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Reviewed this week
The Kaiju duo first signed to Deep Medi Muzik back in 2015, and the great Mala couldn't have picked a more on-point production pair for his label. Although the two artists are not from the Far East, their music and style seems to have something innately Japanese at its core, a subtle swing that carries the tracks from side to side like a samurai's swing of the blade. The opener "Envy" is the perfect example of Kaiju's ninja beats, swift and conniving licks of percussion that fit perfectly with the r&b vocals emanating from the deeper end of the mix. We're also big fans of "Sloth" because it reminds of the Brixton Mass golden days of DMZ, and "Wrath" for its sliding, metallic folds of pseudo jungle drums. Top gear.
Time for some Taiwanese dub: regular face at Instigate, DTR returns with his debut full lengther and it's nothing short of a contemporary low end odyssey. Bedrocked by rich weight and space, throughout the album he weaves subtle but strong musical elements with a measured sense of detail. From the lilting horn flutters on "Inner Strength" and the trippy tape stop spirals of "Creator Dub" to the mountainous peaks and abyssal troughs of "Kalimba", DTR ensures to immerse, entertain and constantly develop. Modern dub bliss.
Time for some proper, authentic dubstep: District returns to Chestplate with three straight up slabs of bass power. "Drowsy" starts with a slouchy funk to the beat before dropping into a fat, fuzzy 2008 bassline that refuses to hold back its playfulness. Both "Street Knowledge" and "Locking Up" are much darker, deeper creepers with lava basslines oozing down the volcanic halfstep drums. The former is all sci-fi and pranged out, the latter peeps down into the dungeon without resorting to type. Drop them after 3am and you'll be nothing short of knighted.
Unpronounceable, uncompromised, unstoppable... JLSXND7RS steps up to Spooky's Ghost House imprint with a classically informed grime rhythm that tips a wry nod to 'Pulse X' with its harsh snares and depth plunge bass. Kwam MC flips the same beats into "Run" with his unique barbed flow while ghoulish remixes come from Spooky (paranoid bass, twisted time perception) and Jook (gnarly early 2000s grime) Savage.
H.E.N.C.H take a turn for the deep as Gomes makes his debut on Jakes' ever-ready muscle music imprint. Both entrenched in deep sub weaves and a swampy sense of sweaty weight, they remind us why the Dutchman holds the respected position he does; "Dread" takes a classic ragga sample and stretches it out rhythmically over an industrial strength drum arrangement where crystalline hi-hats really bring colour and polarity to the blend. "Ratta" follows suit with a similarly deep approach but with added reverb on the concrete-shattering drums and spooked out spoken word wrapping itself over the undulating bass twists. Gomes may be towering high right now but his feet are still deep in the dungeon... In the best possible way.
Surfase bossman RDG takes care to showcase the true breadth of his label, abilities and our sound at large with two beautiful constructions. "Thunder" is all about the big warped bass that undulates with authentic menace, all stern, serious and ominous. "Crystal Palace", meanwhile, is premiership chill material as RDG dusts off the pads and teams up with Chessman O-Dessa for a blissed out post-match massage. Back of the net.
Inspected boot up the genetic life form machine for some artificial funk and fury courtesy of a rollcall that should have any self-respecting tech-bass head salivating. First up is Bristol free-thinker Culprate who flips his successful "Diablo" into a crafty halftime stamper. Skope dons his Mallux cap for a BSE-level neuro romp that's home to around ten different bass textures that all work in harmony. Deeper again we hit the real leftfield sages: Billain's "Specialist" tips a nod to the rave foundations before dropping into a raffish groove that gets subtly weirder and weirder as we progress while Posij gets animated with a zoo of rising tones and textures that seem to run out control before being reigned in again. 23rd century funk.
Come backs don't come any better than Caspa & Rusko's reunion. Since re-colliding last Autumn the pair have done nothing but drip feed us vibes. Not formulas, no expectations, just ace tracks that are made with such a buzz it's tangible the moment you press play. Having slapped us with authentic dub, grime and badboy 808 business the two titans lick up a breakbeat and massage us with tapepack vibes. If you haven't invested in white glove, whistle or horn shares by the end of the track you should probably seek help. Massive.
Mr Dubz is back y'all, coming right at you with some sleazy strip club booty shakin' bass for urban freaks, as clearly demonstrated on the bombastic "The Dragon". Next up "Shadow" is a far more serious affair; this kind of dubstep rolls not just deep but pretty dark as well. There's no more kush inspired nightmares again, rest assured; "Twister" crosses over from bass music into trance with its rapid arpeggios and uplifting brass section with an undeniable gangsta feel about it which we thought was tight!
Lifted Contingency are all about bringing in the new talent, and Tone Ra is a perfect addition to their growing catalogue of bass infusions. "Reason" is of the Bristol techno variety, pushing the dancer forwards with a pseudo 4/4 beat hustle and yet never straying too close to the Berlin mindset; "Wanting" is deeper, murkier and the beats are broken down by a sea of fuzzy bass tones; "Moving On" lashes out its heavy snare drums amid heavy swarms of atmospherics and hazy soundscapes. Don't sleep on this material!
Korin Complex aka Jeff from Richmond, Virginia (yep, that's all we know!) is back with more stateside deep dubstep flavours. We're seeing more dope and paranoid beats from states in the US where kush 'ain't even legalised yet, so go figure! "Abyss" is testament to this fact with its rolling bass, delay drenched riddims and smoky/sinister atmospherics. Second offering "Blood Sermon" gets as serious as its title suggests; with an intro that sounds like an alien slithering down a sewer, the low end frequency then blasts incessantly beneath textured, industrial-esque field recordings. Disturbing!
Riddim Commission's Dem Ting Dere shook things up last month, and now it's back again courtesy of a whole new string of mixes. This time round we get three whole new ways to hear it. First up, Petey Clicks goes straight for the heady floor filler award and succeeds with a thumping nasty bassline, skippy garage beats and uniquely London-style MCing. Next Nightwave steps up with some pretty grimey 8-bit trap chaos and finally the mighty Spooky appears to deliver some brain-melting, party-driven dancehall vibes.
Draper and Prides' day-glow sing-along anthem "Break Over You" gets the remix treatment by a wealth of new talent... CRaymak shows us why Flux Pavilion has been co-signing him all over the shop this summer with a classic balls-out drop, Swedish competition winner Rawlin tones down the epicness by a smidgeon to allow more space for the vocal and pianos, Japanese otaku Cella takes us much deeper into synthetic bliss while Laoen lets rip with a steady synth disco jam that's reminiscent of Grum or Mylo's hands-up care-free style last decade. Sweet.
Exclusives
SPLIT - Angel Footprint (Squinty Bass)
INDIJI - Purity (Uprise Audio) - exclusive 29-08-2016
CESSMAN RDG & O-DESSA - Thunder/Crystal Palace (Surfase) - exclusive 24-08-2016
Exclusives
DWISE/FRENK DUBLIN - Mushrooms (Dubstep Rotterdam)
DRAPER feat PRIDES - Break Over You (Hot Source)
THE BUG - Box/Iceman (Ninja Tune)
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