Reviewed this week
As a label, Crucast have gone from strength to strength, rapidly establishing themselves as one of the premiere platforms for bass music in the UK. This complication marks that out perfectly with an astonishing selection of over 30 original creations, featuring high profile appearances from the likes of Jaguar Skills, Brent Kilner, Pavv, TC4, Inkline, Deadbeat UK and a tonne more. For us the EP highlights the strength in the current UK bass scene, with favourites being Bushbaby & Hadean's long-awaited collaboration release 'Clean Up', the monstrous swinging synths of Tengu's 'Weapon' and of course the wonky wonderings of SaidWho's 'Voices', a truly original compositional idea, focussing on rawcus bass sounds and scattered drum selections.
As a movement, 1Forty has been seriously impressive since it's conception, consistently putting together impactful releases across both grime and bass. This four track compilation comes as their second in the bass criteria, featuring some serious stormers. We kick off with Sammy Virji's prized wobbler 'Punctuation' before dipping into the lethal growling reeses of Arridim's 'Pirate Radio'. Following this we roll into 'Your Booty', a skippy stuttered dancefloor mauler from Spectrum before rounding off the EP in style as Odd Nature steps forward for 'Battle', a real 4x4 speaker rattler.
It's safe to say that NYTA, aka New York Transit Authority is currently one of the UK's most innovative producers, traversing the genre brackets in and around techno, house and bass music, finding the perfect pockets in between each and every time. This brand new single entitled 'Bossy' sees him team up with the lethal vocal presence of Dread MC for a new school bassline tearout, encompassing vibrant drum rhythms and smoot bass soundscaping, waving around with serious dancefloor intent.
Ozwald touches down on Chow Down for the label's third EP to date, making this also the artist's this release since his debut last year. The vibe here is very much on a 'hybrid' tip, mashing up UK styles with a suave touch, never shy to push the boundaries of grime to their edges. The title track "Money Tree" is a wacky broken beat number with a funky, jazzed-out edge, but the sounds of "Juju" have a lot more in common with early era two-step. "Speaker Bugs" is a fast-paced, teched-out number that adds techno to the already buzzing mix, while "Grinding Tribe" goes on a mad, baseline-house kinda flex, sounding like garage, house and two-step all mixed up into one fiery cocktail. Banging!
It's been a hot minute since we heard from Phlegmatic Dogs, but they are back in major style as they return to the ever-impressive Night Bass imprint for an explosive two track EP project entitled 'No Cats'. We kick off with 'Cuatrocats' which brings energy through squelchy bass waves and perfectly processed 4x4 drum patterns in typical Phlegmatic fashion. On the flip we are introduced to 'Bounce', which takes a more techy experimental route, with subtle subs rolling lose amidst heavily attacking bass stabs and yet more precise drum design. A great return for the Dogs!
We were lucky enough to come across this UKG-patois combo whilst looking through the forthcoming shelf and what a release to find as Blasta joins forces with Steps for a true shellout. Going by the name 'Vibe', this one is a real party starter as highly energetic lyricism laces intense 4x4 beats and vibrant sub sounds, bringing a seriously punchy set of grooves from the off. On remix duty, up steps DJ Dappa for a funky overhaul, bringing lovely key and organ riffs into the picture alongside some smooth breakbeat backing.
Exciting UKG flavour approaches ok this one as Groove Skool get into the blend with Lee Hewitt for a very smooth new summer single. In classic garage fashion, 'Waiting' treats us to dizzying grooves coupled with unpredictable percussive patterns, dusted off with bouncy bass design and perfectly placed vocal slices. It's got the rhythm, it's got the melodies, it's got everything you would want from an original 2 stepper, complete with both a dub mix and a full instrumental mix for all your party needs!
As a scene, UK bassline has been excelling, coming on leaps and bounds in production quality and selling out arenas around the country. Here we take a brief peak into the future of the sound as Limita joins forces with Baadwrk for an explosive collaboration by the name of 'How U Doin'. From the off we are treated to clinically executed bass design and super sharp drum work coupled with captivating melodies. Also included on this release is a solo choppy run out from Limita entitled '4U', combining super colourful 4x4 drum arrangements with waving LFO's and pleasingly processed vocal stabs, resulting in another winner.
For their second release in as many months, Sonic Boom revisit Sam Bennett's impressive 'You Don't Believe In Love' original recording for a stacked remix double. First up, SPK arrives on the scene for his top draw garage rework, bringing jittery chord progressions and a stripped back nature to the original, allowing the impressive vocal range to shine through. On the flip, the strip back gets even more prominent as Cup & String step forward for a vibrant overhaul, choosing to slice the vocal for melodic purposes, and to great effect we may add. Great stuff!
Funky is well and truly back on the radar and it's due to the innovation evolving within the scene that it is undergoing such a notable revival. For this release we see France To UK leap aboard the DocOlv imprint for a tasty new single, built around combing moogish, techno-esc bass textures with the unpredictability of UK Funk rhythms and general drum work. The result is a fantastically unique composition, suitable for many DJ's to be spinning around the UK right now.
For this summer banger, FTSE teams up with the vocal prowess of Kurly for a funky house fusion, bringing the bouncy vibes to the dance. The composition employs crack-house type instrumentation and synth work, focussing on sharp bass moogs and punchy snap claps, creating a really tight sense of rhythm. This release also comes complete with a weighty Beast edit, for a more stripped back, rave ready edition. Great stuff!
The Raw Tactics discography has always been an impressive one, and the catalogue has just been improved again with the release of this brand new new three track project from Fork & Knife. Here we have been treated to a sumptuous slice of techno intertwined with bass themes, as the title track combines glitched out arpeggios with rolling drum work and distorted 808 subs, resulting in a really groovy overall composition. On the flip side we are then treated to some more creative energy with 'Canyon'. This is a grimey stinger, incorporating beautiful organic woodwind motifs with scattered drum punches, lively bird sounds and explosive horn stabs, for a really well thought out arrangement. This is definitely an EP with a wide range of sounds, perfect for numerous DJ's to slide into the mix.
For this one, we recommend dimming the lights and getting ready for a zone out as we explore the stunning sounds of the fourth 'Future Sound Of Garage' compilation from Nicksher Bundles. From start to finish, it's a truly beautiful selection, gathering emotional melodies and enticingly choppy drum patterns, creating a truly unique playlist. Deep Cosmo immediately grabs our attention with his sorrowful 'A Boat' composition whilst Lexis Liquid lets loose with some utterly incredible soundscaping. The lofi drum work and hypotonic melodics of Brimstone's 'Bright Shadow' are also worth a serious mention, along with Alivvve's super uplifting 'Change'.
GROOVE SKOOL feat LEE HEWITT - Waiting (2TUF4U) - exclusive 03/08/2018
PHLEGMATIC DOGS - NO CATS (Explicit) (Night Bass)
BLASTA & STEPS - Vybe (Downplay)
VARIOUS - Future Sound Of Garage Vol 4 (Nicksher Bundles)
SAM BENNETT - You Don't Believe In Love (Sonic Boom)
LIMITA/BAADWRK - How U Doin (Switch Up)
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