curveball that's echoed on EP closer, "Girls In The Hood" - a deep and heavy bass-led grinder boasting a cameo from French Electroclash chanteuse Miss Kittin. Good to have him back!
31 Aug 12
Review: Seemingly on a mission to issue forth as much music as humanly (or robotically?) possible, Robot Koch is once again channeling his future-minded beats through his usual portal of Project: Mooncircle. The sometime Jahcoozi member has hit upon a fertile spring of creativity with his solo sound, mining the hypnotic shuffle of home-listening 2-step whilst embracing techno textures and still finding plenty of room for baggy hip hop tempo diversions. On this release the mood rarely remains in one place, as a swinging boom bap will melt into an exercise in ambient dynamics, before coming up for air in a strange bath of minimal beats and bass rip curls. With pristine production values to round it off, there's no dip in the quality even if the quantity is staggeringly high.
25 Mar 13
Review: When Peggy Lee slinked around in the 50s to the sultry strains of "Fever", could she ever have imagined that half a century later, people like Romare would be turning her tune into a weed smokin', love makin' slo-mo RnB jam? Unlikely to say the least, but "Your Love (You Give Me Fever") is on the money and respectful, if different to the original's mood. Elsewhere, "Jimi & Faye" is a warped take on blues, "Taste Of Honey" recalls the days of daisy age hip-hop and "Hey Now" is a weary and haunting piano lament.
03 May 12
14 May 12
Review: Canadian label Infinite Machine have been nurturing homegrown bass talent, but now they turn their attentions to the UK for the debut release for Rommek. Like producers Jack Dixon, George Fitzgerald and James Fox, Rommek's brand of house is one that flirts with garage and UKF rhythms. The title track takes a huge vocal sample and imbues its snappy percussion with a warm glow; "Maisie" meanwhile takes a delicate 2-step rhythm and glittering melodies, and firms them up with some deep subs, while "Turquoise" is another masterful slice of swung deep house, given some verve with its keen rave stabs and rippling arpeggio.
21 Jan 13
21 Oct 12
Review: Having previously made a couple of fleeting appearances on Pinch and Ginz's Tectonic imprint, UK funky/bass music heavyweight Roska ("Roska, Roska, Roska!" etc) returns to the Bristol-based label with a formidable two-tracker. The accompanying press release describes the title track as "the soundtrack to a hunter chasing his prey through a humid jungle". While this is perhaps a little far-fetched, there's certainly something particularly tribal about the relentless 133 BPM UK funky rhythms and sweaty, foreboding backdrop. "Spearhead", on the other hand, sits somewhere between dubstep and his usual rhythmic flex, pushing forward on a swell of electronic pulses and low-end pressure.
27 Feb 12
Review: A massive eight-track release on No Hats No Hoods. "1 Up" is an 8-bit bleepy computer game-referencing slab of the murkiest business imaginable, which gets remixed by Martin Kemp into a quirky little ditty, with pared down beats n bass, plenty of percussion, and Rocks, who roughs things up good and proper with choppy beats and dramatic synth sweeps. Original piece "Mega" is a heavy, synth-laden piece with ominous overtones, whilst J Beatz's interpretation brings out the cinematic drama. "Beatfighter" sees Royal T return to the 8-bit bleeps, which Bok Bok accentuates with some grouchy bass in his remix. Final cut "Gargoyle" is a low-slung riddim with buckets of character, and Silencer's remix is a killer.
13 May 13
Played by: Cosby (Car Crash Set)
Review: A contemporary of Dance Mania artists DJ Deeon and DJ Slugo in the 90s, RP Boo is credited as a founding father of the footwork genre; his Ol' Dirty Bastard sampling track from 1997, "Baby Come On", is widely regarded as the track responsible for spawning the genre. Having released footwork albums from Young Smoke and Traxman in recent times, Planet Mu look to this godfather for their latest full length project. Even within the small footwork scene Legacy is a unique album; taking the sample wizardry to far out, often abstracted places, RP Boo nevertheless grounds his experimentalism with easily recognisable samples (Justin Timberlake, Queen), making his productions as raucous as they are idiosyncratic. Essential stuff.
30 Jul 12
26 Apr 13
Review: Although it has only one release to its name - Happa's Beat Of The Drum - London club night turned record label Church is looking to be an imprint to keep close tabs on, especially on the strength of this second EP, from young London producer Rumah. Although his debut from last year demonstrated an atmospheric, syncopated style of bass music, "Stutter" shows a marked progression into swung techno styles, with a weighty track full of concrete rhythms and glassy synths; "Murmur" is similarly powerful, throwing acid flecks and sunken vocals into the mix. Meanwhile, Apes & Seb Wildblood offer their own take on "Stutter", tempering some of the original's more ferocious attributes with some subtle dub techno elements, while James Fox refixes "Murmur" into a slinky, mid-tempo house groover, whose swelling synths offer something considerably deeper.
10 Oct 11
Played by: Iamseife, DJ Cable, Toyboy & Robin, Starkey, Star Eyes, Aquadrop, Hospital Records DJ Chart
Review: The Glaswegian's highly anticipated album on one of underground music's finest labels comes not a moment too soon. The 13-track album kicks off with the eponymous track of the album "Glass Swords" sets the tone for the piece, which quickly manifests itself to be a glorious fusion of R&B, hip-hop, dubstep, UKG, techno and even more esoteric sub-genres. Highlights from across the selection include the euphoric trance-tinged "Hover Traps", psychadelic "Ultra Thrizz" with its dubstep swagger and firing synths and lush "After Light". Glass Swords really is an album of our time, and we really urge you to check this one out.
12 Mar 12
Played by: Homegroove Project
Review: Off the back of the widely lauded Glass Swords LP, Rustie peels off a prime slice of crossover potential with a radio edit of "Surph". Featuring Nightwave on vocals, it's a blindingly bright production that cuts it with the big budget chart toppers. Fusing the stacatto synth lines of trance, boogie lead lines and the chunky drum machine work of trap rap, it's as razor-sharp a production as you're ever likely to hear. All it takes is Nightwave's honey-coated (and vocodered) R&B croon to make this a serious contender for summertime radio smash.
26 Jun 12
Review: Lucky Beard introduce the hitherto unheard sounds of Italian producer RVBRA to the world with this two track EP of bass-heavy hybrid sounds that come stripped back and lean. The acoustic tones that open "Fisting Alliance" suggest a gentle ride, but that's before the stop-start kick drums come raining down, while chopped up vocals and abstract synths add to the track's dark and sinister quality. "Crude Oil" meanwhile is a more frantic affair, combining stark, jagged bass with syncopated percussion, taking the standard bass template and adding unique texture with its strange, reverb heavy atmosphere, coating the whole thing in sepia-toned grime.
26 Feb 13
Played by: Wednesday The Rat
Review: This Italian producer dropped the eyebrow-raising Fisting Alliance last summer before dropping...er, off the radar! Well, fear not because he's back and he means business. This two-tracker arrives sounding not quite like anything else: "Never Shaved" is a killer concoction of weird tribal beats (almost sounding like early Crookers in places), creepy night jungle noises and whistles and things. In short, the best voodoo party on the island. "Mungi" again features almost fidget-y beats (too early for a revival?), in fact that's pretty much all it features as it really is a totally percussive freakout, but it's all the better for it.