His rawest, heaviest work to date, "500: Episode 1" is the precursor to a huge North American tour for the Dub Police founder, and he's not lost any of the individuality that's set him apart from the start. Describing the release himself as "cinematic" and "emotional", this marks a change in the producer's style, where true depth is being weighed out over heaviness and hype. Painted against a post-apocalyptic landscape in sound as well as the stylish cover art, he's marked out a new beginning for himself. We want to hear more.
It's been a minute since North Walian low end warrior Feonix last stepped up to M.U.D. - six months to be precise. Naturally he's made up for lost time with this rule-shredding quintuplet of jams. There's a heavy emphasis on tempo flexing and rifle-like riddims, too, as both the subverted jungle smasher "Heavy Rotation" and the skippy, steppy "Peashooter" both roll and flare with D&B verve. Dungeon-dwelling dubstep purists should jump on the gruff, guttural "Inhale" and the grunty, hooky lead track. For added variety, scope and depth Feonix has also thrown in the 80BPM "Mandatory". Slo-mo breakbeats coded with ominous, paranoid baritone frequencies, it brings the EP to the unique close it deserves. Impeccable stuff; only squares wouldn't like "The Cube".
Twisted dancehall vibes fresh from Liverpool, as Lucent teams up with Rubi Dan for a steppy shock-out that positively demands outrageous skanking behaviour. For added measure Lucent also teams up with Tomb Crew for a collaborative remix where Rubi's vocals get buried by a smouldering bouncy bass hook. Further on Klient Weight take "X-Rated" down a dark techno alley and turn it into a savage 4/4 bass-battered affair. Looking for more of a straight-up jack attack? Head for "Tunnel Vision". An uncompromising stomper with sinewy bass melodies, it's a kindly contemporised nod at the material Herve and Switch were serving up about seven years ago. Finally, Rico Tubbs jumps in on the remix flex with an old school homage, all time-stretched vocals, speed garage sirens and fractured amen angularities.
The long-awaited Tony Rocky Horror EP comes in time for the most ghoulish time of year, and first things first, you've got to admire the sick artwork on this release. Larger than life drums and bass that gets deep down to another world, each track on this bumper release takes notes from the old school greats with the added benefits of a huge TRH twist. Dark, deadly and with depth enough to get emotive in parts, this is for the true heads. There's still life in dubstep yet.
Lit City Trax is on fire as of late; with the likes of Lisbon's DJ Marfox, DJ Spinn and Traxman on their roster, they truly are the specialists in representing the fusion of classic and emerging dance sounds from around the globe. This latest EP by newcomer Saga is another fine slice of high-tek funk, and it's great to see that they're also good at spotting new talent. The title track is a grimey, snare-heavy warehouse stomper, and it's a perfect representation of what's to come on the rest of the tracks: gritty, sci-fi-filtered beats and badass basslines. Another winner from the label, and recommended to fans of the current Bristolian wave.
Originally released as part of the Bleep tenth anniversary compilation, Untold's "That Horn Track" gets a standalone release here and this time around it's packaged with a Dettmann remix for good measure. The original is a clamouring masterpiece of sound design, full of the diffuse sonic fragments and barely recognisable rave tropes that Untold loves to reach for and yet achieving a kind of monstrous soul in the midst of the chaos. Dettmann unsurprisingly simmers the original into a more delineated techno throwdown riding on an ominous thudding kick, but there's still plenty of space given to the textural ingredients to ensure it's a distinctive cut.
Lifecycle slams down his Subway debut release with three heavyweight dancefloor cuts packed with heavyweight bass and electro-futuristic sounds. "Touch This" is an absolute destroyer, blitzing everything in its path with stripped back precision and darker than night production. For a bit of relief, head to track three where "Why Dem Fight" channels the haunted Hammonds of early days dubstep and Parly B's slap-up vocals to create something a little bit special - just wait until that bass kicks in.
Deep yearning, soul burning from Nativ's Mr Mist project, both "Breath" and "Gone Again" are deep, reflective sombre pieces tailored for cosy nights in, late nights and early mornings. Think Blake but darker and Sampha but less drippy. "Breath" pays homage to a special lady with heartfelt sentiments, while "Gone Again" is a much darker yarn where Misty almost sounds like a modern day Morrissey. This is no bad thing.