An expansive and highly influential musical anthology of UK bass music from Bristol based studio and production company, Multiverse Music, as they explore the sonic spectrum between 2004-9 and bring us this comprehensive compilation on the Tectonic imprint. Steeped in dubstep’s past, present and future, Multiverse has given rise to some of the scene’s biggest names (think Bristol bods Joker, Pinch, Guido, Gemmy, Ginz et al) as well as acting as the parent company to a number of key labels in the dubstep-cum-grime-cum-experimental techno scene, including Kapsize, Tectonic, Ear Wax, Caravan and Sub Text.
The compilation kicks off with bold and sagacious intent, flitting from Vex’d’s 2004 classic, the dark, gritty, industrial-sounding “Lion”, and referencing the sounds of Bristol’s early and flourishing dubstep scene, with tracks from way back in 2005 – take Skream & Loefah’s “28 Grams” and Pinch & P Dutty’s debut release on Tectonic “War Dub”, for example. SNO’s siren-touting “Disturbance” provides some respite, with gorgeously rounded beats and jungle flavours, before Skream’s 2006 synth-led, rolling release, “Bahl Fwd” tunes in to a more tripped out, contemplative vibe. Joker gets a good look in with his early grime-y, instrumental piece, “Stuck In The System” (2007), his collab with Ginz, the gloriously aubergine soaked sounds of ubiquitous 2009 Kapsize anthem, “Purple City” and finally “Psychedelic Runway”, which crops up towards the end.
Keeping things varied, The Body Snatchers add in the Benga-style laddish humour with “Big Ass, Mini Skirt”, before a sharp change as an upbeat vocal-led cut from ’09, Pinch’s “Get Up” featuring Yolanda gets the remix treatment from RSD. Then we have the bounce of Baobinga & ID’s “Tongue Riddim”, via Vex’d’s pared down “Pop Pop”, Loefah’s “System” and October’s tropical techno/dubstep crossover “Three Drops” – a stunning track. The flavours keep a-changing, as we approach the end of the album, finishing up with the murmuring, subterranean growling of Emptyset’s “Demiean”. Once again showing the immense versatility of the preconceived, oft wrongly pigeon holed ‘dubstep’ genre, the Multiverse 2004-2009 compilation is one to hold and to cherish for years to come.
Review: Belinda Rowse
A review of Joker must, it would seem by the unwritten rules of music journalism, make mention of “purple wow” – the somewhat tongue-in-cheek groundbreaking sound he virtually single handedly created, and continues to propagate, alongside fellow Bristol 140bpm brethren, Guido and Gemmy (both hotly tipped for 2010, by the way).
This one-sided 12”, with an etching on the flip, and a VIP mix available on digital download, marks the fifth release on Joker’s very own Kapsize label. In terms of points of reference, we can’t ignore such seminal moments from his past as “Digidesign” (undisputed bass anthem of 2009 alongside Joy Orbison’s “Hyph Mngo”) and his collaborative work with Ginz, “Purple City”.
Leading on in this vein, “Tron” is another masterpiece to hang in Joker’s already ornately decorated wall of musical fame. Scintillating synth manipulation, ticking beats, screeching, glitched up melodic interplay and womping, heaving basslines predominate here. With either foot planted firmly in grime and dubstep, at its core “Tron” is a flagship tune for that iconic, synaesthetic manifestation of the elusive ‘Bristol Sound’ of the present day. As we said all along, you can always count on Joker to add some colour to the soundwaves.
Review: Belinda Rowse
Just one of several prominent features on Simian Mobile Disco’s early 2009 full-length, Temporary Pleasure, was Gossip’s lead-singer Beth Ditto on “Cruel Intentions.”
There her roaring vocals play the foreground, reborn a diva in her genre debut. Now released as a single, the robust and soulful original gets proper reintroduction from several noteworthy producers.
Heartbreak both slows-down and reduces for each of his two remixes. Greg Wilson adds his own percussive flair, and Maurice Fulton sticks to complementary disco overtones.
But for the icing on the cake, Bristol prodigy Joker reinvents, adding his own dirty dubstep signature to the recipe, spicing up the single quite uniquely.
Review: Nick Andrews