With the previous collaborative benchmark set high from the massive "September Sun" and their remix of Plastician's "Hard Graft", N-Type and Surge compound their premium partnership once again with this massive five-tracker. Every track is total galvanised darkness; from the paranoid pads and disgustingly thick bass/kick drive on "Katnip" to the almost Detroitian arpeggios, mangled grimy rhyme and spiked out acid line of "Clobber" via the dramatic rips and sneers of the EP title track, it's clear Surge and N-Type complement each other incredibly well.
With previous damage caused on Imperial Audio, UK bass conjurer Arkwright steps over to Gaze Ill and Don D's ever-impressive Cue Line. And he does so with no less than five tracks. There's a distinctly tribal twang to each of the cuts: "Kwata"'s linear percussive assault sets the tone perfectly well as we're thrusted into the sludgy sub grumbles of "Settle", the widescreen pads and densely layered drum sounds of "Living" and the off-kilter lollops and flickers of "Level Head". Looking for more funk and less tribal? Head for the switch-flipping techy 4/4 and b-boy scratch madness of "Nosalis".
Vaun's emotional, highly musical blend of bass music reaches a new high as he delivers an epic six-track opus on Mindstep. Coming on strong like fellow Bristolian countryman Phaeleh, he treads a fine line between dancefloor weight and life soundtracking future-minded soul. Highlights include the dreamy, star-gazing almost Massive Attack-like "Sidelines" with Sarah Zed, the smoky Soulectionesque spoken word pressure of "Knowledge" and the wondrous beatless beauty of "One Touch". Vaun's skills and creativity are becoming more and more apparent by the release. Highly recommended.
Cue Line co-founder and all-round Danish dub demon Gaze Ill steps up to Iron Shirt for a four-pack of momentous darkness. The first thing that strikes you about the title track is the tightly sprung subby kicks that play the consummate bouncy ball beneath heavy pressure pads, creating a natural groove with carefully placed minimal elements. Deeper again we hit "Detached" where an array of bass textures await; from the more bulbous bubbles to nastier tears and sneers, they ooze from the speakers while a solid drum arrangement ploughs through the sad atmospherics. Elsewhere "Superior" tells a tale of cavernous dynamics as the elastic bass twists itself in every direction. Finally we hit "Saturate": Perhaps the most dancefloor tuned of the set, this more than lives up to its name. Just crank up your sub and listen to that low-end.
There has been a great run of new talent popping up on R&S lately, with Shanghai Den being a notable example, and now Alma Construct debuts here to drop a selection of lo-fi studies peppered with influences from techno to hip hop. There are some distinctive forces at work behind these tunes, not least on the decidedly unhinged and magnificently realised "Deer Drink From The River", while "Imagine Them" comes on strong with a snappy bounce that wouldn't sound out of place on Music Has The Right To Children, albeit expressed with less sleepy synth tones. It's a sterling effort that leaves one wondering what's around the corner for this hitherto unknown beatsmith.