We don't need to tell you how important this is. Wiley's eleventh, and potentially last, solo album Godfather is the zenith of a man who has dedicated his life to UK bass culture for almost 20 years. With beats as fiery as his forthright thoughts, it's the sound of a man going back to his roots, writhing deep in the raw, sucker-punch club banger mindset; the raw orchestral drama of "Back With A Banger" and "Pattern Up", the fast-lane bass and strings of "Can't Go Wrong" and the space-funk bass twister "Bait Face" are countered smoothly with more introspective, deeper cuts such as the soulful "On This" and the wavey sci-fi style "Laptop". These are just a handful of the highlights here. Once again the Godfather has made us an offer we can't refuse.
We're lucky we grasp a release a year from Karma's gnarly paws. But when we do, we always pay attention. Here are three reminders why. "Terrorist" wades into the fray with pneumatic beats that are reminiscent of Mezzanine-era Massive Attack. Foggy, misty and laced with a crucial Alborosie vocal sample, it has a tsunami-like effect through a big system as waves of dubspace wash over the crowd. "Cha" continues the pneumatic rhythm feels. But this time with a persistent techno-like 4x4 that's wrapped in tight layers of warped subs. "Vacant Mind" neatly counters the energy of "Cha" with a pensive slo-mo march into the foggy void. All elements and textures woozily working together to create somnambulant momentum, it's Karma at his most meditative. Already sold out on limited vinyl, this is a seriously key release.
A title that can be read in more than one way. "Keeping It Real" doesn't just refer to the track's vocal sample, or it's classically trained deep cavern sounds but also because it's the label's first vinyl outing. Level up business. Elsewhere "The Zone" is a contemporary techno-style dub track with palpitating drone subs, "Shapeshift" is powered by the groans of what we can only assume to be the undead (either that or some superb vocal processing) and "Combo", a springy minimal track that's tightly sprung by the swung kick and spacious dynamics. Cue Line: Keeping it really good.
KXVU has been a bass-game revelation over the past few years, with 2016 being a truly important year for the UK producer. After outing on stables like Project Allout, KXVU returns to his own imprint Southpoint with a full LP, a twelve-track escapade filled with all sorts of twisted vocals and raucous grime sketches. There's something in this for all sorts of listeners, from the vocal riddims of "Sao Feng" featuring Razor, to the pouncing grime bass of "The Locker", and the hybrid-like experiments of tunes like "The Kraken", whose sole purpose is to get on your face, and use as much of the hardcore continuum as humanely possible. Big, bad, and built for some serious head-nodding
If there is one rising talent on the dubstep scene worth talking about, then it's definitely Zygos. The shady producer has his own way of doing things, and this latest EP for Foundation Audio is the best possible way of kicking off 2017. A direct, cold-hearted bang. "Future" sprays its liquid bass tones over a rolling punch of beats and percussion, while "Dist" offers a deep, pulsating glow of subbass, and "Indistinct" swaggers a little more percussive flair about the mix, totally owning the deep dubstep charts this week. Recommended.
Crown Jules is known for an uncompromising approach to all tings bass. Here it presents a selection of tough cuts from the label's roster. "Ram Jam" begins with some ominous hip-hop-on-a-tropical-vibe attitude with plenty of carnival tempos and stabby fake horns to boot. Next, and "Muky" by Sean D is a menacing bouncer that builds intensity with an incessant buzz and shrill high-end melodies. J Beatz appears with Limit for the dark alley grind of "No Signal" lastly Beat Boss 4 champion, Sware, rocks up to deliver "The Flow", a slice of elasticated electro with a hint of ghetto sass.
Grime music is not the first genre that comes to mind when thinking of men expressing their softer feelings. Well, Manchester's ShowDem is about to change all that with possibly the first ever grime tune about the joys of parenthood. Dedicated to his first born, "New Arrival" is a tune that begins and ends with samples of his little one. In between we get a bouncy hip-hop/dancehall hybrid with plenty of bottom and airy soft synth melodies. Kiel meanwhile brings the ferocity on a rework that introduces heavy drums; lots of Dubstep influenced bass snarls and urgent effects.
The word 'Sweepa' is fast becoming synonymous with quality dubstep outings and, moreover, the dude is well on his way to leading the second wave of deep, electronic steppers. He's only released one EP to date, but he's clearly the sort of producer who commands respect, and has thus decided to make his follow-up release and full-blown album. Coming through on Version Collective, the Boundaries LP is a full-out journey across the most tenebrous of dubstep landscapes, engulfing the listener in a murky world of subaqueous bass lashings, and rolling, intricate beat bundles. A winner.
AKA Logam from Ram-signed D&B duo Legion and Logam, Mogali is a brand new project from the Atlanta producer. Exploring the deeper side of 140 music, he makes his debut on the ever-reliable Gradient imprint. "Stubborn Woman" kicks like The Others or Emalkay when in fifth gear, all ploughing energy and almost trancy flourishes. "Forward To The Past" takes us on a much more introspective trip with Distance-style spaced-out drums and layers of cosmic emotion. A serious statement of intent, we can't wait to hear what's coming next.