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Reviewed this week
Previously known as half of Perverse, Alex Dickson makes his full debut as solo artist Pugilist on the deep bass mothership Artikal. It's fire from the off as "Raindance" brings more than just a shower as a waspish bass conjures thunder before the cloudy keys come in. Dig deeper for the sludgy warped spacefunk of "Terraform", the dubby echoes and cavernous space of "Mumur" and the Skeptical-style two-step tease of "Septic". Serious moves.
It's a perfect match; the dubwise sonic filter of L NIX is perfectly suited to what Iron Shirt Recordings have been focusing on for quite some time, and it makes this one of those releases that feels painfully right from the first moment it landed on our charts. The opening "Stumbles" lays out a clear and effective blueprint for the sort of shady, heavily moody bass vibes that follow on the subsequent 9 slabs of heartical drum-beating and hertz-morphing. "The Rift" is another peak moment on here, its stepping dub breaks guided by the subtle rap poetry of Ramai Lama, not to mention the grainy picture painted by "Viceroth", or the cold, ear-shaking artillery of percussion that's unleashed on "Bandits". If you like you step to be on the heavily dubby side then look no further than this sublime slice of dance sci-fi.
Boston's AXH is increasingly in the spotlight when it comes to deep, raucous dubstep vibes and, perhaps because he's from the other side of the pond, his material just seems to have something fresh and alluring about it - not to hype it up or anything! After a killer appearance on London's TEMPA not too long ago, the bad badboy runs two new dope tunes on the impressive Duploc imprint. "Witch doctor" blows a menacing, cosmic array of bass tones over a dismantled percussion beat, slamming all over the place like it's 2006, while "Lionart" takes some inspiration from the ragga school of thought in delivering its dutty, wobbling swarm of bass over deep, mystical roots vibes. Heavy.
Thanks to the likes of Hatched and Duploc, the rising talent behind this mysterious Kloudmen project wouldn't have appeared so prominently on our radars. Not only is the artist becoming a master of making traditional dubstep sound as raw and uncompromising as it was back in the days of FWD, but he's also got a distinctly personal touch to his tunes. "I" is everything you'd want from a 'bass' belter; the percussion is just on the right side of off-kilter, leaving the dancer with a selection of movements to rave out to, the melodies circling in its hemisphere are dark but not oppressive enough to render them the playable outside of the darkest basements, and the bass tones penetrate through the groove with total fury. It's murder...
Dubstep, garage, grime and funky from London's top purveyour of said aesthetic: White Peach. Manchester's Fallow delivers an interesting take on Oriental music fusion with his splendid "String Assassin" in collaboration with NYC upstart Alex Compton, London's Kaido dabbles in a similar vibe on "Kennedy Bridge" which is deep dubstep just the way we like it. Elsewhere, Bristol's Nakes gets some hypnotic polyrhythms in effect with "Moksha" and label boss Zha delves into the exotic on "Without". This is proper London street sound at its best: respect!
We're not sure what 'pleading the zero' means but whatever it is, it's got Ghast in a ruffled mood; crunching up groove with industrial strength machine funk and a haunted fearful cry it's a powerful slice of roughage that's so grunty it wouldn't stop to help its own mum across the road. Erstwhile collaborator B1t Crunch3r calls up Bristol's The Greys for much more of cosmic remix version with slidy guitars and star-gazing soars. Two very different sides of the dub coin, both kill it.
Version Collective is a relatively new label (established 2015) whose mission is simple: top quality deep dubstep with no compromise. Their brand represents a constant evolving sound, from chilled jazz-influenced vibes to the darker end and aims to deliver pure, raw and creative underground music without rules. They now present producer/DJ from the San Francisco Bay Area Basiclee, whose focus on heavy baselines and swinging percussion are his clear passion. Biblical (blasphemous!) undertones aside, "False Alarm" with its lo-end driven tribalism calls to mind early Shackleton or Appleblim until that rip-snorter of a bassline comes tearing through. Elsewhere "Forced Out Dub" indeed rolls deep for the perfect accompaniment to a stoned ride home on the night bus, as does "Por Vida" which gets its proper wobble on: what a bassline on this one, seriously!
Sapyens Records out of Prague is a bass music label founded by Dj Alyaz. They now present local hero Freezer who is fresh off hot releases on 3000 Bass with another bomb entitled "Casper" exploring his unique take on bass driven future beats. There's some stellar remixes on offer too, by a who's who of local talent. Our favourites weren't limited to Chik & Kletis' remix which is a slow motion journey through the darklands in a similar vein to dBridge (or anything on Exit Records), the proper street sound of Dexxx's grime rendition or even Kob Squad member ResetedH's remix which is trap music for horror movie soundtracks: if we've ever heard such a darn thing!
While we understand that it has more to do with a dogged mind and a dedication to producing wild-eyed dubstep and breakbeats, we've always thought that Binary's name doesn't quite do the man's music the right justice. To us, it sounds wide and uncontrollable, an almost 3D aesthetic to its wages of bass and percussion. The producer is up on Encrypted Audio with a bag of new cuts under the ENC25D banner, a four-pronged mood setter to please the heads and nudge the dancers. From the echoes of "Infirmary Dub" to the cavernous pits of "Trangression", Binary's output kicks down the doors and leaves no surivivors, which is a good thing if you're dealing in hazardous levels of sub tones travelling through the air like bullets. BAD.
Exclusives
MOONY/NOBLE & JFO/BUSHBABY & SAIDWHO/DRAX/TENGU/MR B - Integrate Vol 3 (Southpoint) - exclusive 22-04-2017
NOISIA - Outer Edges Remixes (Vision Recordings)
PUGILIST - Raindance EP (Artikal Music)
Exclusives
DIE ANTWOORD - Made By God (Chapter 1) (Instrumental) (zef)
X5 DUBS - Nasty Remixes (X5 Dubs)
EBB & EMBARGO - The Network (Averted Vision) - exclusive 14-04-2017
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