Numbers have announced the long-awaited return of Deadboy, with a new EP from the producer set for release next month.
Numbers have teamed up with the Dedbeat festival organisers for a new festival called Pleasure Principle.
“Colour, blood, sweat and tears”: Juno Plus Podcast 44 is a raucous affair from Kodiak.
The Numbers operation switches up direction with their next release which sees them reissue some rare late 90s UK techno from Unspecified Enemies.
The Glasgow based Numbers imprint have announced details of their next release, a vinyl only EP from Italian techno don Lory D.
It’s surprising to think that Numbers is only a two-year-old label, given the clout they carry in the UK scene. Granted the component labels that gave rise to the collective have a few more years behind them, but in some ways it’s hard to recall the days before major league dances were daubed in the dazzling colours of hyper-modern output from Deadboy, Mr Mageeka or Mosca.
Judging the best record labels in any given year is not an easy task. The necessary combination of established labels reaching their peak and fresh imprints flourishing in their infancy is not an easy one to reach; inevitable comprises in the age old quantity vs quality debate are liable to be discussed ad nauseum. This year’s list came together slowly but surely, and we believe it provides a neat snapshot of all that is good about electronic music right now.
The aforementioned upstarts are visible in force (Hivern, Long Island Electrical Systems) as are their more established counterparts (Clone, Planet Mu, Honest Jon’s). Their combined reach is truly global, with our selected labels based in cities as diverse as Barcelona, New York, London, Glasgow, L.A. and Bristol – their respective rosters have an even broader reach and they collectively touch on too many genres to mention.
Anyone with a finger on or someone near the pulse of electronic music right now won’t need us to tell you the importance of record labels these days. They serve as what Andrew Weatherall describes as a “cultural filter”; the best labels wade through oceans of sameness to illuminate the interesting corners of music, earning our trust and admiration in the process. There are, of course, many, many more labels worthy of end-of-year coverage, but here is the Juno Plus selection of the labels that impressed us most in 2011.
Jaded journalists, musicians and scene hipsters alike might make the mistake of reducing this release to the tired cliché of “not re-inventing the wheel”. While it may be true that both “Done Me Wrong” and B-Side “Bax” are modern re-imaginings of the pirate radio based 90s UK Garage/2-Step scene, they feel incredibly fresh and vital.
Mosca had the first release in Square One on arguably one of the most daring of dubstep/bass music related labels, Night Slugs. This release is less innovative, but more dancefloor ready. Like most people I first heard “Bax” on a Rinse FM ripped YouTube video, and I ended up dancing and fist-pumping around my desk. A youthful, jittery skipping beat is used as a vehicle for a wickedly bouncy organ and an oft repeated main melody plus the pre-requisite chopped vocals. At one minute the bass (same melody) sits right on your head like a fat man trying to subdue you. This song is fucking heavy.
“Done Me Wrong”, with its built in rewind, chopped R&B vocals, Jamaican upstroke and chimes works as the poppier of the two. No less strong than “Bax”, it evokes kicking around London on a cloudy but warm day (even ending the song with the night time crickets chirping). Reduced, repetitive, mindful of the past, but decidedly current, this EP proves Mosca’s mettle. No sophomore slump (yes this is only his second release of original material), Done Me Wrong is a big win for both him and Numbers.
Having impressed us with their breakthrough track, the 2008 vocal hit “Do You Mind” and “Bellion/Dragon Pop” on Kode 9′s Hyperdub last year via a super cool remix of Hot Chip, pre-eminent London based UK funky duo Ill Blu step up with this release on Glaswegian label Numbers. The pair have well earned their place alongside the likes of Cooly G, Scratcha DVA, Lil Silva, Roska et al, blending hip-shaking rhythms with cool, chopped up vocals and silky smooth SFX, and here they build on their success with a three track EP taking in all these flavours along the way.
Kicking off with the much talked about eponymous track of the EP, “Meltdown” acts as the perfect entrée; the taught pitter patter of drums introduces the piece, with a reverberating vocal sample and a similar synth bassline sound to Redlight’s tune “Stupid”. It makes for a compelling listen, with plenty of dancefloor driven panache and synth flourishes colouring it along the way. “Overdose”, up next, is more comparable to the aforementioned “Bellion” than any of the rest, building from a sparse intro with echoing cooing and tripping, crispy beats, into a more bleepy, high pitched main tune, masterfully counteracted by throbbing low end b-line action and jungle style chirrups. “Chelt” brings the EP to a close, with a more tech-ed up approach, accelerating into the drop with a clamour of jingling SFX, rumbling atmospherics.
A. Huge. Single. Out on Numbers – the sweet three-way imprint formed by Dress 2 Sweat, Stuff and Wireblock – this two-track release might just be one of the most hotly-anticipated singles in the relatively brief existence of UK funky. Known for mixes of The xx, Boyz Noize, Baobinga and (ahem) Ke$ha, along with stand-out tunes of his own like “Anaconda” and “I Can’t Stop This Feeling”, Untold’s subtle approach to bass music sees him mentioned in the same breath as Burial, Pangaea and Mount Kimbie. Roska has become something of an ambassador for UK funky, tirelessly dropping beats, remixes and originals on his own Kicks and Snares label and many others. Together, they craft a brilliant median point between house, dubstep, funky and grime that frankly bangs very hard indeed.
“Myth” develops from a severely distressed and descending bass loop into a warped and wheezy banger, complete with a lead sound playing Eastern scales and some ethnic percussion hits that really set the tune alight. The drums are pitch perfect, such is Roska’s incredible gift, while the development of the tune keeps it spell-binding despite being locked into almost the same groove throughout. On a slightly more Detroit tip, “Long Range” builds with some long drawn-out string notes over a highly funky conga beat, which drops into some lethal Untold subs and organ stabs – again all synched to the groove perfectly, with absolutely no extraneous sounds used whatsoever. It’s hazy, slinky and very very addictive stuff – just what you’d expect from such a collaboration from to dons at the top of their game.
There’s a depth and mastery of technique to the eight tracks on Redinho’s long awaited EP on Numbers which makes it barely believable that it’s the UK producer’s debut release. The introductory crisp finger snaps and sub bass flutters on “Boy Racer” contrasts nicely with the arpeggiated streaks of 8 bit light that slip between the gaps of the speaker-punishing harsh step groove of “Lightning Strikes”. Redinho adopts a pan Asian bump on the title track “Bare Blips” with Chinese dulcimer notes bouncing with melodic intent off the rolling beat. Amidst this basement business, Redinho has the cojones to drop “Pitter Patter” three minutes of blissful, mellifluous organic electronica which astounds with every listen. On the flip the peak time grime nastiness of “Banger” sits next to the schizoid 23rd Century techno triple step hybrid of “Nuff Prang” and the low end dancehall horrorcore of “Mo Brap”. It’s not hard to see why everyone from HudMo to Anthony Shake Shakir is supporting this release. Tony Poland