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Reviewed this week
New boy Bass peddler Drax (not to be confused with Thomas Heckmann's Tecno project) has been bubbling under the surface and building a reputation for himself in all the right circles Southpoint have managed to secure his services with these five curbside bangers, and the lead track "Frostie" draws the first weapon with a classic sort of grime approach, which allows "Leave" and "Locked" to both work on the same sort of aesthetic with a deeper focus on the half-step beats and additional harmonics. There's a couple of remixes, to boot; Beanzo turns "Frostie" into an even icier affair thanks to the help of a more penetrative beat shuffle, and JFO morphs "Leave" into an early-days Skepta kinda flex. Big.
The Sure State label is never shy to amalgamate new and exciting talent from the bass game. In fact, a look back at their catalogue shows us that they've given us nothing but new artists over the last few years, with all of them being equally impressive in terms of their approach to low frequencies. The time, DJ Variant and Clerks team up for one track each, supported by a collaboration from the two of them, the title track "Neva". That tune is particularly feisty in its approach, and its a classic dubstep sound moulded by more contemporary influences but, don't sweat, that bass is still high and mighty. Dj Variant's "Scratch" is a drum-heavy escapade into the darkest territories of dubwise bass, thanks to its proud dreadlock horns, while "Past Away" by Clerks is guided by a more street-ready grime approach. Killahs!
US label Gourmet Beats never strays too close to any one genre, but it's safe to say that it specialises in experimenting with the lower end of hertz scale. They've got an exciting selection of new talent growing by the day, and this latest collaborative EP makes for a certified bass tip this week! Mesck's "BadFuture" is all about that bass drop, Subtle Mind puts in a fine performance, but out favourite of these has to be the more swamped gunshot riddim called "Secrets" by Introspekt. Oxossi's "Malevolent" ain't exactly a tune to be overlooked, however, and that flurry of bass is getting our own heads nodding up and down here at Juno HQ.
Bisweed's output for the Paradise Lost label has been among his very best and, alongside the likes of the big boy such as Deep Medi Muzik, the label is also gaining traction as home to some of the best meditative dubstep around. He's back with the second volume of the Steampunk series, and the dreamy harmonic folds of "Aurora Borealis" are the perfect opener to what is one long, spiritual bass journey of an EP. "The Perfect Knowledge" is darker, moodier, and represents the doorway to a much more ominous stratosphere on "Magnetic Field VIP", a missile guided by just the right amount of 'wobble'. "Impedance" is the final piece of the puzzle and, it too, ups the tempo and drives proudly into more stepping motions. Illness
The Ghost House imprint keeps the tempo up and emotions running with new collection of spectral bass cuts by the fledgling Filthy Gears. This guys is totally on-point in terms of a match with the label, with his floor-minded beats ranging from the deepest of dubstep to trappiest or trap. This release is jam-packed with quality, from the gunshot synths of "Gully Ends", to the wobbling mutant bass of "Rapture", and the Skream-like wobble rhythm of "Midnight Creeper", he makes quite the entrance and steps right into the limelight. Other killer on here include the deep and cerebral bass folds of "Torture Chamber", a straight-up grime nugget by the name of "War Machine", and the dreary-eyed sway of "Vulture". If hazy, spliffed-out bass is your thing, then look no further.
New Zealand's Truth duo have appeared on pretty much every dubstep label that's worth being seen on these days. From Tempa to Deep Medi Muziq, they've clearly instilled a respect from their contemporaries, and they are arguably the leaders of Kiwi bass at the moment. Deep Dark & Dangerous is their own label, and "Devils Game" kicks off the imprint's third instalment with a furious wall of bass that blasts a monumental wave of chaos and doom the beats down below. "Smoke" is comparatively deeper and more gentle in its approach, and is guided by the r&b-style vocals of Animal, while Quest accompanies the darkroom stepper that the dup has preferred to dub as "Untitled". Nasty business.
This is the first time that Egoless and Von D team up for an EP, but already we can hear them syncing up perfectly thanks to their love for deep and sweltering UK bass. In all honesty, Von D's "Analog Sound" is a traditional dubstep tune, the sort of heavyweight swelter that knocks you from side to side and gets your head nodding from pure kinetic instinct - this will surely go down well at the DMZ showdowns. Egoless' "Bubble Beat" is something slightly different and, although it is also part of the 'classic' dubstep template, the tune breaks that groove pattern into something quirkier, more leftfield and reminiscent of Egoless' other choice material.
Gramatik's "Native Son" has already been given an extensive makeover through a recent remix album and, just in case you didn't know, the original tune featured Wu-Tang Clan's mythical vocalist Raekwon. Yeah, kind of a big deal, right? So here we have "Native Son Prequel", which features Leo Napier on the vocals, but remixed by Jenaux. The Frenchman veers away from the original's hip-hop sensibility and heads towards a more electro-leaning house approach a-la Daft Punk. An instant hit.
College Hill lands on our dubstep charts with his third release to date, and a fantastic follow-up to his last appearance for Car Crash Set. Still Jockey is the home to this new EP, and we're unsurprisingly pleased with the results given the roll that these guys have been on over the last few years. This College Material set is something else, though; "Arctic Warfare" is a stone-cold killer with no remorse for the soft-hearted, "Yandere" is the epitome of what we often call 'leftfield bass', "I'm Closing In On Death" stretches a distorted fold of bass over a barely tangible beat structure, and "Codependency Melody" ties things off with a wayward groove filled with gunshot grime sonics and some truly innovative sampling tactics. The last tune is particularly recommended - don't sleep!
Perhaps before he was swanning about running Klasse Recordings and all, Luca Lozano worked in customer services vowing one day to serve musical revenge on all the insufferable souls one serves in that world. Whatever the inspiration, we now have a killer new four trackers from the man. Echoes of early Warp abound as always - "Super Rhythm Track" features mocking bleeps over a techno pulse, "The Path Of Most Resistance" is angrier, drawing on late 80s hardcore for vibes. Elsewhere "The Faith" is deep, sparse and bleepy whilst "No Team In Lozano" is moody Chicago house at its best.
Dubstep crew The Others have been all over Dub Police over the years, working alongside bass luminaries such as Emalkay, but they've very much set their own standards and have established their own particular sound. This time they appear on Subway Holland with four merciless slices of cerebral bass funk; "Lions & Tigers & Snares" is a coiling, convoluted pic of dubstep brain dynamite tailor-made for peak time play, while "Food Chain" goes for a deeper, more pensive approach before unleashing a swarm of killer lower frequencies. "Jupiter", unsurprisingly, is a menacing bit of music, and its main bass hook sounds like an interstellar machine-gun; "The Signal" ties things off with a slamming percussion slap and some Clipz-like digi-bass.
Fresh, upbeat wobble concoctions from the one like Cookie Monsta. Just a quick warning before you indulge: this is heavy material and will likely appeal to fans of the more aggressive dubstep sub-category. "Eliminate Target" is a gunshot to the head; a raucous piece of beat thrashing guided by a pulverising bass bullet that screeches and coils with every new bar. "Beast Mode" isn't exactly any less boisterous, and its crunchy scream of a bassline goes into machine-gun mode pretty damn quick. A pair of bruisers, so go easy
Exclusives
DRAX - Frostie (Southpoint)
SPEC - Metaphysics (Uprise Audio) - exclusive 26-09-2016
DJ VARIANT & CLERKS - Neva (Sure State) - exclusive 31-12-2016
Exclusives
MESCK/SUBTLE MIND/INTROSPEKT/OXOSSI - Los Angeles EP (Gourmet Beats)
TRUTH - Devils Game (Deep Dark & Dangerous)
FILTHY GEARS - The Filthtape V1 (Ghost House)
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