Review: Livity Sound has come a long way since surfacing as something like white label for Peverelist, Kowton and Asusu's music - the latter's "Sister" a bonafide gem! Over the years it has expanded its roster to the point of becoming a landmark within UK bass music - especially that of Bristol! If you wanted to catch up with what that sound actually is, still fresh as f*** in 2021 - Molten Mirrors: A Decade Of Livity Sound is your port of call. For the first of two parts, it's Batu in the mix with a feel-good yet grubby, junkyard industrial banger "Melts Into Air" which sits nicely next to the abstracted beats of Two Shiel's "Big Style". With deeper mysticisms comes Azu Tiwaline's slower "Nissa" next to the faster polyrhythms of Forest Drive West's "Lost Signal", with Facta, Al Wooton and Cando spreading some hypercolor synths and high fidelity beats in their sessions. And check out the leftfield selection of warped, jazzy breakdowns by DJ Plead that makes for a perfect segue into Bakongo's "Ashy".
Review: Like many artists, Oscar Henson AKA Facta channelled the restlessness he felt during the early days of the UK Coronavirus lockdown into creative endeavours, and specifically making new music. The result is Blush, his belated debut album. It's a slim, on-point affair, with Henson utilising the long-playing format to fuse his usual meaty sub bass and off-kilter rhythms with plenty of pretty melodies, colourful electronic flourishes and nods towards a wide variety of styles (Balearica, folk, ambient and the rainbow-hued, loved-up synthesizer textures of turn-of-the-90s Italian dream house, though not the associated house beats). It's a genuine recipe for success, with the numerous highlights including - but in no way limited to - the sub-heavy, sun-kissed breeziness of 'On Deck', the immersive and kaleidoscopic loveliness of 'Verge', and Parris collaboration 'Diving Birds'.
Review: Wisdom Teeth label head Oscar Henson, better known as Facta, rounds off the year with a two part ode to the dancefloor here on the label's 17th release, pitting house and 2-step beats against warping synths in the tradition of Errorsmith and Mark Fell. The Bristol-based producer is on-point here as always: from the reduced and hypnotic swing of "Doves" which will have massive crossover appeal, and is perfect for getting weird during the morning hours. This is followed by the off-kilter, FM tonal bliss of "MPH" which is even more introspective but keeps you locked into its groove with some massive bass pulsations.
Review: Following on from what has been a very tasty year indeed, Facta returns to the home imprint of Wisdom Teeth for a three track extravaganza, demonstrating some extremely cool production methods throughout. We kick off with the choppy, time-dance style drumwork and colourful atmospheric and almost acidic designs of 'Rose Red', before the title track 'Scales + Measures' lands with some incredibly vibrant percussive manoeuvres and synthy explosions. Finally, '4C Loop' takes slower drum rolls and more colourful sound design to round us off in style!
Review: Over the course of numerous albums and Eps, Laurel Halo has made a name with her experimental, uncompromising take on electronic music - can she do the same with her DJing? Listening to this, the 68th instalment of DJ-Kicks, the answer is a resounding 'yes'. It moves from the abstract chimes of her own "Public Art" to the bruising rhythms of Stallone the Reducer and Red Axes' low-slung electro into the next-wave Detroit techno of Fit Siegel and the bleary European sound of Dario Zenker, representing here with "Koraimer Bro". However, Halo is also aware that to understand where electronic music is going to, you must first understand its past - and the inclusion of tracks from Jeff Mills' Final Cut band and Blake Baxter's catalogue showcases her deep knowledge and passion.
Review: We now get stuck into some futuristic percussive persuasions as we take a look at the latest compilation from Wisdom Teeth, bringing together some of the most forward thinking electronic musicians active today. Chevel kicks us off with 'TailWind', Before the clean percussive rolls of Alex Coulton's 'Radiance' and K-Lone's 'Broke' take centre stage. Acre then gets crazy on the synthesis with 'Don't Get Me Started' and Etch gets swampy on 'Toxin', before Hodge's 'X' provides us with some futuristic tech treats. We then round up the EP in style with two belters, as Wen supplies the eerie fire on 'Late Night' and Facta strips it back to bass and drums in the vibrancy of 'Poliwhirl'.
Review: By now, Bristol's Livity Sound was the only noted Bristol label that FACTA hadn't released on yet. He's appeared on the ever-impressive Idle Hands, of course, as well as the 'consciously off-kilter' Berceuse Heroique from Athens, so he has plenty of experience with the mass audience of bass-headz worldwide. "Dumb Hummer" is an abstract affair, its uplifting bleeps and clicks merging perfectly with the tune's bitter low-end waves that take it to a more dubwise stance; "All The Time" is certainly more of a 'house' ting, with its broken beats forming a peculiar strain of off-balance 4/4 - rife with that Bristol charisma. We love it.
Review: Oscar 'Facta' Henson is the latest artist to pop up on Berceuse Heroique's occasional Ancient Monarchy offshoot. In keeping with the label's consciously off-kilter approach, "Something's Gonna Happen" is a devilishly wayward affair, with cascading, almost melancholic melody lines and fuzzy chords tumbling over a sludgy but metallic rhythm track. On the flip you'll find the dark, EBM-influenced, muscular techno throb of "Sweet Sixteen", and a bonus remix of "Something's Gonna Happen" by fellow Bristol resident DJ October. The sometime Skudge artist draws on his EBM influences, delivering a surprisingly funky reinterpretation that makes great use of Henson's metallic percussion hits.
Review: The fifth single on Bloc's offshoot label comes from Facta, who follows up strong EPs on Idle Hands, Tempa and his own Wisdom Teeth imprint with another fine collection of cuts. "Alsatian" is a fine electro roller, with the Bristol-based producer peppering a metallic rhythm track with serious electronic blips and sparse, intergalactic melody lines. Beneath delivers a more atmospheric, dubstep-influenced rework full of fuzzy textures, wonky noises and serious sub-bass pressure, before Facta rounds off the EP with the snappy drum machine handclaps, early '90s bleeps and post-dubstep rhythms of "Scotch Mist".
Review: Marking the emergence of another fresh talent in the bustling Bristolian scene, Idle Hands present the bass-laden, icy talents of Facta to the world. "Loveless" carries the torch from the finest stripped-down dubstep standards and applies it to the slower tempos of today, with a cheeky line in square wave bass thrown in for good measure to make for a cool tempered, deceptively heavy cut. Local champ Hodge lends a hand on "Tungsten", which finds a more peppy set of drums ticking away over dynamic flourishes of bass and samples with some wonderfully haunting refrains woven in to break up the mechanismo.