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Reviewed this week
Bristol bass brutality: Sentiment makes his Tumble Audio debut with a package that comprises three originals and two heavyweight remixes. "Fomo" is a bounty of dynamics and designs as bass textures from the last 10 years of grime, dubstep and trap fuse and fight one another. "7 Looks Better Than 8" is much more a straight-up icy grime piece (think Asa & Sorrow's introspective style) while "Flexin" opts for a sci-fi grime bounce similar to that of another fellow Bristolian, Joker. Remix-wise Chimpo chows down on some serious space cake while Killjoy throws in a little 4/4 UKG strut. Nice.
Hot on the heels of their first V/A halftime/beats-based EP, Noisia's Division serves up another deliciously leftminded multi-artist EP. "Nomad" says it all; screwloose bass, haunted elements and an all-round alien vibe, Noisia and Mony/Poly have truly killed it. Other highlights include the screeched out craziness of Posij's "Grab The Cookies" and the rave breaks and garbled sample abuse Bleep Bloop's "Recombine". Seriously forward-thinking, let's hope these Division EPs continue for the foreseeable.
Voodoo Rebel mainstay LSWR hooks up with long-time MC collaborator Digi for another beat/bass hybrid that will work well with all dubstep, trap, halftime and bass DJs. With lean groove, the rising hoover tones come from nowhere as Digi provides a demonic sermon. Remix-wise Distro codes a more upbeat funk into the blend while XL Arge takes things right down in the ghetto dungeons. Smoking.
In case the last wait of a year wasn't quite long enough between Subaltern outings, Taiko leaves us hanging even longer (16 months) this time. File under 'all good'... We've had an Albion release to chow down on in the meantime and beats like these really are worth waiting for: "De Maya" is a powerful hypnotic tabla session, "Flummox" throws cosmic textures into the dub melting pot, "Stick Fight" teases us with breaks through some seriously intricate percussive arrangements, "Game Show" while "Game Show" is more of a magic show, building and twisting with subtlety as the percussion becomes the melody and the melody becomes the bass all before your very eyes. Looking for more techy grit? Jump on Mentha's remix of "Stick Fight".
London beatcrafter Sh?m finally goes legit as he translates his Soundcloud hype into official release business with "Bossmode" on Kapsize. "Bossmode" fits the Kapsize suit perfectly with its Joker-style purpleness and strutting/squelchy sci-fi dynamics. Elsewhere on the EP we chow down on robot gully with "Underground" and take things back to the slinky, jazzy dubstep days with "Untitled". Finally we climax with "Vehement", a vibrant slice of synthtronica that stutters and shakes with evocative funk and emotion. A truly interesting EP. If you're the proud owner of a radar and Sh?m isn't on it, you're not using your radar properly.
The inimitable SVBKVLT is one of the only labels out there that is making grime music as it should be heard; none of this pseudo bass and quasi house, just the real gear aimed at getting your head nodding up and down in the car - shotgun, preferably. Kai Luen is a newcomer to the scene, but we're sure that we'll be hearing him soon and often given how masterful his skills on the mixing desk seem to be with these ten stone-cold killers. "The Hollow Ghost" itself contains all the elements of classic grime joints by the likes of Plastician, while others like "LA 92" or strive down headier paths, sometimes landing on hints of hip-hop or Burial-like percussion excursions. The real shit.
Oi! That badman AT is up on Project Allout blud! Get to know! The neo grime fantasist drops four rough and ready bangers that carry the UK bass heritage to higher grounds. Title track "Bulldog" is a badass, curb side jungle cut for the heads, while "Proper Stuff" goes more sci-fi on those rave stabs, "The Spy" lurks in the corner behind the speakers with a bit of redeye going through its core, and "Robin Hood" pumps out the classic UK grime trumpet for the big win. Heavy duty gear.
Badman and bad-ass bass producer Gage returns to the Crazylegs stable with six dastardly slices of machine-gun funk, and he's getting faster and nastier every time we hear form him. "Turbulence" is more of a bass-weighted noise tune than a dance banger - and we love it - while "Talon's Reach" contains more of a beat flex in its spine and some killer hardcore rave stabs; "Gruellin" sounds like the inside of an engine that's about to explode, and "Hyphema" is the sort of grime they listen to on Saturn - the cream of the crop in here and a massive tip! "Rochester Way" fires its percussion stabs away amid detuned keys and, lastly, "Oxleas At Night" pushes all boundaries and delivers a ticking time-bomb of a gutter track for the heads. Get to know.
New Zealand warrior Dar Kist makes his Sure State debut with two grizzly, growling slabs of deep dark mechanical funk: "Don't Mention It" rides hard on a steppy kick arrangement as a detuned, distorted melody fights through the sonic fog to make itself heard. "Levitan's Calling" is just a tad more traditional with the seemingly endless array of bass textures making the main melodic presence over a swaggering halftime arrangement. Each bass fine-tuned with Dar Kist's dagger-like dynamics, dancefloor reactions to this will be nothing short of exultant.
This far, G3 has pretty much stuck to releasing a wide variety of EP's, but this new album on Rudimentary marks a clear step forward from the artist in terms of art and craft. Unfurled placed under the umbrella term 'bass', Garden Reach is a multi-faceted and singular piece of sonic construction that, yes, deals in low frequencies, but ultimately goes way beyond that by offering twelve twelve slices of neural beat elasticity that range form the dance-centric, to the utterly loose and experimental. One way of describing it would be to think if Burial, Plastician and Autechre got together in the studio and made an album. You can picture the results.
Exclusives
MOONY - No Good EP (Project Allout) - exclusive 31-12-2015
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