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13 May 13
Review: While the cover artwork may make Benton look like a moody former member of an R&B boy band, the music contained on Reflections is as robustly underground as you'd expect. Moving from Burial-ish paranoid atmospherics to deep dubstep-soul via a series of sparse, moody and emotion-rich soundscapes, it portrays the London-based producer as a man for whom the simple pleasures of form and function are just not enough. Along the way, there are growling, murky floorfillers (check the hissing "Herman's Hideout" and "Defect Mind"), dubwise steppers ("20/20 VIP") and occasional blasts of piano-laden beauty (the intricate "We're Both Lost").
18 Feb 13
Played by: Hong Kong Ping Pong, DJ Aka (Funk Moguls), Juno Recommends Breakbeat, Juno Recommends Drum & Bass, Juno Recommends Brokenbeat/Nu Jazz, Juno Recommends Electro House, Badboe, Euphonique, Run Riot, Ragga Scum, Ez Icarus, Basement Freaks, S Man
Review: Bang! There'd been hushed tones of this opus for well over a year, and at a whopping 29 tracks, it's been well worth the wait. Showcasing their widest repertoire, within the first trio of tracks we're already treated to Latino swing breaks, new jungle jiggery and dramatic dubstep. This wide-eared vibe embracement runs throughout consistently; "Hey Mr DJ" rattles a few electro-hop cages, "Countdown" is quintessential booty-bass heaven complete with delectable UK hip-hop rhymage, while "You Can Be My Night" shoots us up to planet D&B on a floaty carpet of rave heritage. A solid calling card to every party in town, it's time to get bouncing...
13 May 13
Review: A large serving of aggression with plates of euphoria and filth on the side, sir? Coming right up... The mysterious AWE has cooked up a five track menu that reveals, as EP title suggests, his most free-spirited fusions of funk and fire. From rifle-like trap grooves ("Rust Lung") to concentrated star-gazing halfstep euphoria ("YYY") via utter bass chaos ("Jurassic"), every meal is as tasty as the last.
17 May 13
Illbilly Hitec - "State Of Emergency" (feat Longfingah & Lady N - Rob Smith aka RSD dub remix) - (4:01) 76 BPM
Ken Boothe - "When I Fall In Love" (Dubblestandart Initialized - Oliver Frost remix) - (3:35) 89 BPM
Review: The always onpoint Echo Beach serve up a long overdue second edition of their Reggae Germany Downtown compilation. Some eighteen tracks deep, Echo Beach give a true representation of the Dub scene in Germany, pairing veteran artists like Felix Wolter (Dubvisionist, TVS), Seeed, and the Senior Allstars with rising talents such as Aldubb, Brain Theft, aDUBta, Symbiz sound and Chazzy Wezar (the son of Matthias Arfmann). Reggae Germany Downtown takes dub as it's starting point and veers in various musical directions so expect sub heavy dubstep (the Giotto remix of "Let There Be Dub" from Aldubb" is a highlight) downbeat skank, rude electronics and dancehall torch songs. Germany is Dubland"!
13 May 13
Played by: Cosby (Car Crash Set)
Review: Entering what seems like a new phase for Pinch's bastion of forward-thinking dubstep, Tectonic Plates reaches its fourth edition and brings in a raft of fresh producers and new angles on just what the genre might mean in these fractured times. Even the classic standard bearers such as Jakes are bringing curious 4/4 momentum in amidst the sparse, dread filled pressure, while Guido pivots off of the plush musicality of his album to create an utterly broken symphony on "State Of Joy". There are a lot of different ideas floating around the whole compilation, and yet everything holds together with the deep-rooted soundsystem mentality that has always defined Tectonic as a shining example of what dubstep has always meant.
06 May 13
Review: One important thing to note here Flowdan is on mic duties. With such a distinctive tone and menacing lyrical style, his flow suits Kaiju's liquid, slime-like sonics so well, they were made for each other; it's joined by the more spacious, eerie soundscapes of "Snagglepuss". Cute title, dark groove. Kaiju are on fine form right now.
13 May 13
Played by: Alert
Review: Some say the Devil's hands are manicured and sport the finest gemstones. Some say the Devil's hands have love/hate tattooed on them. Others - like us - say the "Devils Hands" are the epitome of beautifully deep, dark dubstep. "Devil's Hands" is a slurring, slab of haunted dub-soul while "I Belong" shows the trio at their softest, most emotional state with sexy subs and a purring vocal. Tempa nail it again? Ain't that the Truth!
13 May 13
Review: Doctor P and Flux Pavilion hand over the selection duties to familiar label faces Funtcase and Cookie Monsta for the second Circus set. A 25-strong banger compendium balanced between classics and exclusives, it oozes the perfect blend of bare-faced bass attitude and tongue-in-cheek humour. From Roksonix string-soaked jig jamboree "Music In Me" to Brown & Gammon's emotional audio rainbow "Dark Matter", the Circus sound is represented at its boldest, most characterful and, above all, fun. Not a dull moment in sight - check this and remember why we all got into dubstep in the first place.
08 Apr 13
Played by: Juno Recommends Dubstep, Blind Prophet (South Fork Sound), Alert, Highgrademuzik Aka Don D Selectah
Review: Chameleonic Bristolian Kahn continues his peerless run of releases with a killer self-titled release for the Blackbox label that's filed alongside his Deep Medi and Hotline transmissions in our affections. The immediate standout track is undoubtedly "Badman City" which features the incomparable vocals of Flowdan, the Bug collaborator who was sampled on Kahn & Neek's superb "Percy". Whilst Flowdan's delivery on that Bandulu cut was lifted roughly from his barrelling live MCing, here he's in notably more menacing form. Rider Shafique and fellow Young Echo acolyte Jabu also provide vocals with the latter's delivery on "Snake Eyes" sounding somewhat akin to Tricky aping Mike Skinner. A bold release from one of the UK's most impressive talents.
08 Oct 12
Played by: El Carnicero
13 May 13
Review: Making for a matching with hard-to-imagine results, Mala gets the remix treatment from James Blake in his Harmonimix guise and issues it forth on his own Deep Medi imprint. It's a bold treatment from Blake, who teases the track to life on a twee arrangement of music box chimes and tones, while a central vocal coos out the dominant melody. There's a mid-section with the only discernible slither of beat which sounds like familiar Blake territory, not least through the bluesy keys vibe that it carries. However, it's the monolithic brass-aping clarion call which comes steaming in to steal the show, trumping out its orders in a suitably epic fashion which is nothing if not rousing.
06 May 13
Played by: Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy)
Review: When 123MRK's Noname EP dropped in 2011 creating waves all around the dubstep and bass music scene. Moulding the sound of his generation into a style all his own, the Frenchman suddenly found himself held aloft as an innovator as well as simply a producer of sounds. This remixed release of his seminal EP was a lofty undertaking and the finished item features remixes from some of the future dubstep scene's brightest young stars alongside long-time innovators. From Liar's metalic, lo-fi flavours to Troy Gunner's understated clicks and swirls; ViLLAGE's heart-pounding house remodelling to Heblank's old-school twist, even the likes of Pixelord and ReSketch play their garage-influenced hands to create an all-new modern-day canvas of what exactly bass music is right at this moment. It can never be truly defined, but this is a pretty good encyclopedia.
09 May 13
06 May 13
Review: Entitled simply Grime 2.0, this mammoth release sees grime originators sit next to a new breed of artists, all compiled by Big Dada label boss Will Ashon and journalist Joe Muggs. Documenting grime's continued development over the past ten years, its track selections also demonstrate that it's still a vibrant and flourishing genre. Some 35 tracks deep, the compilation sees Ashon and Muggs securing exclusive, previously unheard material, with notable grime figureheads such as Youngstar, Wiley and MRK1 contributing alongside current stars in Royal T and Preditah as well as an international cast of emergent new talent, with Local Action artist and Grimetapes documenter Slackk featuring too. Essential!
07 May 13
Review: North Welsh producer Feonix is pushing dubstep to its very extremes with this wonderfully dynamic ode to archaic bone-bashing riddims. Clicking and whistling through myriad found sounds, this is truly unique (a term that really can't be used very often in such an over crowded scene). "Night Creatures" is equally as immersive with breathy pads, heartbeat kicks and spacious clicks that build into an abyss-level sub drop and funky - if a little warped - two-step. One (Jurassic) step beyond...
22 Apr 13
Review: No other MC has made the transition from performer to producer as well as SP:MC. Hinting promise since his early forays with Breakage almost eight years ago, he's shown the utmost versatility and creativity. Back to the future and his skills are still more than evident. Ranging from icy, sheet metal beats ("Declassified") to skippy, steppy minimalism ("Kenshin"), this is one of SP's broadest, most accomplished EPs to date.
15 Mar 13
Review: With the ripples emanating from their bass music concoctions spreading ever wider, dynamic trio Dark Sky make the move to Tectonic to nudge that very label's remit into new territory. With their previous form on 50 Weapons and Black Acre amongst others, "Confunktion" sounds like a logical next step in limber but deadly accurate electro stylings. They don't lean on obvious tropes of the genre, bringing a more modern bass music slant to the synths and fully employing studio skills to make for an addictive, head-snapping beast of a track. "Double U" heads into a freakier domain defined by globulous synth drops and a tribal groove as fruity as it is funky.
15 May 13
Review: Russian producer Ishome has been bubbling away for years, checking in on myriad genres from dub to prog to techno. Here we find her in full dub mode, serving up some of her most sensual sonics to date. Flicking with finesse from cut n' paste starlight delight ("Adam") to swampier, more pensive pieces ("Sad Family") via ambient space baroque ("It Exists"), she shows maturity and rich depths throughout the full album. This should appeal to everyone from Trentemoller fans to Kokeshi lovers.