Following their official debut with Oldgold, Sure State up the ante with a two-track bass tornado from Cincinnati-based Sub:Lvl affiliate Kaiten. "Poltergeist" is well measured slice of darkness laced with deep breath textures, ghostly synthetic stretches and a lava bassline that refuses to sit still. "Righteous Dub" takes us deeper into the night with a bassline-focused groove and DJ Madd-style dub vocal echoes piercing the dense low end fog with vibrancy. Another solid release from a label that's shaping up with serious sonic promise.
Over two years of solid, low-end ploughman banquets, Krease's USV come correct with their debut compilation. Rather than bombard us with past echoes or unnecessary fluff, they've curated eight brand new originals from some of the label's (and the deeper side of the scene's) most respected players. Each contributor thinking, looking and behaving as future as possible, the whole collection is a document on dubstep's perennial creative potential when conjured in the right hands: Gaze Ill's rolling techno chimes on "Vertical", Chad Dubz's broad-drum spaciousness on "Class A", Krease's cosmic star-gazing synths and gutter-licking bassline on "TruStep" are just three examples of Under Surveillance's constant search for newness in the shadows
Four slabs of thoroughbred soundsystem dubstep from Londoner Alive on Dubtribu: "Stepping" sets the tone with its molten low-end creating an ultimately funky, slippery experience, "Murda" follows and is more on the straight-up dungeon business flex with big dubby echoes on the stabs and rim shots. "Native Wolf" develops both themes with a rolling drum arrangement and a vocal textures that becomes an overwhelming foggy lead element before the buried, muddied skanks break through the thick mists. Finally we hit "Sensi Dub". A lighter exploration of contemporary dub, the reflective light shimmers from every processed guitar strum while the strings ooze cinematic drama with subtle but persistent charm. Complete with a VIP of "Native Wolf", this ticks myriad boxes.
The third instalment of Hotflush's compilation series drops and it's a seven year flashback to the label's most fractured, far-minded roots as Scuba's label explores their foundations on the fringes of bass and left sided echelons of dubstep. Cuts like Jamie Vex'd's almost p-funk level of bullishness on "Twitch", the loose jazz drums of Elemental's "Sparkle", even looser jazz horns of Jazzsteppa's still-filthy "Two" and Si Begg's baggy, bulbous rhythm on "Angel" represent Hotflush's consistent surges past the very forefront of the once-burgeoning genre, joining the dots and helping make sense of the stern techno cityscapes the label constructs today.
Far-out visions from NYC; Sobie returns with two beautiful pieces of deepness. "Will Power" uses a poignant spoken word sample as the doorway into a dark, spacious world full of whirring and whirling designs that have been crafted with the due diligence and detail we've come to expect from Sobie. "Hollow" takes us deeper into his world as the smooth subs become a lot more sinewy and electrified like pulses, buzzing away under lavish jazzy chords and stumbling beats that develop momentum with every bar. For added refreshment take a sip from Morning High's remix; adding brighter pads and more kicks, it flips the original will full respect. Another essential Zip Sounds saga.
Publically spirited soundboy Civiliansound lets rip with a full-spectrum five-piece on Sublimated: "Blue Notes" is all about the lonely pianos floating like flotsam on oceanic sub waves while "Warrior" develops the rootsy colours of the US producer's canvas with a rolling groove that's primed with a beautiful fretless bass lick. Deeper into the journey we hit "Bring It Down", a spacious syncopated-rhythm jam where the drums and pads tell two different tales that intertwine as the groove develops and "Soothsayer" which is straight-up digidub delight thanks to its steppy drums and tightly plucked skanks. Finally we hit "Dusk Till Dawn" a drum homage that positions our full emphasis on the percussive spectrum before thundercloud pads roll in and bring heavy sonic weather to the rhythmic landscape. Nothing to be blue about here.