Reviewed this week
Sepia's move to Deep Dark & Dangerous is the natural turnout for an artist whose been residing on our charts with nothing but bangers for the last few years. The imprint is quickly picking up all the relevant talents, and is quickly becoming an important force when it comes to new waves of dubstep. "Sakura" charges forth with a militant bass stance, followed by "Eclipse" and its glitchy half-steps surrounded by eerie background sonics. "Point Blank" goes down more soulful pastures, nodding to the likes of Burial in the process, while "Regret" tunes down the tempo entirely and ends up at a slow, Eastern lull with a booming sub bass for added effect. Sublime material from Sepia!
Amar superstar Amit takes us to his leader with two more dynamite bass cuts. "Thakurs Army" marches us into a bleak, unforgiving future with heavily swung kicks, ricochet percussion and bass textures so gnarly you need a shower after playing it. "Taylor Dub" ups the tempo to halftime territory with a dense slo-mo stomp vibe that flickers in ghosts of jungle past in a similar way to his 2015 cut "Operator". Immense.
After 18 months of silence, Versed rises from its sleep with an energised album-sized air. Leaning over the future precipice even further than before, the whole collection reeks of innovation and rule-free drama. The cosmic digidub of "Slept On", the scaly drones and off-beat parps of "Cabin", the mischievous wobbles and spacious funk of "Don't Talk", the tripped out vocal cuts and pranged out bass zaps of "Buddha" are just some of the many highlights on offer here... Dig deep and digest - this more than makes up for lost time!
Elephant Doc is up there among the more interesting of new bass talents on the street and, crucially, one of the few remaining dubstep producers who specializes in the deeper and darker end of the spectrum - a much needed rarity. "GG249 Dub" carries a powerful, heartical swing to make the steps supremely dubwise in a way that few other tunes have done in recent times; the likes of Mala would be very keen, indeed. Newcomer Perverse steps up for the remix duty, the artist comes through with a version carrying a lot more percussive weight and, of course, enough mutant bass to make Skream's early tunes seem antiquated by comparison. Well, at least this dude is pushing things forward!
Osiris Music boss Simon Shreeve is back under the Monic guise, after recent appearances for Tresor and Downwards: the latter being a similar label, aesthetically, and exploring the outer limits of modern industrial, techno and noise. On "Deep Summer", Shreeve has really found another dimension to his sound: going less for the jugular like his recently harsh textural abrasions. This sombre and bittersweet ambient journey is kept pace by subtle, reverb drenched beats and hypnotic waves of metallic noise: all the while accompanied by angelic vocal passages. And let's not ignore the elephant in the room here: yes, there is a remix by the one and only Burial. His rendition was not what we were expecting, but captivating as always. Let's just say that this ambient house odyssey is the perfect accompaniment to a Lynchian styled island dream.
Like a round of AK47 bullets and a waft of G13 haze, Terror Danjah steps through the place alongside Irah, and their pair have clearly got one single-minded objective on their agenda: VIBING. "Lyrical Weapon" sees the two artist's pair up on what feels like the right move for the both and, clearly, the perfect calibration of efforts from the Hardrive imprint; the title tune is a twisted barrage of machine-gun percussion, murky bass slewing, and vocal terrorism that really gives Mr Danjah his credentials as a purveyor or hard-ass, twisted beat making. Lucky for you, there's a cleaner edit for radio playback, and an instrumental if you wanna get creative on the decks. POW
OG slimer Silkie takes us out on the town and drinks us under the table. "Drunken Master" chugs a lug with its oddball bass ruffles and creepy arpeggio layers building and building, "Why Not" is the quintessential brandy chaser, easing you in smoothly with his signature funk before warming your chest with darker bass tones. Brought together with Silkie's trademark talkbox finesse, the only woozy after effects will be a love hangover. Blessy.
Crucial Recordings regular Sleeper teams up with DADDW8 for these two bad-mannered UK hip-hop experiments; this is the sort of gear that fills up with hope when thinking about the British underground scene, so treat it with the upmost respect, please. "Dark Things" is like a cross between Jehst and the sort of beats the Louis Slipperz used to be known for, except that here the brother has a lot more leftfield electronics to deal with. A bangher on all fronts. "X Rated" is similarly lo-fi in its approach, coming through with hazy, murky instruments to carry the crew's gun-mannered vocal rants into hyperspace. Bad, bad tunes here. Warmly recommended.
Keysound are proud to announce the third installment in their Rollage sub-series. This EP is from Blackdown, with Dusk joining on co-production duties. "C-troit" is a name revived from a lost, unfinished track by Blackdown in the very earliest years of dubstep. A hybrid of the names Croydon and Detroit, it's a heuristic for the place between Greater London's bass-led music and the halcyon synths of early Detroit techno. Now that there's a growing body of dark, 130bpm-ish rollage, from within the Keysound camp and crews beyond: the EP seeks to throw warm light into the shadows, with the tracks "Godlike Power", "Clueless ft Dusk" and "Halcyon Skies (Rollage mix)." The EP's closing cut "The Greatest Concert (RIP PMC)" was written by Blackdown in the days immediately following the passing of his father. The tracks in the Rollage series are designed to be mixed together as one flow.
Rising Irish mystic Cnamha presents himself in full detail on the consistently on-point Brunswick. Each cut detailed with precision theatrics, ranging from the deeper "Identity" to the sense-melting drama of "Tearduct", there's a real kaleidoscope feel running throughout as we're treated to layers of sparkling, chiming sci-fi aesthetics and textures that constantly keep us on our toes. Remix-wise Spurz murks "Exoskeleton" with added synths in the drum space and a molten bassline that gets juicier throughout while Eski Myth spaces the dickens out of "Tearduct" with cathedral-sized results.
Brunswick Sound welcome Gastah to their catalogue, and it feels like they've just gone and recruited a producer who will have plenty to say over the coming years, and who is surely a keeper in terms of voracious grime deployment. This mighty fine extended EP kicks off with the gully sci-fi bass of "Apollo", surely an instant classic, while other tunes like "Ether" and "Sun's End" carry enough melodic swing to render them accessible to all sorts of DJs outside the grime equation. The likes of Plastician, or even Wiley, are probably shedding a little tear right now just thinking about what influence they've had on the UK bass scene...
AMIT - Thakurs Army (AMAR)
SLEEPER/DADDW8 - Dark Things (Crucial Recordings)
VARIOUS - Gold (Versed) - exclusive 27-07-2017
SEPIA - Eclipse EP (Deep Dark & Dangerous)
GASTAH - Apollo (Brunswick Sound)
ELEFANT DOC - GG249 (Pressed)
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