After years of impressive collaborations Bristolian Appleblim will release his first solo output.
Drum & bass turned techno producer Marcus Intalex will be next to join Appleblim’s Apple Pips stable with the release of a single under his Trevino alias.
Another string to add to Bristol’s thriving bass music bow, Orphan101 has been stirring a melting pot of sound, bridging house, techno and dubstep since he started producing around 2005. Nothing new there, you may think. But the man otherwise known as Rob Davies has really captured the attention of fellow Bristol producers Appleblim, Headhunter et al, releasing on Saigon Recordings and his own label DECA Rhythm last year and now ‘blim’s Apple Pips imprint. Despite a limited number of releases – of which this is only his third, we may add – it’s fair to say that Davies brings something altogether rather fresh to the table, specialising in a dubbed out blend of dubstep and techno, which is really quite something to behold.
It’s impossible to mention Orphan101’s name without mentioning his incredible “Tribtek Part 1 & 2″ – his debut release, originally fifteen minutes long, which he subsequently split into two halves on either side of the record, but which, apparently, he still plays as a whole. His next release was a collab with the aforementioned Headhunter – “V.7.01″ and it is this short, but oh so sweet, back catalogue which has got the blogosphere talking, the naturally ahead of the curve Sonic Router pinned him down for an interview way back last summer and RA are amongst those who have picked up on this two tracker, the fourteenth release on Appleblim’s label.
“Propa” kicks things off with a flurry of clicks, alarm style bleeps and midnight chimes like the cinematic soundtrack to a psychological thriller. This is soon swept away by a bone-crushingly heavy, deep DMZ style bassline, which quivers away squid bass style with light, ticking percussion sketched over the top. Juddering chords create a sense of unease, like a light flickering in the gloom or a moth’s wings pattering against a bulb. Much like a Mike Leigh film, it’s all rather situational and not a lot happens or progresses as such, but it’s simultaneously got the uncomfortable, cryptic element of a David Lynch narrative.
A thought-provoking piece, no question, which is duly complimented by “Disemble” – its counterpart on the flip. Here, Orphan101 tunes into his techno sensibility much more palpably and the rippling undercurrent is rather like the patterns and textures of Rockwell’s remarkable “Reverse Engineering”. Fractured SFX, bubbling bass and bewildering sonics build gradually on top of one other and seem to ebb and flow like organic structures before the track finishes abruptly but masterfully with an artistic musical flourish. A fascinating 12” from Orphan101 which we urge you to test out.
Adam Jackson, known in dubstep circles as Kidkut, makes his long-awaited debut on Appleblim’s acclaimed Apple Pips imprint. The owner of Bristol-based label Immerse Recordings (which released early Benga as well as some more experimental stuff from TRG and Sigha) and erstwhile companion of the West Country dubstep massive, Kidkut has come up with a couple of excellent tracks, which would not be amiss in an aficionado’s record collection alongside the likes of Appleblim, Peverelist, Joe, and perhaps even Guido.
Now before we begin, yes, “ILove04” sounds like it could be the kind of thing you get emblazoned on a t-shirt, or an article you might read in Mixmag, but no, it goes much deeper than that. A tourist from dubstep’s past would no doubt go all misty eyed at the memory of 2004, but Kidkut ironically harks back to a previous time with sampled snippets, a brisk clip-clop rhythm and jolting chiming instrumental stabs. Gently shuffling, with soaring synthetics in the background, the occasional womp of sub bass is a reminder that this is no byproduct of the Joy Orbison generation, but a bonafide riddim from someone who’s been big in the game since its inception in the early noughties. Flipping over for “Lilt”, Kidkut tunes into a more melodic vibe, with a skipping breakbeat tempo, thudding breaks and an exotic medley of FX. Chirrups, bleeps, tribal patterns, quirky blimps and whinnying whistles punctuate the soundscape, making for a deliciously fragrant cut all round. Lovely.
Having a standard, unmemorable production moniker is one thing. Naming, or not naming, the A-side of your release “Untitled”, is another. Yet this is how this elusive North London producer rolls, and, as we all know from the likes of Burial and Banksy, mystery invites interest and intrigue. Joe emerged last year with the incredible sounds of “Grimelight/Rut” on the famed Hessle Audio label, and now is ready to bring us his second 12” on Appleblim’s Apple Pips imprint.
Crackling into the audible range with delicately tapping breaks, bongo-thumping beats and soothing sonorous atmospherics, “Untitled” is a touching and melodic exploration into an inner musical consciousness. It’s percussive and tribal, with distinct inklings of fellow Hesslers Ramadanman and Pangaea in the rumbling bass and stripped back grooves of the piece. Deeply meditative at its core, “Untitled” is music to move your soul, yet it’s not completely removed from the dancefloor – an impressive achievement in itself to attain the fine balance.
“Digest”, on the flipside, immediately snaps into action, with sizzling synths, woodblock beats and abrasive chords capturing the attention and imagination from the off. Joe artistically shapes a jagged structure, incorporating raw, rugged patterns with off kilter rhythms and a detached but pacing energy. A glowing stream of bass flows beneath the main tune, creating a sense of fluidity amongst the ravaged soundscape above. Strangely, subtly captivating, it’s another finely crafted piece from a highly skilled producer. One thing’s for sure…he’s not your average Joe.
Review: Belinda Rowse