Review: Aesthetics is the man behind many a gully, angry roller with a giant, attitude-filled bassline. He has a certain quality to his music which I don't think many can pull off, that truly angry, aggressive pulsation to the edges of his low frequencies. He's landing on Dub Damage Recordings UK, a label whose sound is well suited for Aesthetics, with this heavy-hitting single. The title track has a unique structure and well-rounded percussion which sits below the main affairs, a gargantuan, pummelling main bass patch which warps in and out of the arrangement perfectly. 'Jah Rugged' is a chopping, stabby little thing that also rolls out in tidy fashion, each hit of the main bass line sounding exquisite in its punchiness.
Review: Bou & Dutta's Diamond Audio cuts through the noise with laser like charm on their latest V/A collection. A signature since the label's launch last year, this is their most supersized batch to date as it includes more fresh names and a full spectrum of underground styles; the footwork pace of Aesthetics opener "Questions", Bou's barking groaner "Frequencies", Jeopardize's matchless trippy funk stepper "Contemporary", Leaf's wonky woodblock knocks and freaky funk on "Watch It" and MelloDrama's hospitalizing space stepper "Thrill" are just some of the many album highlights. Shiny shiny.
Review: Smokin' Riddims long success can be linked to Jaydan's keen ear for balanced tracks, every track cuts a fine balance between, noisy, bouncing, rough and rolling and that means great dancefloor music. This new EP is a collection of co-labs, three of which are with the main man himself. 'Rubbish' is anything but, the aggressive track uses swaths and a stabbing bass to create an intense atmosphere. 'Good A Dead' uses jungle breakdowns in-between more modern drum patterns with grinding metallics and shadowy pads. '2049's rumbling bassline is the star of the EP.
Review: Hide your nudes! Aesthetics is out for revenge and it looks like he won't hold back on the punishment. "Out For Revenge" is a real rasping bass riff cut that maintains momentum until the momentarily floaty breakdown. "Assassins" shoots even harder with its sweeping growling bass while "Badboy Dubplate" strips us down with a Lynx-style focus and sense of groove (watch out for those amens midway, they'll take your head off) Finally we end with "Feels So". Rising and rising with a white knuckle build the Smokin Riddims mainstay hurls us into another brilliantly minimal drop where singular bass grunts and clever percussion sweep us off our feet.
Review: Razor-sharp Scottish steppery: Upfront and Aesthetics strip back the unnecessaries for two straight-up rolling damagers. "Gully" is reminiscent of Origin Unknown's mid 90s output with its crisp two-step, marshmallow subs and well placed (possibly Predator?) vocal sample. Keeping the mid 90s two-step vibe alive, "Nostromo" purrs a little softer with benign chemtrails of "Pulp Fiction" and a name that comes from Alien. Cool tracks and some nerdy film references... Upfront & Aesthetics know us all too well.
Review: Jaydan's label comes correct with its first ever multi-artist album featuring some its most exciting artists and affiliate and a widescreen snapshot of where both Smokin Riddims and underground D&B in general is at right now. Highlights include the Mind Vortex style electricity of Shifta's "Deadfall" Leaf's skippy, twisted roller "Dis Style" and the abyss-level sub bass depth plunges on Upfront & Aesthetics' "Touch" but that's just a small selection of what's on offer here. Jaydan doesn't do things by halves, Serious Selection is proof that lives up to its name.
Review: He may only release, on average, an EP a year, but you can always rely on Scottish artist Aesthetics for premium all-corner escapades. Often grizzly and unruly, always fine-tuned for floor flattening, each cut hits harder than a judge with a titanium hammer. "Ghetto Shit" is all about the Tyke-flavoured bass, "Soundman" is all about the classic mid 90s Headz vibe while "Night" is all about the similar era on Goodlooking. "Honeycomb" maintains the classic dynamics with overwhelming sub pressure, a surging vocal sample and classic breaks. Finally "Galaxy" brings us back to earth with a precision balance of reese charged bumps, softened by breezy, floaty pads.
Review: Scottish D&B rogue Aesthetics continues his good work on Jaydan's Smokin Riddims imprint with his most extensive release to date. Flexing from the madcap strings and triplet funk of "Villains" (think a modern day "Disco Dodo") to the darker, eerie vibes and hypnotic clicks and claps of "Old World" via the stark stabs and insanity-coded riff and pneumatic beats of "Kush", it showcases Aesthetics as a serious producer who understands the need for funk and character in productions. Complete with a running film noir theme, there's a great sense of fun and a consistency that's seldom found on D&B EPs. Essential.