Review: This second full-length from London-based producer Soloman 'Silkie' Rose - the follow-up to 2009's City Limits Volume 1 - further develops a deep and melodic take on dubstep that should appeal far beyond the genre's underground stronghold. With bright melodies, jazz chords, ear-catching synths, sampled horn stabs and future garage style vocal cuts aplenty, City Limits Volume 2 has far more in common with, say, the far-thinking two-step exploits of Phuturistix or Hospital Records' genre-bending Outpatients series than most dubstep full-lengths. But it's these qualities that make it such a rewarding, enjoyable and essential release.
Review: The dubstep don turns his hand, as he is apt to do, to a bit of jungle. Returning to where he left off with "Burnin' Up" in Sept '09, Skream re-works the Loleatta Holloway sample, adding some warm, reverberating bass and clinking piano keys to "Hats Off" alongside rolling breaks and euphoric builds. "Heavy Hitter" does exactly what it says on the tin with smashing snares, grizzled b-line and thumping kicks, Hatcha style. "Rigging" is a bit more grimey, dominated by groaning SFX, clashing SFX and murky subs. "Sea Sick", possibly the rowdiest of the three dubstep cuts with wrenching synths a-plenty, concludes the EP.
Review: Dubstep overlord Skream finally offers up the next instalment in his long running "Skreamizm" series, his first since 2009. While last year's Outside The Box LP allowed him to experiment with varying genres and tempos, this six tracker sees him knocking out the anthems with consummate ease. "Xmas Day Swagger" is a dancefloor banger, simplicity itself while "Indistinct" brings a shuffling beat and an Eastern vocal. "Tweedle Dee, Tweedle DUMB!" featuring Trim will appeal to the grime heads and "Abstruse" and "Snarled" are stripped back head nodders. EP closer "FNKONOMIKA" is a blissful minimal D&B track which oozes sheer class.
Review: If we are talking about legends of the UK underground, there really aren't many names that rank above Skream. A veteran of many sounds, we see him return to his roots with this latest selection to release some prized unreleased classics, spanning from 2002 to 2003. This is a must have selection for any serious steppers fan, with the project bleeding authenticity across the entire track listing, from the bubbly drum bounces and warped bass tones of 'Depth Charge' to the grimey synth textures of 'Disfunktional Minds' and high energy eskimo-inspired drum switches of 'Oh My Gosh'. It's one for dubstep historians, that sees Skream's earlier more grime-influenced productions finally land in the public domain.
Review: Dubstep pioneer Skream (aka Oliver Dene Jones) is back after a brief hiatus with Face Down In The Water, an action packed three track EP on his own Of Unsound Mind label. There are no short sharp shocks here, with the shortest tune of the three being the seven-minute orchestral-house closer, "Motions". Elsewhere "Let It Go" sounds like collab between John Carpenter and Systematic Records, the title track features soft, oompah-style synth melodies for a surprisingly deep workout. Catch these tunes and more on his upcoming Open To Close tour...if you can get tickets, that is.
Review: Although it's fair to say that the slightly more commercial nature of some of Skream's recent productions have divided opinion, this single for Mala's DEEP MEDi is one of the darkest and most visceral things the producer has done for some time, harking back to the days when he was one of the UK's most vital producers of experimental music. "Gritty" pushes its considerable weight forward with a stuttering low end, searing textures and punishing kicks, whilst "Phatty Drummer" utilises skeletal rhythms and tribal percussion in conjunction with nightmarish melodies. With dubstep splintering off into numerous different forms, its good to know that one of its earliest figureheads can still be relied on to craft some of the best soundsystem-destroying music in the business.
Review: Having already featured both tracks on his recent Essential Mix, Skream now makes DUNNN available to fans and DJs. Drawing on the heritage of tough New York house, the title track centres on tough drums and a driving rhythm that underpins soulful vocal samples. By adding incessant percussion and repetitive riffs to the arrangement, Skream lends it a contemporary electronic edge. On "Tramadollied", he opts for a different approach. Laying down a pulsating groove and adding in outer space bleeps, he delivers a brooding, somewhat bleak techno track that's equally suited to big rooms and small basements. Long may his house and techno fixation last.
Review: Following on from the earlier release of the first edition of Skream's Unreleased Classics', Skreamizm now presents a very vibrant second volume, this time exploring his previously archived creations from between 2004 and 2006. Unlike the first volume, this selection sees the sound really take a turn towards that more classic dubstep approach, focussing more on halftime snare structures over bubbling, funky beats. We see Skream move through the weird and wonderful, from the quirky synth glitches and patois vocal samples of 'Hurt The Soundboy' to the slightly dissonant harmonies of 'BassTrapz' and jazzy arrangements of 'Live & Learn'. There's something for everyone in here as we ride through a fabulous chapter of UK music history.
Review: Tempa drop remix package from Skream's 2010 all conquering Outside The Box album in the shape of the awesome "Where You Should Be". Whilst the track features the vocal talents of Sam Frank, they are so heavily subjected to vocoder that his lyrics meld into the spiralling array of keyboard hooks and twilight tinged arpeggiated synth lines - with suitably woozy results. Digital Soundboy boss and all round legend Shy FX drops a killer remix which starts with the Mtume "Juicy" riddim before switching to more familiar rolling junglist pressure ably assisted by some sweet additional female vocals. Watch out for that half time drop! Other remixes come from Laidback Luke, Seiji and Jack Beats, rounding off a solid release.
Review: "Streets So Warm" is the latest track to be released from Toddla T's huge new album "Watch Me Dance". Following the heavy disco-funk leanings of single of the same name, this release sees the producer return to the dancehall influenced sound that he is most well known for, with a range of remixes on an old school tip. The original features a simple trilling synth line which complements Wayne Marshall's vocals, whilst Zed Bias' "Old Skool remix" takes things back to 2000 with an infectious 2-step version of the original. Serial Killerz meanwhile deliver a DnB remix, and Ross Orton and Pipes deliver a remix which takes the dancehall original and beefs it up with some contemporary bass production.
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: Drum & Bass Arena has ruled on high for nearly 20 years, and in that time has helped to forge the careers of every drum & bass artist worth their salt. It's impossible to downplay the influence the site has had on the scene, as a club brand and an online resource, and this year their official compilation is a doozie. Featuring some of the largest tracks around right now from Friction & Skream, J Majik & Wickaman, DJ Hazard, Rene LaVice, Calyx & TeeBee, Original Sin and Optiv & BTK as well as bangers from fresh artists like Heist, Zen & Nitri, this is an essential purchase for any D&B fan. Focussing on the heavier end of the spectrum this 35 track behemoth is basically your 2013 compendium of bass. Don't leave home without it.
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.