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20 May 13
Review: If you judge a producer by their ability to successfully apply a winning formula to a variety of styles, Alix Perez is a master. While drum and bass remains his forte, there's enough on Chroma Chords, his second album, to suggest that he's growing as a producer. This EP discards with the synth-laden head nodders featured on the full album, though the four tracks here do still demonstrate the versatile nature of Chroma Chords. Thus the grimy hip hop of the Metropolis featuring "Blue Print" shares space with the soulful stepping action of "Playing Games" whilst the the excellent vintage Timbaaland does halfstep of "Shadows" (featuring breakout Eglo talent Strange U") joins up with the vicious "Burnout".
20 May 13
Review: Originally released spring 2012, Foamo's monstrously heavy bass chugger "Sherlock" gets the treatment from a variety of talented players. Kry Wolf drop the tempo slightly for a resonant UKG strut, Taiki & Nulight continue the garage vibe with a more uptempo, menacing bass motif, Millions Like Us add some cinematic breakbeats and shivering synth washes to the mix, My Nu Leng take a leaf out of Bassbin Twin's booty-bass book while LKid calms us down with a very neat, early 90s house version. A great spread and not a duff rub in sight.
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
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").
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.
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...
20 May 13
Review: If you're looking for a lesson in how to totally murder it with a single vocal loop then look no further than "Transmission". Tripped out, tight and mind-boggling, it builds up with a guttural, industrial riff to chaotic effect. "LV-223" is more your techno flavoured slice of steppery. Dungeon depths and slimy subs; this is for the most tribal of tear-ups, while "Antidote" flips back to the genre's halfstep roots. Spacious and engaging with a series of well textured bass leads, it rolls and develops with production panache; "Kraken" ends with fitting gusto. If you're looking for a lesson in how to totally murder it with a dramatic orchestral sample then look no further.
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.
20 May 13
20 May 13
14 Jan 13
The Flashback Project - "Release Me Now" (feat MC Twilight - D Twista Riot Act remix) - (6:06) 128 BPM
29 Mar 13
Played by: Pier
08 Apr 13
Played by: Nice Up! Soundsystem, Johnnypluse(Bulabeats Records), Dub Gabriel, Juno Recommends Drum & Bass, Juno Recommends Dancehall/Ragga, Juno Recommends Dub, The Funk Hunters, Euphonique, Good News Boppers, Highgrademuzik Aka Don D Selectah, Mo' Matic
Review: Wrongtom Meets Deemas J's album In East London was met with some serious levels of hype when it arrived on the reggae scene last September. "The strongest modern reggae set to emerge from the UK for many years" said The Wire. High praise indeed. So "Superteng", the second single to be released from the roots-inspired LP, is a toned-down affair, groove-driven and minimal, letting the lyrics do the talking. Featuring a cool and collected remix by Scoop & Alter Ego & Rico and the bonus addition of jungle mashup "Jump + Move + Rock" remixed by the one and only Benny Page, you can't mistake the top quality of this release. If you're a fan, buy the LP too, it's a modern reggae masterpiece.
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
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.
06 May 13
Played by: Kial
Review: Californian sound scientist Kial continues his experiments in the fields of ambience and dub with this mesmerisingly deep package. The title track rumbles and wafts with such far-away focus, it sounds like an old Orb B-side beefed with contemporary production values. "Konstruct 9" is much more dancefloor-focussed with its swampy halfstep and metallic layers of razor-sharp bass. "Laido" follows with a stumbling, trippy kickdrum and startling flashes of light that flicker of the menacing groove.
09 May 13
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.
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
Played by: Highgrademuzik Aka Don D Selectah
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.
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.
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.
21 May 13
Review: Hailing from Belgium, this guy has gone from making harsh and accelerated chipmunk-voiced beats (often of the juke/footwork variety) to deeper stuff. Here the slower, throbbing "Make That Booty Clap" is remixed by a number of names: The Martin Brothers go electro-meets-Chicago, while Zombie Disco Squad push the jackin' levels into the red, Plastician goes slow and evil sounding and Mark Starr goes for a stripped down (pun intended) trap style workout.
12 Apr 13
Played by: Juno Recommends Dubstep
Review: Dropping that purple funk like only he knows how, Joker is back on Kapsize for another bout of pimped out steppers laden with synths and a strong whiff of boogie. Opening track "Zim Zimma" proudly rips out some hair metal guitar licks over dramatic piano stabs, and even chucks a jungle break into the mix towards the end of the tune. "Gully Side" is more devoutly aggressive in its demeanour, grinding on a mid-range buzz and a slimline beat of just a few key parts sharply honed for guaranteed floor-flattening. "Handz Up" has a cheeky dose of trance worked into the emotive chord progressions, while the beat even sneaks into 4/4 in places before switching back into a steppy stance. "Newham Generals" rounds off the EP with the most lairy of all the tracks, channelling all the strengths of the previous tracks into one bold and bashy beast of a track.
29 Mar 13
13 May 13
Played by: King
12 Apr 13
Review: After pairing up for the "Paranormal Activity" release back in 2011, the Tectonic main man and one of the most dynamic producers to come out of the UK funky scene team up for another round. "Shoulda Rolla" is an impeccable, unfussy dubstep groover with classic icy textures, snappy percussion and an anchoring bass wobble that was born to work the dance without any showboating tactics. Roska goes it alone on "Asbestos" with an equally moody slice of rhythmic function that cruises at 140 while the synths come in blasts of robotic weirdness. Like so many of the great Tectonic 12"s, you're presented with a pair of club-focused stompers that keep the dubstep dream alive.
10 Sep 12
Played by: Ennio Styles (Stylin Radio Show), Brisa, Juno Recommends Deep House, Winter, Matta, Blind Prophet (South Fork Sound), El Carnicero, Alert, Diphasic, Larssen
Review: Mala's album project comes to light with a healthy amount of expectation. The DMZ / Deep Medi Musik main man has always carried a reverence amongst the dubstep scene for his unfussy approach, staying true to the sound he helped forge in the nascent days of the genre while avoiding over-exposure or buckling to hype and trend where so many of his peers succumbed to change. As such this project sees the man well outside of his comfort zone as he tackles a specific album project whilst sticking his head more clearly overground to work with Gilles Peterson on an adventure in Cuba working with local musicians. This is most definitely Mala's music, and the spiritual, tribal nature of his productions to date only gets enhanced by the influx of Cuban folk sounds. This is no simple case of ripping samples and dropping them for token effect though; the percussive patterns and licks of piano, guitar, horns and voice are completely interwoven into the South London pressure as if they were always meant to be. It's testament to the pure approach Mala takes in the studio that he manages to balance these unlikely bedfellows to such fluid effect. Undoubtedly there will be naysayers who will argue that in doing an album of this nature Mala is diluting his purist vision for dubstep, but in truth the approach and end results he has managed to conjure up bring a revitalising, fresh angle to the genre, which is what it needs in abundance. There's maybe a lack of the "shock of the new" factor as Cubano music is not exactly a stranger to UK dance music forms, and Mala isn't exactly switching his own stance too drastically, but ultimately that doesn't matter. The whole album is direct and immensely satisfying to listen to, capturing the alluring spirit of South American folk tradition and empowering it with the transcendental nature of dubstep in its finest form.
20 May 13
Review: If you know anything about jungle and D&B, you'll know Boomah... Arguably one of the most distinctive vocals in the game, his harmonies are so warm and genuine they pretty much hug you as they fly out of the speakers. Here we find him at his most emphatic and eclectic, covering all bass bases in true style. Highlights include the sprightly summer roller "Spread A Little Love" the classic hardcore rave breaks "Forward Ever" and the gritty, metallic dubstep joint "Unstoppable", but to be honest this is best enjoyed as the full album it's written as: a shiny mirror reflecting the most exciting sounds of bass music's never-ending narrative.
20 May 13
Review: There are MCs who hype the dance and there are MCs who are poets in disguise. Beezy is most definitely the latter; spitting acidic anti-establishment wit with clarity and venom, he fits RDG's paranoid sub-shuffled perfectly. RDG's own tribal remix of "Skin Out" flips for a much more carnal, body-inspired groove. Cruising with layers of nagging hand drums, there's a shamanistic riddim to this that can't fail to lock your floor down. Knowledge is power!
15 Apr 13
Review: If you don't understand why Dubmatix has been named 'Canada's dread at the controls' by none other than Don Letts, just look at the list of vocalists on board this project... Eek A Mouse, Horace Andy, Tenor Fly, U-Roy and Cornell Campbell. Did someone just say 'legends'? Naturally, the beats back up the headline name-dropping. Stretching from the rugged dubsteppery of "Black Market War Dub" to the more classical, dub positivity of tracks like "Free Up" and "She's In Love", this is a comprehensive picture of dub's many shades AND a great calling card for Canada's 'dread at the controls'.
07 May 13
Review: No other label can rep dubstep like Tempa. Many would argue it was the first label to truly herald and nourish the sound. Here they explore their vaults and dust off some of the most genre-defining, idiosyncratic tracks that have helped shape the phenomenon we know today. From SPMC's paranoid murker from 2008 "Trust Nobody" to a whole series of Skream sessions such as "WTF", "Wibbler" and "Vacillate", the collection is a reminder of how influential Tempa has been, how talented their roster has always been and, most importantly, how slamming and stimulating dubstep can be when nourished and developed by the right label. Recognise.
20 May 13
Review: Brand new label Nauseous Vibez flings themselves into thick of things with a huge 18-track launch release. Highlighting at a family-like tightness amongst their talent, Syndicate unites dubsteppers from across the globe with a consistent, well-polished range of depth, body and groove. Highlights include the soul-stirring piano tickles on "Coded", the muscular menace of UZZI's "Blackout" and the skippy slo-jungle breakism of Artroniks' "Hidden". A fine way to launch a new label... Nauseous Beats peddle in some seriously sick audio (literally).
05 Mar 13
Played by: Johnnypluse(Bulabeats Records), Diplo, Juno Recommends Dubstep, Winter, Matta, Tulioxi, Highgrademuzik Aka Don D Selectah, Wednesday The Rat
Review: Mad Decent's unpredictable Jeffrees off-shoot is a one-stop-shop for all things electric - a matter of days ago they gave away a psychedelic folk EP from Jahan Lennon and now there's this outrageously eclectic dancefloor attack. The sixth volume in the series, you should know the score by now; from the juicy sub-satisfaction and trap-door riddim of Sibot's "Magnetic Gem" to the sexy leftside R&B of Liz's "Underdogs" via the more peaktime squeaks and tribal pounding of Lady Bee's "Sweet Like Chocolate", Jeffree's currency is the complete unknown. And long may they prosper!
08 Apr 13
Played by: Smutlee, DJ Cable, Juno Recommends Electro House, Winter, Cosby (Car Crash Set), Highgrademuzik Aka Don D Selectah
Review: 2013's trap attack continues unabated and the mysterious UZ is leading from the front. "Trap Shit V12" takes a series of warm, belly-punching 808 bleeps and bruises while processing the well-known "I Know You're Going To Dig This" vocal beyond recognition, while "Trap Shit V13" strips the vibe even further back into the ghetto thanks to some menacing counter melodies and throat-slicing snare rolls. Meanwhile in remix territory we're bombarded with a cavalcade of genres; Audionite takes us into peaktime techno territories, Justin Martin massages the perfect dosage of funk into the mix while Clicks & Whistles remind us where trap came from in the first place. No shit here; just raw, undiluted 808 science.
21 Dec 12
Review: Serial badman and international dubstep superstar Skream presents the seventh (yes, seventh) volume of Skreamizm, a much lauded and highly influential series that's been cited by many as one of those iconic milestones in the rise of Dubstep as we know it. Purists and newcomers alike will find something of appeal here, as the Croydon label done good flexes his address book muscle on the opening track "Copy Cat" where deftly placed beats sit perfectly with the polished, seductive and slightly husky vocals of US vocalist Kelis. Elsewhere, cuts such as "Vacillate" provide a stark contrast with the jarring synths and punishing snares in a heavy, pressurized soundscape. Watch out for "Scrooge's Revenge" with its heavy, wub-wub sound, as well as the deeply hypnotic "Junkyard Dispute" with its eerie wailing and buzzing basslines. Excellent from start to finish.
19 May 13
Review: Anyone can knock up a screaming wobbler, but to give it funk and enduring appeal is another thing all together. Suffice to say Nasha Experience member Squarewave has nailed that tricky task on "Home Alone". The seesaw bass cuts through with menace yet seeps like a filthy liquid. "Rising Sun" lollops with much more of a traditional digidub flavour. "Restricted Area" returns to the darker side of the dance. More confrontational than "Home Alone" but not without its cheeky sonic spirit, it's aggy without being unnecessarily icy. "The Heist" brings us to a dramatic, cinematic climax with a great orchestral sample and awesome pranged out sighs and shuffles.
20 May 13
25 Mar 13
Played by: Juno Recommends Dubstep
Review: If "Vie" means to 'vie' for our attention, Innamind newcomer Geode has definitely succeeded. A tight weave of Todd Edwards style chops presented in a darker, starker post-dubstep style, "Vie" allows for equal measure of zone-out and butt wiggles. "Tesla" takes this garage influence even further thanks to an incredible walking bassline and strange 8-bit cascades on the fills. "Aliased Fever" takes us on more of a tribal dubstep trip while "Buck One" sees Geode team up with Promise One for a much deeper, warbling bass number that teases and pleases with skippy breakbeats.
06 Mar 13