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26 Dec 11
21 Nov 11
Review: The seal on Hemlock's music is always one of quality, so when they welcome a relative newcomer into their fold, you know it must be something quite special. With a strong digital EP on Discobelle already under his belt, Guy Andrews has been known to those with their finger on the pulse of bass music for a few months now, but this release deserves to see his profile rise considerably; the 808s and woodblock percussion of "Shades" have the spectre of early jungle at its core, whilst maintaining a maturity and restraint that few of his peers doing similar things would be able to muster. "Textures" meanwhile is similarly masterful, skillfully moving from 4/4 techno to a funky-infused bass workout without breaking a sweat.
20 Feb 12
Review: Randomer's "Real Talk" was one of the highlights of the Numbers output last year, a gleefully chunky piece of bass-heavy techno that rightfully raised the producer's stock to the level of his peers such as Blawan. This new release for Untold's Hemlock Recordings shows that "Real Talk" was no one-off, delivering two tracks that punch even harder than before. "Scruff Box" utilises beefed up, lo-fi 808 drums whilst 80s electro samples give the track some brash swing - in the hands of any other producer the results could be terrible, but in his hands it's the sound of being hit in the face with a bag of rocks. "Get Yourself Together" meanwhile combines detuned piano and string stabs with clattering hi-hats and a white-hot bassline. Despite the schlock horror feel of the samples, the results have the required kick - and most importantly the required charm - to make this another winning release for the producer.
29 Apr 13
Played by: Winter
Review: Released late summer 2012, "You Turn Me" became a runaway rewind prize piece for most of last year. Ever the switch flipper, Jamie Laxx has unleashed a VIP that serves as a dramatic game of two halves. The first half is an enriched echo of the original, with all the quirky piano stabs and jaunty flare intact. The second half sees him diving deep into a cesspit of metallic bass. Angular, yet swampy, it's yet another prize piece from the Oxford producer. Turn it up.
16 Apr 13
22 Apr 13
Review: Always open to teaming up with like-minded souls for their releases on Osiris, the ever-prolific Kryptic Minds are on the prowl once more, this time with the equally active Killawatt in tow. Kicking off with the brooding and short-lived "Swung Operations", it's business as usual in the Osiris camp with plenty of industrial clangs and booms meeting with punchy digital percussion. The bleak tones continue apace into "Reaching Through", even as some discernable melody comes pulsing through from a dub techno chord, but the beat does more than enough on its own, working a rapid kick and sizzling hat to deadly effect without ever going overboard. "Cunning Juncture" finds equal worth in the minimal approach, bringing a measured amount of techno influence into the dubstep framework with sterling results.
13 May 13
06 Aug 12
Review: Unsurprisingly it's another top class release from Kryptic Minds' label Osiris Music as they bring Thelem & Killawatt to the table for their next release. The curiously entitled "Dualism" is steeped in mystique with juddering, pattering rhythms, eerie quirks, bleeps and rattles and plenty of murky bass rumbling below. Accompanying this is "Saturn Colour" - another deep, subterranean venture with a sparse intro with bongo-like beats juxtaposed with sci-fi sounding SFX, even more ominous than the first track. If deep, experimental bass music is your thing then you'll love this release!
10 Dec 12
Review: Despite sharing its name with a Christian record label in the States, Birmingham's Four40 only really pray in one church, one with a soundsystem that boasts bone-rattling subs. Their latest signing, the mysterious Cloaka, is certainly all about the bass: this EP features bass so brutal and low it's positively subterranean. "Don't I Know You" features a low rolling bassline and eerie chants, "Booty Chatter" boasts harsh, stamping riddims and extra wobble on top, "Konkle" again centres around a hard, stamping kick but is more sparse and finally "Wuxi Riddim" is all about the voodoo beats.
26 Nov 12
Review: Thelem's profile's got a nice bit of heat these days, having first appeared on Osiris earlier on this year alongside the unstoppable Killawatt. Cuts on Loft Party and Orientis followed and he's back on Kryptic Minds' imprint with two deadly sub warnings. "Tarnished" is an edgy tribal work-out complete with lucid drums and paranoid pads. Meanwhile "Elemental Fears" could soundtrack your worse nightmare or your best night on the dancefloor; carnal and urging, it's drama through-and-through. Thelem's profile is far from tarnished right now...
17 Dec 12
Played by: Winter
Review: Grimey vibes abound on Four40 as Enigma, Screama and Trilla rep the 0121 emotions. Enigma's beats are the perfect balance of heavy presence and eerie melody while allowing enough space for Screama and Trilla to trade melodic bars with each other. The remix-list is mind bogglingly good with all flavours catered. From slinky, well-polished two-step (El-B) to haunted house trap (DJ Cable) via savage breakbeat garage (Filthy Vicars), Four40 have curated a very generous package that will suit every shade of bass addict.
21 Jan 13
Review: Two Chestplate regulars, Sleeper and District collide once again and the result is just as devastating as their previous co-lab joints such as "Dungeon Style", "Terraformed" and "Angry Birds". In fact throw those three together and you still can't match the might of the techno-spiked bass chugger "The Risk". Meanwhile Sleeper goes solo with the meatier, broodier "Dark Mutations". Half-step heroics a-go-go, it's an icy ride into the depth of pure industrial dubstep. Risky business.
11 Feb 13
Played by: Mat Cant, Diplo, Juno Recommends Dubstep, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, The Golden Toyz
Review: With Slick Don riding roughshod, this is an unashamed party joint jacked with all the London swagger you could possibly ask for. Slick comes across like Newham Generals on just a weeny dose of helium. Spitting with a smidgeon of sing, IKK's 4/4 garage riff is the perfect bed for Don's bravado (so perfect it comes with an instrumental). Elsewhere we find tech-minded tropical ("Crossover") and stripped back bleep bashment ("HS1").
12 Oct 10
28 Feb 11
Played by: Hrdvsion, Dubstepforum.com, Graziano [from Nomad Records], Bunny On Acid, Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka, Djs: Most Charted - Dubstep
Review: Coming soon after the 'Worth The Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics' compilation, new Punch Drunk signing, 22-year old Joe McGann aka Kahn makes his debut on Peverelist's home grown imprint. "Like We Used To" starts with a gorgeous, warm, warping synth line, clipped, snarling beats and lustrous vocals, which are chopped up and rearranged James Blake style. Continuing on, delicate drums are paired with rolling subs, at times rather reminiscent of Scuba's "Three Sided Shape" and perhaps more strikingly of Sepalcure's recently released Fleur EP. The mellifluous melodies Kahn carves out here are at once charming and compelling. This is not to undermine "Helter Skelter", of course, which is an equally excellent slice of musical sunshine over on the flipside. Here, colourful swathes of synths - like a more chilled out Night Slugs release - dance mischievously around deep, dubbed out bass, whilst tense synth chords simply bristling with energy pepper the piece. Expect big things from Kahn in the future.
04 Mar 13
Played by: Be-1ne
Review: Zhou's Punch Drunk debut back in 2011 was on of the darkest records to come out of Bristol since the demise of Skull Disco; although they've been active with various Young Echo related side projects since, this full return for the duo has been long awaited. Featuring tasty full sleeve designed by Tape Echo's Alex Digard, the single contains two takes on the same kind of classic West Country dub dread; "Locust Tree" takes terrifying atmospherics and powerful zombie halfstep rhythms that sounds like Shackleton's early material stripped of its flesh and left nothing but clattering bones, while "Locust Dub" takes much of the same backdrop and fills it in with more of a steppas rhythm and pulsing low end. The only criticism we can draw of this is that it makes you wish Zhou could produce more - essential.
14 Jan 13
Review: Bastions of proper, bona fide dubstep, Boka have sown the scene's ever-changing fields with nothing but the finest of seeds. Sprouting exciting, refreshing crop on every release, their impact is up there with Tempa and Applepips. Here's a fine taster for those who need reminding; a compendium of their darkest moments over the last few years. Ranging from the deepest dungeons of haunted-house-step (Compa's "Sentence") to more sprightly, organ-smashing spring-step (Von-D's "ASAP"), it's a fine testament to Boka's never-ending quest for quality.
25 Sep 12
Review: Get down and dirty to King Yoof vs DJ Cold as the duo go in hard in the "Slayer Soundclash" with the motto already embedded into the title of the EP Death b4 Dishonour, you know what you're getting with this one. Cue shuddering bass, reggae vox, tumultuous drops and jungle infused synths a-plenty. "Call The Undertaker" blends raga jungle flavours with contemporary jump up, while "Respect" is more of a vocal-driven roller and title track "Every Night Is A Soundclash" is a bass heavy ball buster with lilting lyrics and smashing drums. "Tik A Tok" blends a well-known hook with rolling breaks and jungle shimmying attitude. Lovely stuff.
13 Aug 12
Review: New Zealand's self-proclaimed 'purveyors of intensely dark and uncompromising eyes-down beats' continue to exemplify the wide-ranging and unexpected influence of dubstep across the globe. "Cross Examination" sees the duo team up with Beezy for a menacing and sparse tale of the 'year of the anti Christ' in which they are 'possessed by harshness and receive texts from Martians'. Up next, "Obsidian" is an instrumental, again dark and haunting, but whose beats are more influenced by jungle than dubstep.
13 Feb 12
Review: Using space and sound to the full capacity, Pheral succeeds in creating an on-point and brilliant release on InnaMind Recordings in his Hatchway EP. The title track immerses in his underwater world of gently tripping beats, hissing hi-hats and sweeping drifts of sound. Gentle warps ripple over the surface as the rhythms change, subs providing a change in pressure before eerie, bleepy melodies come in. "Sanctuary" immediately plunges us in an altogether different world, one of danger, it's full of ominous rattles, punishing bassline, metallic clicks and whirs. An excellent addition to the music collection.
05 Dec 11
Review: Punch Drunk present another hitherto unfamiliar name in the form of Zhou, reminding you just what made dubstep so alluring in its infancy. The gorgeous chords which form the centrepoint of "I Remain" come on dark and exotic at once, while the devastatingly simple beat rolls and bumps with understated ripples of percussion. "Noburu" on the flip is a far more daring affair, as distant drones and low-end textures rumble in beatless space. For a first release on a prominent label limited to two tracks, it's an artist with utmost conviction that opts to fill a side with a few minutes of textural ambience. Highly recommended.
10 Dec 12
Review: Bang... Spooky's "Playground" gets a turbo-charged level-up thanks to East London's finest mic-mashers Slew Dem. Oozing away with its distinctive sleazy, slo-mo bass riff, it's the perfect bed for the hefty ex-Rinse team. With the beats complementing every one of their myriad lyrical styles, this is your quintessential grime banger that rolls with sophistication but bites with raw aggression.
03 Dec 12
Review: Badman tune alert! Spooky finally unleashes one of the most hyped dubstep tracks of the year, and it's about time. Treading the infinitely fine line between unique and sounding like something you've already heard before; "Playground's" slow-mo, almost lazy, funk manages to sound like both Dead Prez and Shy FX but does so with its own flavour. Naturally the creative vibes abound throughout the whole release thanks to the alien laser fight "Toxic Paradise", the angular, rust-bleeding hymn service "Utter Madnezz" and the Psycho-style strings on "News Flash".
26 Sep 11
Played by: Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Graziano [from Nomad Records], Mike Hindle - Immersed Audio, Adam Faz, Diamond Bass
Review: The ambient intro is always a dicey manoeuvre for a club track, placing a lot of pressure on the drop to match up to the anticipation. For "Decay", the restrained dubstep roll that kicks in still packs enough weight to lock your head in without a moments doubt. It's a minimal stomper of a track with a resounding bassline that fills in the space perfectly, proclaiming its intention to slot into more considered sets. "Gone Soon" opts for a more haunting space with its drumfunk beat and layers of spooky tones, but the pick of the bunch for our money is the title track.
11 Apr 11
Review: Bristol based producer Hyetal (who has impressed with some superb collabs with Punch Drunk boss Peverelist, Shortstuff and Baobinga) gives us a little taste of what we can expect from his debut LP Broadcast, due out on Blackacre in May. "Diamond Islands" sees the hotly tipped producer carve out a deep, dubbed out soundscape with haunting, breathy R&B style vocals, shimmering keys and enormous, booming epic drum kicks that penetrate the soul. The Boddika remix seals the deal, re-working the original with great finesse; fidgeting beats slip over one another smoothly with harsh, lacerating snares. Visceral and very exciting stuff here.
22 Jun 09
10 May 10
Review: No Hats No Hoods. It's a name that certainly sticks in the mind, playing on irony, dripping with attitude, oozing a self-assured confidence. True to form, this glorious release on what is undoubtedly one of the kings of underground grime labels does just that. Enter Badness feat. Skepta & Lil Nasty, for "Badness" - the 10th release from the imprint. The delectable spooky intro, growling "Nightmaaare" in breathy, ominous tones, sets a precedent for things to come. Its inky blank bassline penetrates the very essence of your being; a scurrilous interplay of spoken word, rumbling bass, jittering synths and hissing breaks prevails. DMZ's Coki and Cotti deliver a decidedly more upbeat remix, full of bouncing, stepping rhythms, before Bristol-based HENCH producer, Mensah, comes up with a dollop of screechy synth-driven dubstep to break things up. Bassboy, in stark contrast, fixes up, looks sharp (to use an overused grime idiom), so that the words are spoken in discerning clarity, with more of a bassline vibe. It's a cracking release all round, though - highly recommended.
12 Apr 13
Review: After sturdy appearances on Numbers and Local Action, Slackk returns to one of his earlier outposts in the form of Unknown To The Unknown, throwing down a curious mixture of oriental folk music with grime-inspired beats and the occasional flurry of vintage computer game MIDI business. The beats are slippery and jerky on "Inland" where the synth comes in all side-chained and disjointed, with only gun shots for ballast on the buoyant groove. "Wolf Creek" brings on the aforementioned Monkey Island vibes, using curious keys and harmonies to create a decidedly eerie atmosphere, while "Blue Forest" is arguably the spiciest tune on the EP with its urgent percussion and more involved arrangements of lute action worked into a stomping 140 bpm rhythm.