US based deep dubstep purveyors AxH have sure come along way; it's not like you hear of Boston, Massachusetts being a hotbed for innovative future music. These guys have proven there might just be something in the water (or the weed!) out there, given their credentials ie: releasing on London kingpins Tempa and now for N-Type's Wheel & Deal. Starting out with the spooky mood lighting of "Devil's Shogun" complete with unsettling horror movie dialogue, "Fading Away" then gets stuck into some dystopian low frequency explorations with some help from Artokinks. "Boneyard Keeper" pursues some more familiar dub flavour translated via dark sci-fi aesthetics. Promising stuff.
Sitting pretty in the triptych heat of halftime, jungle and bass, Nuvaman continues his fractured sermons on Artifice. Instant neck-snappery abounds on "Strength" as amens rifle back/forth/inside/out over dense pads. "Bada" is a more restrained piece of pensive drones and tones while "Throttle" gets up to speed with stark bass and a spacious two-step swing. Finally "Mutu" takes us back to bed with the trippiest low-end designs of the EP. Welcome to the future.
A crucial skank-bullet last summer, Madd's Redders-stamped digidub bum-slapper "Peng Teng" gets the treatment from halftime's man of the moment Moresounds as he dilutes the juice with more space and trippy pace. Itoa ups the tempo with a raw tribal finish on "Catchit" while Madd lays the flex down himself on his 2013 cut "Burning Dance". Switching out the big clunking halfsteps for a skippier summer rhythm, it's another seasonal smash for one of bass music's most consistent creators.
Hammer horror vibes: Dubzta takes us back to dubstep darker, gritty side with a staccato riff that marches with a few sense of doom. Laced with arpeggios and far-away cries, it's an instant screwface piece for any discerning dance. Remix-wise we're in for a treat as Project Allout provide no less than six versions. Highlights include Creep N00m's retained riff and subverted textures, the detuned tones and melodic twist of Filthy Gears' remix and the humour of John Brown The Rebel's version. Ice cold.
Delivered exactly a year after his huge "Prototypes" sophomore, RDG delivers yet another clutch of innovative bass constructions. It's clear he means business the minute "No Turning Back" a slinky cut where a stretchy sub wriggles, giggles and gets filthy with a 2008-flavoured wub. "Dillinger" follows on a rolling techy flex where the sub fluctuations are complemented by a Distance-weight sheet metal riff. No letting up till the bitter twisted end, "Vengeful Thoughts" combines trad dub drums with alien screams while "Thank You" does the toxic sludge stomp with T-1000 level menace. Plenty prototype hype.
Calling your track "Heart Of The Soundsystem" is a bold move... But it's a move that LA new-blood Tetrad executes with serious skill: the bassline pumping with thick dub blood, power surges through every cone with life as it worms between sub and higher octaves amid a dense array of Pablovian textures. "Well Maybe Dub" is a much deeper, denser construction with a slow-and-steady kick that's wrapped in ten-tog duffle subs. One for lift off, one for come down... Hearty on.
London's Lington is back again on home base White Peach with the Vendetta In Space EP. This is tough grime music with attitude that's honed equally in the studio as it has on the streets. As heard on the ferocious "Informa" which starts things off with a bang. The title track is the offering which shows the most restraint, albeit with some pretty snappy traps snares sandwiched between its layers of tonal bass frequencies. Finally "Falcon 2" is the haunting party starter with its horror movie melody leading the way before those hands in the air synth leads bring the house down.
Much like his namesake, Finland's bass underdog, Rico Tubbs, proves that he packs just as much of a punch Don Johnson in Miami Vice, and then some. Here he references more American culture with Ghost Rider, the flaming skeleton biker. However, it's less retro America and more sweaty UK warehouse - fusing hands-in-air piano stabs with gurgling low basslines and skippy beats. Dr Cryptic's mix perfectly captures that gurn-fest moment when it feels like the sky is literally attacking you. Elsewhere Thijs Haal delivers the hardest mix here, whilst Ampr drops to half time for some robo dubstep fun.
Markee Ledge is back everyone! The drum and bass legend formerly known as Substance who formed breakthrough act Kosheen with Decoder now appears for the esteemed London imprint Tempa. You trust a veteran like Ledge to deliver the goods here like he does on "Underground Railroad" with its immaculately programmed industrial percussion textures hammering away backed by chilling atmospheres and powerful bass pulsations. After first premiering on Youngsta's Rinse FM show over a year ago, we're glad this finally saw the light of day.
UK grime maestro Terror Danjah has been smashing it ever since his first EPs started to emerge in the early 2000s, and we have to say that the man hasn't stopped rinsing it since. Among other big labels, he's been an integral part of London's Hyperdub unit, but the time has come to spill some truth on the respected Keysound label and here he is with "Juicy Patty", a vocal-led gunshot riddim that literally sounds as if it was recorded straight on the curbside; jacking, stop-start beats and a minimal arrangement make this a true London burner. There's an instrumental mix, too, for the DJs, but the first remix comes from Logos, who shreds the entire structure down and focusses heavily on the percussion, followed by Blackdown's louder, more menacing interpretation for the peak time hours.
Duckem and Taztical have already churned out their fair share of bass hypnotics over the last few years, but his newly found collaboration on Foundation Audio marks a new wave of skills and surprises from the duo. "Kokkino Horma" sways its wailing strings over cascading beats, and somehow the producers manage to convey a feeling of the earth's elements colliding against each other. "Pindus Dub" is less murky and more uplifting, although the track is still heavily wound in a mystical Eastern sort of stagger from the heights of the Himalayan cliffs.
Music with a message: after a string of free releases, Czech dub warrior Kletis comes correct with his first official release and a kindly reminder that, even during these most cynical times, not everything is sucky. His music, for instance... From the church crumbling shudders and shakes of the title track to the fluffy emotional tones of "Clouds" to the out-and-out tech fissures of "Mayhem" there's not a negative word to be said. The only thing that sucks here is having to decide which track to drop first.
The 21 year old Manchester dubstep wunderkind Hypho is back on esteemed UK bass imprint Punks run by Stanton Warriors. He offers up "Fiyah" firstly, which is dark and dystopian street level futurism: plain and simple! Second offering "Scatter" shows more restraint but is equally as powerful in its exploration of sci-fi bass therapy; only difference is that these aliens are smoking some serious kush! This young gun really is one to watch.
Russian dubstep producer Sqz Me makes some emotive and haunting deep dubstep we must say. "Beautiful" samples Justin Timberlake's vocals put through harsh redux that wail over layers of smoky pads and powerful bass pulsations. "Inner Place" is minimal and glacial, like getting vaped and going on an Arctic expedition.Closing this thing out is "Missin Element" which reminds us a bit of bass music classics like "Hyph Mngo" and is absolutely sublime. This young Siberian producer is definitely one to watch out for in 2016.
Debutant Half Normal produces music that's just as deranged as him name implies. These three twisted slices of neural bass funk come courtesy of the young and daring Lifted Contingency imprint, a label that seems to be getting bigger and badder with each single. "The Secret" is a deep, rolling bass melter that flutters its Eastern chimes amid pouncing kicks, and "Salt Of The Earth" follows suit thanks to morphing low frequencies, but "Elk Hide" is where Half Normal really sinks deep into the mix by injecting a tenebrous layer of chilling harmonics and cut-throat sonics.
Macabre man Demon up to his old tricks again: "Light" is a foundry-smashing design, all concrete slaps and smashes. Soul is found deep in the barbed vocals of Monika who creates a sheen that's not far off Portishead circa Third. Immense. Hot on its heels is a sight-blurring, blood-pumping, fist-bumping VIP of last year's breaker "Narkotics". Now with added busted beat jungle designs, it's even more complex and sense-popping as it was before. Stick this to the man and tell him the drug war is over.
Doctor P is back with the explosive "Rekt Together" which just reeks of teen spirit if we've ever heard it! The stage name of the English dubstep producer and DJ Shaun Brockhurst, he is the co-founder of Circus Records along with Flux Pavilion, DJ Swan-E and Earl Falconer. This dirty grime anthem is the soundtrack to a misspent youth in Cancun this summer which cleverly samples a certain pop hit over its grinding, threshold pushing exercise in low down bass therapy and snarling trap beats.