Although Leon Vynehall is one of an increasing number of producers bringing the influence of bass music styles into the deep house formula, the Mauve EP stands apart from the rest of the crowd - the title track is anthemic stuff, mixing Detroit and Bristol house styles in just the right quantities with hands in the air piano, soulful vocals and quietly bubbling bass. "Picture Frame" is a much slower end of the night number which has echoes of classic Balearica, while "Homage" opens with subtle cut-up rave stabs, rippling percussion and moody spoken word intro, before erupting into life with devastating subs which catch you totally off guard. House? Bass? It doesn't matter - the only sure thing is that Vynehall is someone to keep an eye on.
Rene Van Munster has been relatively quiet as of late, concentrating more on his Bootlickers affiliation rather than his own brand of party-time house damage. Here he drops a bomb on Squelch & Clap, in the form of a bizarre and wonderful assemblage of off-kilter percussion shuffles and fantastically devious synth keys, and "Hark" really is a tight little monster with all the ingredients in the right places. To aid the throng, we have three gorgeous remixes: Hizatron comes up with a gnarly-as-hell techno leviathan containing some of the wackiest melodies the label has ever seen; Julien Mier goes all sparse and UK on us, whilst the Knowing Looks retouch points towards broken beat's fantastic appeal - tight drum chops and wicked atmospherics. Recommended!
Hessle present this digital set to showcase their progression as a label at the forefront of the multi faceted strands of music that have grown out of dubstep. 116 & Rising offers an array of brilliant music from Hessle mainstays like Elgato, Untold, and Jimmy Blake. In addition, the Hessle triumvate of overseers have secured exclusive material from the likes of D1 and Addison Groove - whose "Fuk Da 101" is a real treat among many highlights. Elsewhere Joe goes West LDN circa 2002 on "Twice" and Blawan serves further notice that he's got the best drum flex in the game with "Potchla Vee". Absolutely essential release.
Founded in 1995, Planet Mu has gone on to become a force in electronic music, setting the benchmark high and releasing some of the scene's seminal and groundbreaking artists. Blending house, techno, dubstep, hip-hop and all the grey areas in between that have come to dominate the sonic landscape of recent years, Planet Mu have never been afraid to depart from the status quo. Marking the first release of 2011 for Mike Paradinas' lauded label, 14 Tracks From Planet Mu collates tracks from some of the new artists to have graced the Mu airwaves over the past year. There are four exclusives in there, for those that like it hot off the press, and some familiar names like Oriol, Solar Bears, Floating Points, FaltyDL, Ikonika and Boxcutter. Superb stuff.
James Blake - "I Only Know (What I Know Now)" - (5:16) 66 BPM
Jaydee - "Plastic Dreams" - (10:21) 64 BPM
Joey Beltram - "Energy Flash" - (5:53) 61 BPM
Ken Ishii - "Extra" - (8:51) 69 BPM
Lone - "Airglow Fires" - (6:00) 60 BPM
Model 500 - "I Wanna Be There" - (18:52) 65 BPM
Mundo Musique - "Andromeda" - (7:04) 62 BPM
Nadine Shah - "Floating" - (5:21) 103 BPM
Outlander - "Vamp" - (5:07) 63 BPM
Pariah - "Prism" - (6:30) 65 BPM
Robert Leiner - "Dream Or Reality" - (7:32) 62 BPM
Second Phase - "Mentasm" - (4:23) 65 BPM
Space Dimension Controller - "The Love Quadrant" - (4:30) 55 BPM
Sun Electric - "O'Locco (Karma Sutra)" - (6:31) 109 BPM
Synkro - "Broken Promise" - (5:00) 85 BPM
Tree - "Demons" - (3:49) 52 BPM
U-Ziq - "Phi*1700 (u/v)" - (7:58) 68 BPM
Vondelpark - "California Analog Dream" - (5:52) 60 BPM
Has it been thirty years already? This celebratory R&S Records compilation doesn't just bring with it the nostalgic charm of tracks by names we shouldn't forget (Capricorn, Jam & Spoon, Second Phase and Mundo Muzique) and tracks we couldn't forget (Outlander's "Vamp" and Joey Beltram's "Energy Flash"), it also brings with it contemporary R&S classics like Tessela's "Nancy's Pantry", "Airglow Fires" by Lone, Vondelpark's indie-laced "California Analogue Dream" and Blawan's "Shader". 30 Years Of R&S Records takes the listener down memory lane, while lighting a path for what will hopefully be another 30 years.
The quality of the 50 Weapons output is always supreme and our German friends really do know how to pull together a diverse and extensive collection of their latest catalogue signings - a sure buy for anyone wanting a glimpse into the world of the most cutting-edge bass music around. Among the twelve stormers we have Dark Sky's "Shutter Speed" which pulls together wacky basslines and rolling tech beats; Addison Groove's usual footwork magic represented here as "I Go Boom"; "Malfunction (Despair) by the nuttiest technoid producer known to man - A Made Up Sound - and even Marcel Dettman's foreboding "Linux" monster. An essential collection.
Much has been written in recent months about the meteoric rise of Footwork. What was previously a parochial form of street music native to Chicago and a mutant offshoot of the Ghetto House/Juke strain has become something of a global phenomenon in the underground music scene. Word has spread through YouTube and the blogosphere, but the reason why this curious sub-genre has risen to the fore is perhaps largely, if not solely, due to Planet Mu owner and avant-garde bass music ambassador Mike Paradinas. This 25-track compilation features the game's big players including DJ Nate, DJs Spinn, Rashad, Roc and RP Boo. When you listen to what could be termed the "softer" side of Footwork you can begin to appreciate how the sounds have filtered down the genre ladder and influenced swathes of contemporary producers of the Ramadanman and Girl Unit sensibility. A fascinating release and well worth spending some time exploring and absorbing.
Having cut their teeth on tour with likes M.I.A., and counting Steve Aoki and Diplo as fans, Top Billin are on fire. The intention behind their new compilation, compiled by DJ Flipperi, was to present 'simply great music' irrespective of genre, but the cover shot of a pirate skeleton and parrot in a techno tunnel can only mean one thing: tropically tinged bass! We've got 11 top quality tracks here, ranging from the haunted garage of Volta Cab's "Make You Mine", to the minimal vocal and claps play of "Boccia" by Mieux! via the R 'n' G(oth) of Classi Assi's "Always Got My Back and the perhaps slightly cruel, crunk-funk warping of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's "Summertime" by Wolfhaus. Boom!