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Uprise supergroup LSN step forth with their debut album; a stylised rummage through the genre vaults to paint a picture of the most exciting edges of bass music and how everything tessellates. Just within the opening four tracks we're treated to Massive Attack style barbed dub soul ("Oblivion"), rolling breakbeats ("Shelter"), subverted jungle ("SMBU") and deep, pneumatic dubstep ("Vibration") Deeper again we hit restrained space-aged poetry ("Earthtone") sci-fi Autonomic soul ("Demons") and deep, Samurai-style D&B ("Stillness") And that's just a potted selection of this highly accomplished, consistently detailed and arranged album. Whatever shade of bass you're rooted with, LSN will join the dots for you.
In case the last wait of a year wasn't quite long enough between Subaltern outings, Taiko leaves us hanging even longer (16 months) this time. File under 'all good'... We've had an Albion release to chow down on in the meantime and beats like these really are worth waiting for: "De Maya" is a powerful hypnotic tabla session, "Flummox" throws cosmic textures into the dub melting pot, "Stick Fight" teases us with breaks through some seriously intricate percussive arrangements, "Game Show" while "Game Show" is more of a magic show, building and twisting with subtlety as the percussion becomes the melody and the melody becomes the bass all before your very eyes. Looking for more techy grit? Jump on Mentha's remix of "Stick Fight".
Hot on the heels of their first V/A halftime/beats-based EP, Noisia's Division serves up another deliciously leftminded multi-artist EP. "Nomad" says it all; screwloose bass, haunted elements and an all-round alien vibe, Noisia and Mony/Poly have truly killed it. Other highlights include the screeched out craziness of Posij's "Grab The Cookies" and the rave breaks and garbled sample abuse Bleep Bloop's "Recombine". Seriously forward-thinking, let's hope these Division EPs continue for the foreseeable.
Bay Area bassmith Dom Mali makes his Tuba debut with a quadrant of sublime steppers. "Neo Dub" has a simple but deadly allure as its elastic sub is stretched into a pulsing groove that builds on every twist and turn. "Secrets" is the early bird soundtrack, all crisp, dewy and full of hope while the oceanic ripples of "Fisherman's Dub" sees us reeling out for a trout but catching a barracuda. Finally we lean back and chill with "Benzo", all flutes, tubular subs and lazy beats, it's an instant soul soother.
Undisputed godfathers of UK dubstep Horsepower Productions are back with another full length; their first in 12 years since 2004's To The Rescue LP. As Tempa themselves put it succinctly: "Crooks, Crime & Corruption" draws from numerous facets of the UK underground and further afield in order to take you on a compelling, wholly immersive journey. Highlights include "Justify" featuring Harry Keyworth which sounds like Jah Wobble versus Ry Cooder, the deep spiritual house of "Bak 2 NY" or "Kurisoity 6" and the business as usual, street level bass therapy as heard on the raw "Change" or the pure fire junglist anthem "Criminally Insane".
Los Angeleno Oxossi has been plying away at his craft for the last couple of years, with his debut release on Banana Stand Sound in 2015 and now for Sleeper's UK based imprint Crucial Recordings. "Solace" delves into the exotic, all full of esoteric charm like an opium haze and featuring Rider Shaffique's spiritually enlightening monologue. "Reflections" up the ante a bit with some well rolled bass frequencies and an infectiously wonky melody, both snaking away in densely reverberated bliss. Finally "The Tempest" gloriously crosses over from dub into something else altogether with its mesmerising harp melody, but just wait until that snarling sub bass sets in; pure fire bro!
London beatcrafter Sh?m finally goes legit as he translates his Soundcloud hype into official release business with "Bossmode" on Kapsize. "Bossmode" fits the Kapsize suit perfectly with its Joker-style purpleness and strutting/squelchy sci-fi dynamics. Elsewhere on the EP we chow down on robot gully with "Underground" and take things back to the slinky, jazzy dubstep days with "Untitled". Finally we climax with "Vehement", a vibrant slice of synthtronica that stutters and shakes with evocative funk and emotion. A truly interesting EP. If you're the proud owner of a radar and Sh?m isn't on it, you're not using your radar properly.
Last spotted messing with the Wu, 6Blocc takes us even further back in time for his own dub side of the moon. A true Floydian odyssey rebooted for the modern bass lover, subtly is the name of 6Blocc's game: the paranoid, way-ahead-of-its-time "Run" gets a lick of 303 and swinging breakbeat, "Speak" retains all its dreamy majesty while the iconic moans and cries of "Sky" are stretched out from midnight fumble to 24-hour marathon. Elsewhere the till-chiming riff of "Money" is smothered in blankets of sub while "Colour" is galvanised with a classic Dig Your Own Hole era big beat. To some this may err on heresy, but to others this is a trip like no other. See you on the other side.
The inimitable SVBKVLT is one of the only labels out there that is making grime music as it should be heard; none of this pseudo bass and quasi house, just the real gear aimed at getting your head nodding up and down in the car - shotgun, preferably. Kai Luen is a newcomer to the scene, but we're sure that we'll be hearing him soon and often given how masterful his skills on the mixing desk seem to be with these ten stone-cold killers. "The Hollow Ghost" itself contains all the elements of classic grime joints by the likes of Plastician, while others like "LA 92" or strive down headier paths, sometimes landing on hints of hip-hop or Burial-like percussion excursions. The real shit.
Emergent bass wizards Juakali and Secret Angel Gel are up on the smokin' Top Billin with a new scorcher, the aptly coined "Rule The Night". Bursting through with a devious slew of Jamaican-minded vocals, it's a classic steppers bass tune to raise the levels on the dancehall and cause a likkle bit a fury. There's a remix from Nobel, who strips things down and works the percussion and kicks in deeper to form more of a 4/4 groove, and a dub, washed-out version from ErrorrE - perhaps the tune of the EP, and one that is certainly aimed at the corner dwellers..
Badman and bad-ass bass producer Gage returns to the Crazylegs stable with six dastardly slices of machine-gun funk, and he's getting faster and nastier every time we hear form him. "Turbulence" is more of a bass-weighted noise tune than a dance banger - and we love it - while "Talon's Reach" contains more of a beat flex in its spine and some killer hardcore rave stabs; "Gruellin" sounds like the inside of an engine that's about to explode, and "Hyphema" is the sort of grime they listen to on Saturn - the cream of the crop in here and a massive tip! "Rochester Way" fires its percussion stabs away amid detuned keys and, lastly, "Oxleas At Night" pushes all boundaries and delivers a ticking time-bomb of a gutter track for the heads. Get to know.
Oi! That badman AT is up on Project Allout blud! Get to know! The neo grime fantasist drops four rough and ready bangers that carry the UK bass heritage to higher grounds. Title track "Bulldog" is a badass, curb side jungle cut for the heads, while "Proper Stuff" goes more sci-fi on those rave stabs, "The Spy" lurks in the corner behind the speakers with a bit of redeye going through its core, and "Robin Hood" pumps out the classic UK grime trumpet for the big win. Heavy duty gear.
New Zealand warrior Dar Kist makes his Sure State debut with two grizzly, growling slabs of deep dark mechanical funk: "Don't Mention It" rides hard on a steppy kick arrangement as a detuned, distorted melody fights through the sonic fog to make itself heard. "Levitan's Calling" is just a tad more traditional with the seemingly endless array of bass textures making the main melodic presence over a swaggering halftime arrangement. Each bass fine-tuned with Dar Kist's dagger-like dynamics, dancefloor reactions to this will be nothing short of exultant.
Since their inception Southpoint have championed young bass maverick Bushbaby. Here they unleash his second solo outing, The Illusive EP. A gifted musical visionary who sounds like no other, here he gets to explore his creativity to great effect. The title track features abstract bass patterns and glitchy scattershot beats, whilst "Marble Arch" is slower and features trap influenced beats and a sombre cello riff. Meanwhile "Gameplan" includes gypsy/middle eastern string melodies and dubby breaks, whilst "No Tomorrow" adds classical strings and gentle chimes into the mix.
Exclusives
TAIKO - Flummox EP (Subaltern) - exclusive 31-12-2016
6BLOCC - Dark Side Of The Boom - exclusive 31-05-2016
VARIOUS - Milc Presents: DEEP (Milc)
Exclusives
NOISIA/MONO/POLYSIGNS/POSIJ/BLEEP BLOOP/ARKTKT/FORMER - Division VA EP 002
FREQUENCY DREAMS - Meditate (Subquake Audio)
HORSEPOWER PRODUCTIONS - Crooks, Crime & Corruption (Tempa)
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