Review: What a link up we have here as the super creative Amit links up with the incredibly consistent production power of J:Kenzo for two tracks of heavyweight 140BPM fire. We begin with the haunted introduction of 'Acid Trip', which provides us with a spacey, bouncing arrangement, leading us towards a crescendo of jittering moogy bassline energy, topped with progressive drum expansions and a high energy groove throughout. On the flip, 'Righteous' sees the pair link up again with a more half-time feel as the lo-fi yet industrial sound drum designs and let loose amidst a dungeon-like atmosphere to provide some serious variation.
Review: Chestplate and Artikal = Chestikal. If that doesn't already grab your attention then the fact that it's Distance and J:Kenzo on two massive collabos and the tunes are every bit as smoking, spacious and sick as you'd like them to be most certainly will. "The Offering" is a pure swaggering jam with rasping, distorted basslines striking through anything and everything in their wake. "Dhyana" offers sublime contrast with a much deeper, smokier blend of mystical atmospheres, roomy drums and an eerie eastern call that will have your skin up in so many goosebumps you might just grow feathers. Big up your chestikals.
Review: Champion of dark, tough and considered dubstep, Distance provides the latest instalment in the much loved Dubstep Allstars mix series. It's fairly typical fare from the Chestplate boss man, with tough steady rhythms underpinned by that particularly distorted kind of bassline. There are a number of highlights, most notably Commodo's "Surveillance" which has a rolling break woven into the mix. Cyrus' "Looking Back" also impresses as it purrs away with a gorgeously warm, rich synth line. The biggest surprise is probably Distance's own remix of trance bods Above & Beyond. It's certainly as 'big room' as you'd ever imagine Distance getting!
Review: What an exciting few years it's been for the Artikal bossman Kenzo. Playfully switching between 140, 160 and 170, dub, jungle and D&B, he's in his element right now and packing some seriously darked out heat. Back on ThirtyOne he's hurling more heaviness our way. "Sykura" is a crisp steppy track not dissimilar to early Subtitles and TeeBee material while "Assemble" kicks with more of a bouncy two-step spring. Think Jonny L and you're on the right track. That's the level we're talking here.
Review: Usually found on the 140 side of the spectrum dub demonstrator Kenzo steps over to Doc Scott's ThirtyOne for some serious stripped back jungle business. "Rum Punch" is a straight up roller with a wasps nest bassline and barbed wire two-step. "Airwalk" nods towards the Ruffhouse or Clarity style of minimalism with an almost dancehall dynamic to its sparse drums. Finally "Durge" drops the tempo a tenner for a really wonked-out halftime bass jam that rips into some incredible amen splashes midway. Applying everything you love about his dub science to D&B, Kenzo's just opened up a whole new book... And we can't put it down.
Review: Released last year, Kenzo and Collinjah laid down serious sermons on "Straight Defeat". Now time for an instrumental (in case Collinjah's words are too much to handle) and two industrial strength remixes: Caspa bangs the war drum for a greasy mechanical roller while Jubei ups the tempo ante with a tribal stepper that strips back the elements and lets Collinjah's vocals take the centre spotlight. Serious dancefloor business.
Review: J Kenzo makes an appearance on the lauded and legendary Tempa imprint with these two tough little tracks, which display heaps of character and genre-defining skill. "Ruffhouse" sees Kenzo team up with Rod Azlan for an intriguing journey, dominated by bleepy synth melody and low-slung bongo drum for the first minute, before dropping into a classic mid-noughties dubstep burner with hypnotic bass and weighty soundscape. "Therapy" is reminiscent of some of Pinch and the Tectonic crew's more experimental work, with a techno twinge, fidgeting beats, a Benga & Coki bleep and plenty of unique character to set it apart from the rest.
Review: New signing J Kenzo marks the 56th release for Youngsta's legendary Tempa label. Unsurprisingly, it's a typically dark and dubbed out offering from the more cerebral side of dubstep. Title track "The Roteks" kicks off with a hovering sense of uncertainty, with faint industrial shivers and a warping bassline. A quasi-scientific sounding vocal sample heralds the movement into the main tune, which features blustering kicks, snapping snares and bellowing bass. "Protected" moves from the post-apocalyptic sounds of the intro into a half-step roller with plenty of appeal for fans of Kryptic Minds, Distance and DMZ.
Review: A real fusion of many different styles, and perfectly named to boot, Tropic Thunda is a subtle and well-crafted mix of soca and dubstep beats. Sparse but full of energy and vitality, it's a classy release from J Kenzo (a man who's currently getting support from Caspa and N-Type amongst many others). Also out is Counteraction, which has rolling congas and some off-kilter snares, as well as rising synth stabs that set the beat alive. Both tunes are smart, funky and very cool - miss out on this at your peril.
Review: A split release from the Tuba imprint, with Britain's J Kenzo sharing the honours with San Francisco's The Spit Brothers. Having an exceptional year so far, with big releases like "Stomp", "Tropic Thunda" and "Ruckus" already under his belt, J Kenzo carries on the good form with the moody dub of "Nocturnal Feelings" - a starkly bare dubstep/UKF fusion with some evil stutter bass and urgent percussion hits keeping things nice and driving for the floor. The Spit Brothers' "Beg To Differ" comes in on a very similar vibe, with woozy textures and a halting, threadbare beat leaving plenty of space in the mix and giving it an enjoyably sinister slant. Two very deep and very cool tunes indeed.
Review: Teasing us ahead of the release of his label's inaugural compilation, J Kenzo lays down a supreme slice of contemporary bass with Collinjah. The beats ooze Kenzo's demonstrative dark, restrained drama - all weighted but never too OTT - but it's Collinjah who really gives the track the edge. Clearly refining his lyrical flow and penchant for Newham General-style melody subversion, bars like these will worm their way into your head for days after the dance. Bring on the full Artikal.
Review: It's hard to think of a time when Jubei wasn't ubiquitous. Truth be told, it wasn't until 2010 that his blend of crisp, popping percussion and bubbling bass got widely accepted by the general D&B consciousness, but now here we are. Releasing on home label Metalheadz, this double-sider takes no chances from the outset, pushing straight in with old-school cinematic waves of colour between big, bold clouts of finely-tuned percussion. Working with J Kenzo on the flip, expect deeper dubstep sounds with a techy twist. Nicely does it.
Review: For this mighty selection, we see Mystic State land on the incredibly impressive Artikal Music imprint for another absolute shellout, this time consisting of two tasty solo pieces and two corking collaborations. The title track 'Tomahawk' makes the most of a twisted, eastern-sounding string line, pressed between moogy bass plucks and crispy percussive elements to match. Next up, the VIP mix of Hemisphere is unleashed, jam packed with neurotic bass twists and sharp drum patterns. We then move into the remixes, as the legendary J:Kenzo joins the party for the sub-heavy expressions of 'Competition', before JFO's additional input on 'Cuatro' wraps the EP up with some serious sauce.
Review: The run that we find Infernal Sounds upon has seen them unleash some incredible creations as of late, with this new link up between J:Kenzo & Saule being a perfect example of that energy. We begin by diving head first into J:Kenzo's long awaited remix of 'Cure Dem', rebuilding the track into a dancehall inspired system rattler, with crunchy rhythmic slaps and a warbling synth line out front for good measure. On the flip, We take in the ferocity of 'Shijima's Revenge', a grizzly low end bubbler, driven primarily by it's pulsating bassline and piercing ride-cymbals. What a double up this one is!
Review: Om Unit takes it to the bridge once again. His label's first V/A collection since its evergreen Cosmology Sessions in 2017, it's another vast plane ripe in sonic depths and textures from some of the most left-minded, boundary-fusing captains in the bass game. Featuring two crucial link-ups from the bossman himself with two kindred spirits Djrum and Synkro plus a whole cosmic cornucopia of voyages from the likes of Danny Scrilla, J:Kenzo, Vromm and stacks more, every track is a highlight in its own beguiling way. No label flares with the same levels of dark vitality, there's more than enough for our brains to chew on right here.
Review: Let's just list the amount of stone cold bass OGs on this collection: Krust, dBridge, Om Unit, Danny Scrilla, V.I.V.E.K, Von D, Moresounds, AU, Oris Jay & Chris Innersound and whole load more of soundsystem culture's most innovative craftsman working at the deepest levels of the low end coalface all feature on this immense and forward thinking document. Including the curator Amit himself. Every track is a highlight, each one and abyssal, immersive experience but essential highlights include the toxic bass bounces of Moresounds' "They Can't Handle It", the 23rd century UKG of Oris and Chris's "They Can't Handle It" and Krust's big screen masterpiece "Escape From Finland". Amit deserves a holiday. Or a massive trophy. Or both. Bass compilations don't get much bigger than this.
Review: Reviewed By Duploc:
Today we're inspecting the construction site of Artikal Music UK's next project. Founder J:Kenzo employed eleven professional and highly skilled architects to carefully design, build and create a handcrafted compilation full of music he admires. As J:Kenzo explains: "The tracks included were filtered through from artists that have previously released on Artikal or have some connection with myself either being played on my Rinse FM shows or live sets". Considering the quality of each and every track, only two years of fabrication to finish off this product is remarkably short. Volume One of "The Architects" reflects J:Kenzo's refined taste in dubstep and drum and bass. On the 2 x 12" record, you'll find some absolute masterpieces from amongst others D-Operation Drop, Causa, Compa, Argo, DubDiggerz and J:Kenzo himself. The Architects' series, a yearly showcase filled with content from the label's artists plus VIP and remixes as well as bringing through new talent, will make the foundations of dubstep shake undoubtedly.
Review: We've been waiting for this since Doc Scott fired up his old ThirtyOne machine just over a year ago. A 24-track collection of stone cold exclusives, this bucks any expectations of the label and its remit and celebrates the very best creativity in all shades of drum & bass. Littered with the best names in the game (Calibre, Nucleus & Paradox, Bungle, Loxy & Resound, Scar, Marcus Intalex and many many more), each cut pushes the bass and riddim envelope with stark, uncompromised creativity and production muscle. The ultimate document of where the best D&B is at, this is nothing short of essential.
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: No other label can rep dubstep like Tempa. Many would argue it was the first label to truly herald and nourish the sound. Here they explore their vaults and dust off some of the most genre-defining, idiosyncratic tracks that have helped shape the phenomenon we know today. From SPMC's paranoid murker from 2008 "Trust Nobody" to a whole series of Skream sessions such as "WTF", "Wibbler" and "Vacillate", the collection is a reminder of how influential Tempa has been, how talented their roster has always been and, most importantly, how slamming and stimulating dubstep can be when nourished and developed by the right label. Recognise.
DJ Madd - "The Life You Chose" (Distance remix) - (4:38) 140 BPM
Stinkahbell - "Film Noir" - (5:37) 140 BPM
Sleeper & Thelem - "Arrakis" - (5:15) 140 BPM
Kryptic Minds - "The Divide" - (5:32)
Various - "This Is Dubstep 2013" (continuous DJ mix - part 1) - (1:13:24) 140 BPM
Various - "This Is Dubstep 2013" (continuous DJ mix - part 2) - (1:09:30) 140 BPM
Review: Sixth in the series, This Is Dubstep is one of the more comprehensive, on-point series the scene has given us (ie: many!) Across the 40 tracks every single shade is covered; from rave-tinged (Noisia's remix of "Smack My Bitch Up") to all-out technicolour bass (Drumsound & Bassline Smith), This Is Dubstep 2013 pays respect to all corners of the dance - including the really far-out experimentations of Mala and his Cuban project. With exclusives such as V.I.V.E.K's "Barcelona" and Killawatt's "Single Entity" thrown in for good measure, this isn't just a summary of today's dubstep; it's a slice of the future too.
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.