The second London/NYC Transatlantic session within four months; it's clear the fusion between the two city's labels is healthy, creative and ultimately fertile. Highlights across this international modern bass romp include the delicate jazz samples of Matt Deco's spacious stepper "Absent Minder", the juicy digidub bubbles and woozy horns of Dubsworth & Tapa's "Backflipper", Bakir's percussive snake-hip wriggler "Hyperion" and the breezy hums, distant yearns and dampened rim shots of Jobanti's "Afrique".
After plates for Osiris, Lion Charge and Ruff Cut, Bristol pairing Jamie Schildhauer and Paul White bring their Kaiju project to the Deep Medi label. Lead track "Justice" has been a much sought after dubplate for some time, and a fine example of Kaiju's innate understanding of dub science implementing only a few elements - haunting flutes, floating synths and crisp percussion - with deadly precision. Justice is served! Complementing this, Kaiju conjure some truly monstrous atmospheres with "Creeper" - if Demdike Stare turned their hands to steppahs it might sound like this. Deep Medi is nearing its 100 release and every one of them have been superb.
For Andrew Ferguson's first release away from Tempa his Nomine alias surfaces on AMAR, and to add that extra statistic, it's the first release from another artist to appear on AMIT's label. Opening track "Voodoo Native" is all about tribal drums that are made to fit a linear techno mould, while 9er's rhymes in the bass, clap and breakdown heavy "99 Aachen" will appeal to all you Phi-Life Cypher fans out there. Drums are stripped, atmospheres are tense and pianos are blurry in the title-track, while "Closed Door" is UK bass music made for a sewer rave.
Following in the footsteps of his countrymen Truth, New Zealander Spec's sound is instantly spacious, stark and soaked in ominous sentiment. While each cut is deeper than a philosophy lecture down a well, they're all in-keeping with Uprise's consistent reputation and wholly engineered for the floor. Highlights include the cascading data spikes and neck-buried skanks of "Fibre", the decayed cathedral pads and walloping warps of "Titan" and the unnerving textures, ghostly vocals and thundering overweight kicks of "Awaken".
Languishing in the oceanic pastures of deep, jazz-tinged modern dub-focused electronica, MindStep missions are consistent in their soul and crystalline creativity. Here's a firm reminder - in the slim case we needed one - as the label's exponents are united for the label's second 'best of' style collection. Ranging from the two-step subversions of Sepia's "U Make Me Feel" to the more techno-minded sound palette of Dillard's "Rocks & Trees" to the 22nd century jazz of Jafu & Freud's "Sofia", every facet and feature of MindStep's ever-evolving remit is explored, represented and celebrated in great detail here. Dive deep.
FKOF continue to fire full-pelt into the creative unknown. This time rising German artist Causa is in the driving seat. And he's taking us to the darkest possible destinations. "Dismaying" belies its title in every way as the thunderclap snares shatter and tightly-clipped, reversed-tone percussive elements clatter. "Mighty Dub" plays on similar sounds with a heavier, stampier approach where shiny aluminium designs wobble and falter with trippy effect. Deeper again, "Invasion" boasts an array of trippy moaning processes while "Blaster" swaggers on a woozy skank. Unique and forward-thinking... Just as you'd expect from FatKidOnFire.
Guttural dungeon ragga Talabun style.... Fresh from appearing on Truth's latest Firepower EP, here Abyssal secure him his first full EP with a crack team of the darkest dubsteppers. Peppering the stark, creepy, sub-saturated sonics with his smoky, near-demonic growl, highlights include the gravelly whispers in the dense fog of "Nocturnal", the interesting vocal rhythms of "Juju" and the voyage into the darkest corners of the psyche on "Wicked." While certain styles of MCing appear a little homogenous this day in age, Talabun's tales are told with raw, unfettered unicity.
Churchy horror night theatrics abound as the mysterious Provoke sets over from Unified to Route 1. Five originals, one remix, each cut needs your ears: "Serious" lives up to its name, all echoes and far-away sirens. "Only The Mind Can Grant You Power" works a well crafted spoken word sample over an elastic low end growl and distant harmonics (think early Kryptic Minds), "Unexpected Side Effect" takes us deeper into the dance with a palpitating kick, twisted vocal process and chimes so stark you'll wonder whether you've mistakenly ended up at the pearly gates. "Breathe It In" is the juggernaut of the track with its rolling beats, dubwise vocal snippet and heavily breathed bass tones and textures. Finally "After I'm Gone" throws light on an otherwise moody narrative with jazzy samples, breezy synths and switchy, flightly breakbeats. Complete with a remix from Rufus, this tickles all corner of the modern dub underbelly.
Who knew Creep N00m was a cosmonaut in his spare time? We certainly didn't, but the outer planetary sound designs on "Attack From Space" are so authentic that we can't come to any other conclusion. Our intrepid Russian explorer hasn't just checked his socials in at deep space either; "Amazon" is a direct rain forest romp and the hard, sheet metal slams and bangs of "Radical" sound like there was recorded in a steel mill. Elsewhere we get crazy-jazzy on the firing broken beat badness of "Mood Indigo" and unleash our spiritual side on "The Buddha". Complete with a VIP of last year's "Midnight", this EP more than lives up to its title.
It's been well over two years since US imprint Sublimated Sounds last explored the outer reaches of the known universe. It's been well over six months since they put out any music full stop. This epic 21-track collection more than makes up for lost time, though. Running the gamut from deep dungeon dubstep (Karnage's "Yaza") to rolling, percussive, UKG-minded jams (Ghostmode's "Midknight") by way of straight-up filth steppers (Ohyra's "Vile Rebirth", Reamz' "Old School Days"), this documents where both the label and where bass music at large are at, where they've been and, most importantly, where everything is headed. Ready for take off?
Fresh from his rampant jungle and breakneck breakbeat excursions, LA vibe infuser 6Blocc takes respite in his dungeon for a series of deeper dub jams. Ranging from the super-minimal, slimy-walled sludge of "Dark Side" to the ricochet-rhythm and MC-peppered dynamics of "Illusion" via the steppier militancy and spoken word weirdness of "Wake Up Call" and the pure titanium rhythm of "Break & Eliminate", it's 6Blocc at his deepest and darkest. And yet more evidence of his versatility.
The dust refuses to settle from the ever-developing hype of his unavoidable Animai co-lab "Taking Over", Bristolian Vaun delivers another emotion-primed slice of contemporary bass. Rolling with a barbed, dark soul feel that wouldn't have gone amiss on Massive Attack's Protection, Anya Caroline's vocals hide behind the wavy ripples and chords and delicate cascading pianos. Subtle Mind step up for the remix, bringing the pianos and the vocals closer to the spotlight. Don't stray too far from this one.