Nottingham's finest returns with four more heartfelt heavers. "Heartbeat" lollops and sways on a cool lazy beat, jazzy key flourishes and glistening guitar twangs, while "Mal" takes us deeper into the darker dance with eerie pad wails and off-beat bass croaks. "Breather" is the lullaby of the set thanks to its pristine arpeggio and overall coating of dreamy haziness, and "Raise" completes the set with a nagging, heads-down groove that nods with aspects of techno but sways with subverted garage motifs. For good measure Mindstep have also recruited Trashbat on the remix flex who takes "Mal" into the trippier pastures of deep space by way of jazzy off-beat melodies. Heart-stopping stuff.
From the label who gave us My Nu Leng and Adam Prescott comes another super talented artist - Belgian Artroniks. Fresh from big support from the likes of Compa and J:Kenzo, he makes his Mindstep debut with five outrageously deep slices of modern day dub. From the bulbous bass bubbles of "Afterlife" to the early Orbital flavours of "Inverse" via the darker, more dungeonesque vibes of "Dissonance", this shudders and shakes with serious low-end luxury. There's nothing dissonant about this whatsoever!
Bunzero teams up with four different artists across the Darabuka EP so be prepared for a bit of an aural surprise in each track. First up it's a collab with Katya Gabeli; mournful, trembling strings introduce the cut, which is characterized by thudding, oppressed drum kicks and quirky SFX. This contrasts nicely with the Mr Jo collaboration "Chapati", an altogether more experimental piece with murmuring atmospherics and Eastern sitars that might have influenced the track title. Bunzero teams up with Kamine for the rolling, chiming title track, before he goes solo for a deep, meditative slice of soulfulness with clicks and bleeps a-plenty in "Liana". Last but not least "Metaphysical" brings the EP to a close.
K-Lone - "Rapid Eye Movement (REM)" - (4:07) 140 BPM
Karma - "Breaking Through" - (5:04) 140 BPM
Tallan - "Tahi" - (5:35) 140 BPM
Djinn - "Something You Know" - (4:46) 143 BPM
Seahorse - "To Be One" - (6:51) 141 BPM
Dubtro - "Dark Humans" - (6:03) 140 BPM
Six & Syte - "Wretch" - (6:33) 140 BPM
Soul Captive - "Survival" - (5:15) 144 BPM
Trashbat - "Your Mind" - (6:31)
DaveHoax - "Moths" - (6:02) 140 BPM
Various - "MindStep Music Presents The Compilation 2012" (continuous DJ mix by Crises) - (31:00) 140 BPM
Mindstep's movements are making deep tremors right now. Their innate understanding of deep dub, its roots and its foundations have just scored them a coalition with Leeds dub heroes SubDub (run by soundsystem killers Iration Steppas no less). Their second annual label album celebrates the this success with a far-reaching brew of spatially stretched, abyss flavoured audio. From the woozy synth wails of Djinn's "Something You Know" to the delicate piano strokes on Tallan's "Tahi" to the more club-focussed bassline drawl of Six & Syte's "Wretch", this represents the label's intricacies and depth with style and promise.
The last time we heard from Belgium's premier bass peddler Digid, he was getting all Biblical on us. This time round though, he's sticking to a template of deep reggae delivering a seven-track mini album of spaced out dubs. His production skills are fearsome with tracks like the synthy "Silky & Smooth" displaying a gleamingly pristine finish, "Righteous Soldier" incorporating a faint ska influence and the title track having a forward-looking anthemic quality.
Marietta-based Drew Anthony stirs a unique brew. Steeped in trip-hop heritage, original dub and contemporary jazz just as much as it is dubstep, these cuts smoulder with real timelessness and groove weight. From the sleepy trumpets on "A Little Class" to the steel-foundry reverberations on "Side Effects" via the badman loopiness of the super-murked, slow-amen massage "Acid Vibes" and the hazy organ and horn flurries on "Soho Jam", this transcends standard stuffy genres. Ideal for deep floors and heavy headphone sessions, Drew's theory is a winning one.
Trashbat continues to plough his unique furrow into the ever-developing world of contemporary dub with this majestic five track adventure. "Dreaming Of Fiji" is smothered in jazzy chords and bold splashy halfstep beats, it's like an old Alex Reece record on a slo-mo tempo flex. Further on we get wild to the broken beat funk of "The Principles Of Evil Made Fresh" and the EP title track pummels with a soft jazz wheeze and a hard halfstep groove that's sprung neatly with an insistent, hypnotic wooden block. "Shine" is the jazziest of the set with its off-beat minor keys, dubbed out vocal shots and dreamy piano licks while "Ardent" brings us to a fittingly emotional climax with spell-binding atmospheres, a well-known soul-stirring vocal and major piano drama. Genuinely stunning.
Celebrating three years of deep consummate beatsmithery, MindStep curate the inaugural MusicForYourMindStep compendium. Fifteen exclusives, baked by the label's family and close affiliates, each track surges at the very forefront of sub science, pushing the label's remit further and further into the future. Highlights include the sodden slo-mo tribalism of Feonix's "Cafeweiss", the overwhelming sense of atmospheric oppression on 11th Hour's "Ishwara" and the muffled jazz and scratchy dub drums of Trashbat's "Arrowhead". And that's only a fifth of the stark sonic soliloquies MindStep have commissioned and compiled. Dig deep and discover your own highlights.