Review: Bringing forth fresh talent at a dizzying rate, Dusk & Blackdown's imprint steps up with another sterling four-tracker of forward-thinking bass music that keeps the vibe of dubstep alive just as it points to new avenues. Etch is fearsomely limber on "Scattah", wielding rudest jungle tropes on a half-step lurch with a wonderful injection of horror soundtrack tension that brings all the darkside incantations you could hope for. Walton has a touch more pep in his own collage that drops a snappy garage mentality with a breakbeat roll, while the bass rub cries out for a powerful stack of subs to test. Visionist taps into the exotic climes that the LHF collective explored so adeptly, clashing melodies against each other without hesitation, and Fresh Paul takes the creatively maligned purple sound and runs it into a far more inviting cocktail of emotionally ambiguous and devilishly produced fare.
Review: Rita Maia is currently a busy woman, presenting radio (including a weekly Resonance FM show also called Sine Of The Times), DJing everywhere (aside from holding down a residency at the Notting Hill Arts Club) and now releasing albums too! This 11-song collection isn't a mix album per se, although the tracks do cleverly flow together. The overall vibe is gentle, almost brittle, micro-house-meets broken beat: perfect for hazy post-club mornings. Highlights include the teardrop beats of Dfranklin's "Whole", the melancholic rain-soaked 2-step of VVV's "Lost & Found" and the tropical comedown of BD1982's "The Wave Chamber".
Review: Entitled simply Grime 2.0, this mammoth release sees grime originators sit next to a new breed of artists, all compiled by Big Dada label boss Will Ashon and journalist Joe Muggs. Documenting grime's continued development over the past ten years, its track selections also demonstrate that it's still a vibrant and flourishing genre. Some 35 tracks deep, the compilation sees Ashon and Muggs securing exclusive, previously unheard material, with notable grime figureheads such as Youngstar, Wiley and MRK1 contributing alongside current stars in Royal T and Preditah as well as an international cast of emergent new talent, with Local Action artist and Grimetapes documenter Slackk featuring too. Essential!
Review: Visionist aka Louis Carnell is off to stardom with this new album, his second to date, after a debut LP for PAN back in 2015. All nice and hyp-like. Big Dada is the label this time, a London unit belonging to Ninja Tune and who have been responsible for the early works of peeps like Wiley. They've clearly decided to head out onto more experimental pastures over recent years, and Value seems to be a perfect representation of where they stand now in terms of sound. The ten-track LP is sparse and loose across all its borders, but the one factor uniting all of its leftifled glory is a sense of coldness. Tunes like "Homme", which are relatively beatless, still have much in common with the likes of "Made In Hope" or "High Life" - the vivid sense of frost binds them together to form one glacial piece of music from the future. Angelic and demonic all at once.
Review: Always a reliable outpost for wild adventures on the fringes of grime and other bass-laden electronic music, Diskotopia welcome arguably the current champion of such concerns over for a short but sweet track. Visionist's original of "Can't Forget" is as esoteric as you would expect from the maverick producer, with a spread of vocal samples calling out a mantra-like melodic chant while oddly displaced kick drum thuds keep things moving along at half tempo in a daring and futuristic manner. Moire steps up for a remix that keeps the same teasing fractious rhythm in place, with a different melodic lilt to the samples and a few extra smatterings of percussion trickled in for good and equally experimental measure.
Review: In the unstoppable march of fresh grime interpretations, Visionist has been one of the leading lights, but the ever-rising producer is committed to a more wayward path on this new EP for Lit City Trax. The beats come a distinct second to the omnipresent bass lines and disorientating melodic tones that inhabit the music on offer, but that devastatingly simple approach to composition has yielded six tracks of perfectly otherworldly electronic visions. The space in the mix is loaded with unease, and there's still space for some club ready claps on "First Love", but really this is an exercise in sending the listener off into uncharted territory, and it's a thoroughly successful one at that.
Review: After a recent turn for Leisure System, emergent bass-minded producer Visionist drops this selection of brief vignettes for Lit City Trax, who previously dealt out some material from DJ Rashad amongst others. It's a strange brew the artist deals in, informed by the primal nature of grime with its bold melodies and unfussy arrangements, except a large portion of the rhythmic motion has been robbed from these tracks. "Lost" features as little thrust in its half-step beat as possible, while "Pain" goes as far as to just use the Casio vocal samples to propel the tune instead of using any kind of beat. "Escape" puts paid to this implied groove with a sharp and snappy set of drums that slice through the spooky arpeggios and primary-coloured melodies, only for everything to settle down once more with the mellow, new age imbued tones of "The Call" and "I Don't Care".
Review: Having been bubbling up for some time now with essential tracks released for the likes of Keysound and left_blank, Visionist drops his most essential productions yet for the excellent LNUK crew. "Circles" sees him deliver one of the best examples of the futuristic grime that's been doing the rounds recently, moving from a sparse rhythm track filled with somersaulting, reverb-laden synth weirdness and chopped up vocals. "Iris" sees the producer turn in a kind of demented take on UK funky, as a rolling machine groove is given artificial life with an equally mechanical set of chords, delivering a kind of weird UK version of Dance Mania's rubbery drum tracks.
Review: Keysound bring together a gaggle of relatively fresh names to throw it down in a rowdy fashion. Walton rips into action under a hail of gunshots, deploying some deadly grime strings over a pulsing UK Funky rhythm. Gremino meanwhile has his own brand of virulent bass music to share, moving scattily through all manner of brutal synth notes before pulling off a shockingly long drop out, only to come back barking the same lurching mantra. Visionist is more dextrous with "Come In", scattering a manic array of vocal samples over a moody backbone. Vibezin rounds things off with possibly the most essential cut, catching a strange soundtrack vibe in the midst of a snapping found-sound beat that sounds as future as it gets right now.