Noisia's Division operation deliver their very first multi-artist EP featuring far-out bass tests from the likes of Monuman (AKA northern D&B upstart Emperor), Signs, ARKTKT, Ponicz and JNTHN STEIN. Not a well-travelled road in sight; each act delivers something resoundingly fresh and exciting : Noisia & Ivy Lab get insanely lopsided, Monuman digs a filthy bass grave before lifting us to the heavens with evocative chords, Signs gets the motor running with an array of twisted engine samples while ARKTKT activates a spacey trap mode, all bouncy and gravity-free. Last but not least, Ponicz shreds up with a toxic instrumental hip-hop swag while JNTHN STEIN kidnaps a rainbow then pushes it down the stairs... In the same way Division push the envelope.
Fresh from coughing up "Green Phlegm" all over the dance last summer, J Beatz returns with deep sea scudder. All synth horns and rifle snares, like its namesake, this is capable of going deep deep deep in the mix and it won't rust for decades to come. Remix-wise Project Allout have spoilt us with highlights coming from Spooky (twisted metal crunching sounds), Deadbeat UK (speed garage vibes) and Dubzta (uptempo rippage). Powerful.
Straight outta Shanghai, Swimful splashes down with an album sized bounty of beats. With heat picking up on both sides of the hemisphere, his Chinese wave grime fusion couldn't be more refreshing if it shoved you under a waterfall with a mouthful of extra strong mints. As teased with his recent remake of Wiley's classic "Shanghai", the whole set is paradoxically loaded with dense melodic layers (much of which contain traditional phrases, instruments and chords) and black holes of space. The result is a narrative that ebbs and flows from sublime beatless pastoral bliss ("Fisherman's Horizon") to loopy flute-blasting purple funk ("Atop") via sexy cosmic R&B circa 3016 ("Go!"). Lap it up.
It's been a while since Uprise chief Seven delivered some of his own special brews, having chiselled his platform's focus almost exclusively on the new talent such as Juss B, LSN and Indiji. While he appeared on the forward-thinking "7 Days" EP, this is his first full EP in a while. And it's working in all directions: "Shaker" is all about the loose funk, steel shaking sub drama and gangster clicks / claps. Further in we hit "Elevate", an Raygun-fronted piece where Seven lays down a crisp alien groove with more than enough space for Joe to deliver a savage sermon.
Danjah dusts off the previously dormant Hardrive machine for the first release in several years. Two instrumentals deep, this is how it goes: "Mars" begins with creepy, shoulder-hunching eeriness before getting darker and darker with demonic, processed vocal elements. "Mile Gully", meanwhile, is all about the bassline that rises and stretches and slaps itself raw over a beat that shuffles rather than slices. Heavy.
Two stone cold Coki/DMZ classics from the golden 2007s. The rapid flow of Vybz Kartel's "Emergency" is given full focus as Coki lays down subtle rolling snares and an icy leads with enough space for the Kartel's strong characters. Coki's famous shake-up of Mavado, meanwhile, is known to all; far-away bass groans, ricochet snares and elements so cosmic they still sound futuristic almost 10 years later. Never officially released digitally before now, grab a two walloping slices of history today.
Buffalo blunderbuss Notixx isn't messing around. After two meticulous EPs on Dub Police he boots into the new year with a debut on Colorado imprint Kairos with two more forward-thinking, melodically deft beat pieces. "Something To Talk About" rolls on the halftime D&B axis du jour, oozing spacy delight before switching into a skippier two-step. "Cerebral" takes us down the tempo train for a slower, funkier odyssey with smooth bass glitches and a slight eastern phrasing on the melody. Unique and alluring.