Nowadays, if it's dubstep then it's got to be deep and dark - there's no more of that middle ground. Mesck, an exciting talent from LA, is all about that meditative, fear-enducing sort of bass music, and we have to say that he's one of the few to craft it properly. "The Veil" and "Slang Suffocate" are two sides of the same coin, both piling up a noxious little groove thanks to fuzzy layers of industrial bass backed by appropriately off-kilter drums and wayward percussion. YES FAM.
From a series of one/two track dispatches on Project Allout to his full multi-track EP on Spooky's Ghost House, Dubzta is not mucking around. There's no filler either as each cut plays out with its own sense of drama: "Sinister" creeps with an alluring edge and deep dense layers of eeriness while "Demigod" is total trap opera and "Wake Up" goes all philharmonic on our tooshes. Finally "Funk U" closes on a fresh flex; a cheerful gamey groove with light footed jazz feel. All corners crushed.
First spotted on Fent Plates on their Beyond The Confines album in 2016, London-based soundscaper Vacant delivers his first full EP... And it's his most widescreen vision to date. Foggy, barbed, shrouded in mystery, across the five tracks we're treated a dense weave of energies and sensations ranging from the driving, hopeful two-step sojourn "Left Behind" to the pensive beatless "Farewell" by way of the startling, evocative title track and the dirge bass fuzz of "Deep Down". Referencing Hyperdub foundations while building entire sleepless cities of his own, Vacant belies every connotation of his artist name. Essential for heads and headphones.
Stockholm's Eva808 returns to the ever-juicy White Peace with her first full EP for the label. Following the damage and soul exploding sounds of her Encrypted EP last year, once again it's a woozy unpredictable affair: "Oyuki" is a seasick damager with its warped textured and slurring momentum while the string-snapping "Empress" is straight out of Hitchcock's playbook. "Ro$e Gold" and "You Don't" play perfect counterpoint as hazier soft-focus antidotes to her peaktime venom. The former is like being in a church under the sea while "You Don't" is like having honey poured in your ears. TIP.
Spooky gets another set of keys cut for his Ghost House. This time they're for brand new London talent Johnny East. Frolicking in the swampy, creepy playground between dubstep, grime, trap and house, each cut is tailored to send shivers down that gnarly spine of yours. From the halloween chuckle and bell tolls of "Ghost Rider" to subby halfteps of the midnight-shimmering "Rehab" via the 23rd century trap chimes of "Past Events" and twisted vocal rhythm elements of "Footsteps", East makes his opening statement loud and clear. Perfect Ghost House material.
Welcome to the swamp... Untied invite Toulouse sub fusionists Diggerz to the fray with five slabs of pure industrial strength sine language. Those hungry for molten steel sound design should head for the nightmarish growls of "Public Nuisance", those looking for a post-apocalyptic street looting session with aliens should jump on "Curious", those in need of a scuffing rifle rhythm and toxic bass grunts will be in a lather over "Esoteric" while those with a strong penchant for dubspace and raw freaky funk will be all over "Idencent". Those who are greedy and still want more should be more than satisfied with Zygos's remix of "Curious". Follow the signs....
After a pair of noticeable appearances for Phantom Hertz it's time for DJ Variant to step the game up further and further, with Sure State being the imprint to help him in his quest. "Sigma 957" is a rough, bubbling bass monster with a cold artillery of low frequencies and a drunken flow of half-step beats; the Durandal remix develops those bass waves further still, giving them more room to allow the murderous frenzy of beats to fill the space. Lil' tip, right here!
West Coast dubstep engineer Oxossi makes his way back to Crucial Recordings with this mighty four-tracker spanning just about every single personality within the enlarged 'bass' domain - in here, you'll find everything from wavy post-grime to oddball drum-machine experiments, such as the opening "Escher" - an infinite loop of insanity. "&" slithers its mystical drum patters in a firmly off-kilter kind of movement, while "Fall Of Mevia" is probably the freshest grime reinterpretation we've heard since the start of the year (that bass is naughty), and "Nightmares" ties the whole thing off with goulish injections of low frequencies in supremely wayward fashion.
The singular sounds of Jim Coles make their mark on Library Music as he drops his more typical tempo of around 85 to 70BPM with these cosmic futuristic bass jams. Pensive, slow-burning, laced with otherworldly textures and laden with chasmic dubspace: "Fire Exit" insists with a hypnotic twisted chime loop and shadowy basses groaning underneath and "Dark Vistas" takes us even deeper into the cosmic realms with heady layers of pads and ricochet heartbeat rhythm that envelop your every sense. Remarkable.
Bass music legend Chimpo fuses grime, drum n bass, dubstep, trap, garage, dancehall and hip hop to create a unique sound that never fails to destroy dancefloors. A seasoned DJ, producer and MC, his career has seen him tour the world, find fans in many of his heroes and officially remix legends such as Wu Tang Clan, Zed Bias and Omar. "Mek Body" is sick and lo-down street sound for bass fiends and we cant wait to see what's next from this fresh label.
Cosmic Bridge Records welcomes Margari's Kid to the family aka Jose Maria Moya Sanchez: a Spanish producer based in Cadiz. Inspired by British dance culture, Sanchez first began writing his own tracks in 2012 and says he uses music as therapy, with a preference towards broken rhythms, depth and message. The Init 1 EP is a serving of 170bpm music: a grey area excursion that calls to mind the early work of Burial and Kid Drama of Instra:mental. First track "Halt" calls to mind the half time beat experiments of the Autonomic crew in the late noughties. "Pwd" is a ferociously powerful techstep deconstruction with some immaculately programmed rhythms and razor sharp basslines going head to head. Finally "Init 1" is the EP's deepest moment: this evocative number is polarising.
US bass producer Dalek One comes through with some seriously professional constructions, showing the UK fam exactly how it's done in 2017! Up on Encrypted Audio, the producer starts off with the moody, unpredictable flows of "Gone Mad", which fall neatly into the hands of the liquifying "Lid Seeker". "Not Real" drags its rusty, deranged beats along with the help of a murderous web of bass, whereas "Scattered Music" sounds more like machine than man, a cold and calculated bric-a-brac of beats and bass with a sinister edge.
Enochi and Coltcuts touch down on the dubstep scene for the first time, with Deep, Dark & Dangerous the label to give these two their first outing. We're not lying when we say that that "Captive Minds" is the most impressive bass swelter that we've heard all week; the tune is pushed forwards by an evil, meandering bass that skips in and out of hollow sonics and devilish atmospherics. If this were to have been banged out at FWD back in the day, the reactions would likely have been hysterical, followed by an endless number of rewinds. Play this out on a big system and you'll see the damage...
London based novelty act Aliens UK are a trio who wear scary masks and have appeared on Dubstar, Bassclash, Southside, Alien Noize Recordings (naturally) and Dubstep Onslaught. Their mission statement? EXTERMINATE ALL HUMANS! It's true, you can even get hold of the T-shirt via their Facebook page. Lo-down and nasty street sounds here for night lurking bass fiends on offer here. Fire!
Pure headphone and home-listening inspiration: Peditah's Fabriclive mix comes strictly mixed form and it's a straight up snapshot of bass music's raw and healthy state right now. Bulging with bangers and exclusives from the likes of DJ Q, Wiley, Bassboy, C4, Mr Virgo and loads more, the Brum badman takes us from the sublime house of Black Loops to the riotous grit of Solo 45 and all shades in between. Fluid and fiery, all recorded in one take, Preditah's delivered one of the most on-point mixes Fabric have released in a long time. Essential listening every time you touch road.
Pretty much leading the line for Devon's insular bass scene, Skinzmann is back on Titanium Audio with a bruising shot of curbside grime carrying the illest of flows. Riding shotgun in the big-room grime machine blasting out sinister horns are Mr Traumatik, Dizzle Kid and Devilman, all spitting some absolute fire. We don't want to get all cliche and that, but this sounds like the sort of gear that is hard to find these days; the sort of material 'they don't make anymore'. This is an all-out machine-gun attack from the crew, and you get the parts for good measure. BIG BOY BUSINESS.