Genuflection: to stoop down on at least one knee as a mark of the deepest respect. Interesting title, one can only assume this is B1t's personal bow to the great gods of the sub frequency. And he's done a good job; the depth of space at play here is mesmerising, often relating closer to classical dub techniques than dubstep. Melodic, emotional and weaved tightly with atmospheric textures; cuts like the embittered "Omega" and the bowel-shuddering D&B creeper "Finite" resonate with such mournful bottom end presence, you don't know whether to stop in your tracks and pray or dance your botty off. Throw in beautiful ambient melodies like "Watermelon Achroite" and you've got a really interesting album that works in myriad contexts.
Alias's Cyntel gets ridiculously deep and spacious on this Gradient debut. Stretching the concept of time and sonic space like few of his contemporaries would dare: moments such as a tripped out, super-sludge clicks and groans of "Song Of The Sandman" are truly unique and take modern day bass into the darkest, most abstract realms. For vibes a little more dancefloor-minded head for the soft swing and soothing jazz-pads of "Hypothermia" or the warped techno stabs and pitch bent washes off "Motiv8". Forward-thinking from start to finish, Cyntel has delivered something very special here.
Representing the creativity that's been rife in dubstep since the commercial bubble burst, Elefant Doc has cooked up a beautiful sound that tethers aspects of jazz and soul with stunning bass creativity. "Walkin'" confidently pumps with a cool organ riff and majestic melodic flurries, "Tonality" gets smokier with an infectious off-beat darkness and jazz-primed piano shots, "Street Sheet" is the most arresting of the set thanks to its vast space and emotional chord structure while "Fool Me" is the jazziest of the bunch thanks to its minor chords and infrequent trumpet blasts. Each one sits right at the forefront of a genre that's enjoying its first proper rebirth. Essential listening.
Foreign Feelings (feat Samantha Nova - original mix) - (3:14)
Lamplie (original mix) - (3:04) 147 BPM
Lost Nimb (feat Samantha Nova - original mix) - (3:06)
At Me (original mix) - (3:47)
Foreign Feelings (instrumental mix) - (3:12)
Lost Nimb (instrumental mix) - (3:14)
Portland future beat specialists Gradient present new artist Lamplie. With four originals and two instrumentals, he's repped himself well. We kick off with trembling delicacies of "Foreign Feelings". Woozy and wheezing like an early Portishead cut, Samantha Nova's vocals fall like feathers on your ears. Truly stunning. "Lamplie" takes us deeper into the musical mists with a light-skanked triphoppy flavour while "Lost Nimb" clicks and trips with a muffled, lolloping two-step and wonderfully enveloping breathy vocal textures. "At Me" completes the set with wonky beats and heavily processed horns and haunted organs. Icy, fractured and full of intricate details, each one of these cuts is special.
Marking his debut release for the Gradient Audio label, Time Difference marks out M.A.K.Z. as a producer with a singular take on dubstep that maintains a classic approach but takes it out of the shadows at the same time. "Aura" displays this perfectly, with its combination of unwinding beats and meandering, elastic melodies and eastern string plucks, while "Time Difference" positively explodes with lightning on the drop of every kick and snare and "Vitreous" combines jittery percussion and heavy dub textures alongside its growling undercurrent. Jafu rounds things off with his remix of the title track, adding more in the way of subbass to increase the pressure. Highly recommended.
Gradient Audio's Universal Quantification series are always a treat; painting a broad picture of USA's bass landscape they're loaded with the most exciting international artists emerging right now. Panda and Zoobi are fine examples. With previous on equally hot imprints such as Odyssey and Phantom Hertz respectively, they've already proved their low-end might. "Metaphysical" is an audio bear hug with pads so heavy they'll squeeze you from the speakers, while "MXE" is cut from a darker cloth. With a bassline that plays off itself with trippy reverberated results, it's guaranteed to bend some minds on your floor.