Review: It's been a very exciting few months of releases for the Mancunian dubstep veteran, as we see Biome land yet another kill drop, this time courtesy of Truth's Deep Dark & Dangerous imprint. We begin our journey into this one with a dip into the lethal reese design and earth-shattering drum slaps of 'The Joker', followed by 'Boxed', a sublow creeper, jam-packed with eerie atmospheric pressure and powerful bass energy. Next, we are greeted by colourful percussive plucks and raucous substructures in 'Monster' before 'Never Listen' strips the whole party back for a crunchy finale, capping off yet another well thought out drop from the DD&D team.
Review: Now we don't know what is in the water up in Manchester right now, but the team at Manuka seem to be able to do no wrong, yet again pulling together a sumptuous new selection, this time from fellow local and dubstep-heavyweight: Biome. He takes us down a much more bass-scentric route with this selection however, kicking off with tech infused percussion and glittering pad work of 'Kitemare' before the title track 'Kora' marches forward with more eerie atmospheric energy and some seriously weighty kick patterns below. Next, we greet the much more high pitched percussive pops and vocal delays of 'Let Me' as they dance above a smoothened sub design below, before rounding off on the much more raucous bass explosions and jittering drum patterns of 'Torah'. As per, another fabulous link up from the Manuka team!
Review: We were very pleased to see Madam X's Kaizen team up again with the now legendary sounds of Manchester's own Biome, who has been on a real roll of late, packing his recent releases some incredibly original flavours. The title track for this project goes by the name of 'Griddled', and it certainly packs a smokey punch to say the least, with unearthly reese baselines providing the majority of the movement alongside spooky eastern vocal lines. Next, we hear 'Squelch', which provides exactly what it says on the tin as wave upon wave of swampy bass synths emerge alongside twisted percussive movements. Finally, we take in the more upbeat drumwork and potent sub leads of 'Bush', which rounds everything up nicely.
Review: As one of the freshest tech labels to emerge out of the UK in recent years, Kaizen continue their trail blaze in the more than capable hands of all around electronic hot shot Biome. This 6 track EP summarizes why the Manchester native is praised so highly. In short, it's a masterpiece in electronic sound design. From the dungeon-esc atmospherics of 'Weekend' and 'Trenchfoot' to the unpredictable percussive leads of 'Ancoats' and 'Stealth'. The EP is then rounded off perfectly with the rolling subs and vocal cuts of 'Fargo' and well controlled distortion lead madness of 'Yoof'. It seems in truth that there is very little Biome isn't able to craft with an impeccable level of finesse.
Review: If you're into grumbling grooves, bass as thick as half-set concrete and drums that sound like no other dubstep producer's, then Biome's "Cypher" EP is so up your street it's built a granny annex upside your bedroom. The title-track is Biome at his grumpiest; all slug bass and anvil halfsteps. "Rumble" flips the switch with a genuinely unique beat that nods towards hip-hop or quarter-speed jungle much more than it does dubstep. "Sentinel" goes back to the deep dungeon lab with a swaggering half-step and a bassline seemingly made of a swarm of wheezing wasps, while "Stone Throw" maintains that deep, minimal technoid flavour but with more emphasis on some interestingly pitched drums. "Man Made" closes the show with yet more unique rhythmic arrangements and an eerie prayer call that's so cold it could summon the spirit of Cthulhu himself.
Review: Manchester artist Hypho hooks up with fellow UK compatriot Boime for a double drop of heavy dubstepping vibes for Manuka. The record itself sounds like it comes from the deep, dark and cold confines of a disused powerplant, with the lead track fizzing with alien synths, atonal keys and kick drums replete with an uncanny assortment of distorted atmospheres to boot. Tribal atmospheres make their way into "Deform", a deadly alternative for the more serious and industrial ends of the night. Not to be missed alongside Hypho's most recent Round Ere three-track for Loefah's Swamp81 imprint. Serious shit.
Review: It has been very hard for anyone to keep pace with the Manuka imprint in recent times as their incredible run of super-popular releases continues to rage on, this time welcoming some of the label's regular performers inside for a four-track compilation drop. We begin our dive with a look at the twisted percussive manoeuvres and aquatic atmospheric pressures of 'Guilty' from Biome, before we recognize Rakjay's catchy vocal additions over the fluttering arpeggios of 'Lowe It', produced by label founder: Hypho. From here we move into Ternion Sound's contribution in 'There Is A Cost', a sweeping breaksy display of power, before Xakra unleashes his synthetic wonders on 'Some Of Us' to see the EP out in style.
Review: Macabre Unit founder Demon on Wheel & Deal with his first dubstep release since autumn 2013? Yes please! "Chronik" goes for the jugular with fast-paced industrial strength beats and a magic, lava-like flow. "Break Point" flips around a cool vocal sample axis. Twisting and turning with well-oiled prowess, there's a strong sense of dark funk throughout. "Salvation" tips a nod to the murkier, moodier halfstep foundations but does so with some really cruel twists on the fills. "Genocide", meanwhile, is a truly dark 4/4 composition that gives Beezy's conscious, thought-provoking sermon the space it deserves. Finally we hit the Biome collaboration. Last spotted together two years back with the massive "Incubus", they make up for lost time with a supreme halfstepper than munches dungeon motifs before spitting them back out in the most subversive way possible thanks to an almost psy-like synth arpeggio. Stupendously immersive.
Review: Who says smoking stunts your growth? Look at Smoking Sessions; 10 years in the game and never been bigger. Inhabiting that fertile axis between dub, garage, electronica and dubstep, its roster features some of the most innovative names in bass music such as Djrum, Geode, Synkro. Here we hit some selected cuts from the full 14-track anniversary album. Ranging from beautiful new moments such as Geode's mystic string-melting stepper "Ishikari" to out-and-out cult label anthems such as Synkro's perennial "Don't Know" and Djrum's measured and meditative "Plead With Me", this immaculate collection represents the label's distinctive and striking remit and sets us up for the next 10 smoky years. Spark up.
Review: Dub Police's MyStyle mix series has become a force to be reckoned with in dubstep, an annual showcase from some of their most exciting artists, each outing appears deeper, more involving and widescreen than the last. The Others has clearly gone to town here with a whole heap of his productions and collaborations. For mix lovers this is a must; 28 tracks all seamed together tightly, it explores the darkest corners of the scene with a brave boldness. Those looking for individual tracks will also be pleased to see the likes of Icicle's techno-like industrial VIP "Need A Job", Sleeper's disturbing "Civil War" and Thelem's tripped out mind-twister "Haunted Harmonics". Stylish, sonically arresting and consummately accomplished, The Others has represented himself with serious skills right here.
Review: Whether it's as a performer, a producer or a label head honcho, J:Kenzo has never done things by halves, so Artikal's debut long player was always going to be special. 15 exclusive cuts from the label's talented family and friends, this collection of contributions doesn't just document where bass music is at, but where it's heading. Each track is a highlight in itself, but it's cuts like the slinky hypnotic groove and cosmic congas of TMSV's "Scorpion", Sleeper's star-gazing, dub-drenched sub science of "Coxsone Dub", Skeptical's lesson minimalism and aggy restraint ("Skavenger") and Eshone's treacle-like dirge "Qualia" that really represent the depth, scope and vision of Artikal. Designed for the dance, arranged so well it works as an entire listening experience, Artikal don't do things by halves.
Review: As January nears its bitter end, it seems this the time to release mega compilation albums. AEI, the company behind Get Darker, UKF and D&B Arena unveil their next project: Get Darker Presents: This Is Dubstep 2012. And what an album it is. Bringing in all the flavours of contemporary dubstep, it succeeds in providing a sweeping panorama of an increasingly fractionalized scene. From the deeper sounds of Author, VIVEK, Kryptic Minds, Icicle & Distance and Phaeleh, through material from scene pioneers such as Horsepower Productions, Skream and Benga, to the more aggressive sounds of Gemini, Flux Pavillion, 16 Bit and Nero, it's all covered. A brilliant "who's who" of dubstep in 2012 - highly recommended.
Review: As dubstep and bass music in general continues to expand worldwide, we are starting to see more and more experimental selections come together, with this fantastic 14 tracker from the Cosmic Vibrations crew being just what the doctor ordered. They deliver an hours worth of smooth introspective soundscaping, with the roster including top names such as: Biome, Congi, Occult, Ill Chill and more. The whole tracklisting just breathes originality, with our favourites including the stunning UKG designs of 'Eyes Down' from the fabulous link up of Bonobo and Andreya Triana, alongside 'Nothing', an impactful piece of stepper poetry, crafted between the wonderful Rider Shafique and the ever-ready Om Unit!