Reviewed this week
Newcomer De-Tu debuts on White Peach with some absurdly off-kilter dubstep, on the same tip as Mala's best entries for his own Deep Medi Musik. The title tune, "Koshi", is an Eastern-tinged samurai affair with a looming dread bass emanating from the underbelly of its groove, leading beautifully into the vocally-led beats of "Sippin'", a pseudo-hip-hop tune driven by a darkly lit hardcore vibe. "Slap" ends on a more placid note, dissipating the beats and low frequencies into an itchy, mechanical bass rhythm.
Over the years, Felix Manuel's DJRUM project has been an important reference within the so-called 'post-dubstep' scene, which has conveniently been reimagined as 'bass' music. The artist was and still is a big part of the 2nd Drop catalogue, having released an LP and countless singles on the imprint, so it's no surprise that Belgium's mighty R&S have called upon his services. He comes through with his second album, Portrait With Firewood, and it's a much more contemplative piece of work that spreads much further than mere dance tooling, often dissipating into contemplative ambient rhythms with a post-modernist spin. Tunes like "Waters Rising" provide mystique and wonder, while others like "Sex" call to the dancefloor or even some solid meditation, much like the placid waters of "Sparrows". More than anything else, this is a true album from start to finish, constantly wondering into abstractions and then back again for some serious beat throw-downs. Excellent.
DEPF comes through with the Sapyens label's sixth outing thus far, touching down with some seriously ethereal bass vibes. Going beyond the regular formulas, DEPF's first tune, "Relic", has sharp, edgy bass at its core but the emotion and mystique comes from the smoky haze of the synths circling above it. "Monolith" is a sharper, moodier tune that blends drums and bass into an imperceptible cocktail of sonics, while the Squane remix of "Relic" transforms the original cut into a more dance-centric joint, adding in a subtle 4/4 structure to give it the right kind of movement.
Ebb and Akcept have been hanging around in the same circles since their first releases bagan to drop, but this is the first time they collaborate and appear on the same EP. The collaboration comes courtesy of the young Fox & Hound Recordings, with the toxic sway of "Wild Wood" unleashing on the dance-floor - bleeps and broken beats all-round! Ebb drops to of his own tunes as a follow-up, with "Sun Drips" entering a much noisier, more industrial landscape of beats and sounds, and "Yearning" bashing out all sort of dread vibrations thanks to a rolling sequence of bass drums. Sublime tactics.
With garage and UK bass music really establishing themselves as worldwide genre sensations over the last 2 years or so, it's pleasing to see some high quality compilations making their way to the shelves. This particular selection from the Clubbers Culture outlet is jam packed with 4x4 goodness, boasting a more european tint, including some stormers from the likes of Sophia Shy, Riser and more. For us the standouts have to include the pulsating techy tones of 'Parallel' from HVLES and of course the skippier flavours of Cale Jara's 'Feel The Force'. Overall, this is a potent collection with some serious weight on board!
Founding Southpoint crewdem Drax comes correct with this deliciously trippy and singular six track mini album/mega EP hybrid. As always, it's laced with a faraway charm with many references to the fair east in its tonal and textural treatment. At points mind bending chaos (the wild Brainfeeder style IDM jitters and chops of "Meka"), at others delicate, honest and emotional (the smoky barbed post love song "Move On") and others pure 23rd century dancefloor (the spring "Strain") this is Drax at his deepest, most detailed and most direct.
Astronomar seems very well-positioned to reign supreme over the future of troop and house, with this new EP for Main Course sounding like it could appeal across the board...and throughout the clubs. "Throw Yo Hood Up" is driven bby a steady 4/4 beat but the vocal samples and minimalistic drum-machine melodies make it something altogether more hob rind in nature, and a whole lot more experimental. "Proteins" is similarly wacky and phased-out, with raucous vocal chops once again stomping through the harsh percussion shots, while "Exit D" performs a glitchy rave dance filled with bleeps and mildly industrial nuances, leaving "Slangin This Dick" to (explicitly) lash out a banging, hypnotic loop of bad manners and chunky breaks.
Paige Julia steps out of the Totally Roasted Digital roster and onto the Forest Biz books, making for a wonderful evolution to this artist's sound and vision. Prestige In An Honorless Society starts off with the lingering 'wobble-bass' of "Source", before turning even nastier and more intricate thanks to the fast-firing half-breaks of "Honorless" - also guided by a sweltering wave of grainy bass. "Black Sheep" is slower, darker and moodier, while "Bereft" lingers at a mid-tempo stride alongside subtle infusions of shuffling drums, earth-shattering low frequencies, and an altogether 'doom metal' kind of aesthetic.
Flexout Audio is a London based record label established in 2011, owned and run by Bassi. Its latest offering is from up and coming South African producer of It Hz fame Jon Casey - who serves up the label's 13th edition. It features four up-front cuts that will knock your socks off: from the bombastic deep dubstep journey of "Dimes", the serious low end antics of "Cranky" (which really push your speaker's threshold) and the hypnotic polyrhythms of "Birdbrain" with its reduced drum expressions that show a meticulous attention to detail.
Following up great releases by the likes of Distro, Affiliate and Negativ, Brighton bass and garage experts 877 return with local man of many talents: KXVU. He joins the team with his take on dark and minimal UK funky. He is co-founder of the renowned Southpoint label and is a prolific producer in his own right. From the bombastic bounce of lead track "Jaguar" ( which receives a killer rework by Italian Lorenzo BITW that lunges right for the jugular!) to the fierce and frantic bass attack of "Sukai" - we believe this talented young artist has found his truly comfort zone sonically.
his devious blend of techno sounds to a less minimally-minded dance audience. His strain of industrialism is loud and audible on "Forewarned Is Forearmed", a steely, broken techno rhythm that gather more and more pace as the deathly sonics cave in, while "Common Ancestor" ounces on fluidly without the help of any kick drums. "Doublethink" is an ode to 1984 dystopia, a wide soundscape of liquid drums and eerie melodies swirling over head, leaving "Atlas" to ponder in a dark, intricate whirlpool of sludgy melodies and broken percussion shots. Recommended!
After various excellent appearances for the Mollen imprint, Subliminal lands on the Ortem label with his characteristically percussive strain of bass experimentation. In fact, we haven't heard a tune like "Data Loader" in a long time, sounding a bit like Alix Perez's minimal d&b produce. The rest of the EP follows suit, with "Konl" rolling out into a minimalistic jungle killer from outer space, "Austari KA:lir" using the same flex to land on a more dubwise leaning, and "Polyphasic" drawing those breaks in to unleash a sweltering, oceanic bass wave that subtly recalls some of LTJ's output on the legendary Good Lookin' label.
Boysnoize Records simply have not stopped releasing killer music for the past ten years. The German outfit, run by Boysnoize himself, has kept genres evolving and styles trending, from electro to house and anything bass-related. This new release from Naeem feels like a match made in heaven, with the sounds of "sway(e)d" making for the perfect soundtrack to this summer's grime comeback and keeping us loved up with this blend of '03 beats and curb-side vocal mannerisms. The "TV" version is more sparse and focussed on the percussion shots, acting as the perfect 'dub' version, while the instrumental gives you a chance to lay down some Plastician-like sets, if you're up to the task...
Croydon's Chris Reed aka Plastician tells us that his usual grime shenanigans are held back for their own release in the near future, following this current release entitled Overdue: an EP named due to the lateness of the release, as well as an ode to his two children who were born beyond full-term pregnancy. All good things are worth waiting for he says, on this ode to his wife and kids for putting up with him, and a result of his love hate relationship with music. Across these seven tracks, his dubstep roots are still audible, with a healthy influx of Wavepool/Terrorhythm influenced numbers to boot - picking up up where his last LP Beg To Differ (2007) left off.
Berlin based Through My Speakers is a family united by a love for music. They create, share and host beats and productions across multiple platforms, from events to record releases. Their next release comes courtesy of Detroit based sound creator V I B | S N D S. His mother made him grow up listening to singers such as Roberta Flack, Etta James and Leontyne Price, while his dad introduced him to funk - prior to his understanding of hip-hop and its use of sampling. This promising young producer serves up some deeply urbanised, street level beats on the emotive tip throughout the terrific Stress Relief EP. From the evocative and bittersweet opener "You", the soothing modern soul of the title track with its sturdy beat arrangement, or the ethereal street-level blues of "Forward".
Not to be mixed up with the 1980s italo-disco crew, 'bassist' Aleph returns ot the Renraku imprint with the second instalment of his self-titled series. Much like the previous edition, there are low frequencies for all here, mashing up dubstep, trap and anything remotely attached to the hardcore continuum. Now that we're in 2018, however, it's much more difficult to unpack these sounds as belonging to specific genres, and this is emphasized further by his own creativity in the studio. For instance, tunes like "Goliath" or "Monolith" enter a new territory of bass music, shifting conventional notions of tempo, arrangement and aesthetic to fit in line with today's industrial trend. "Scintillations" is our favourite cut on here, mainly because it reminds us of AFX's early experiments. Look out for this guy in the coming months...
Exclusives
VIBISNDS - Stress Relief EP (Through My Speakers)
DEPF - Relic (Sapyens) - exclusive 31/08/2018
KXVU feat BANZAI - Jaguar / Sukai (877 (UK))
Exclusives
SUBMINIMAL - Polyphasic (Ortem)
JON CASEY - WAVE013 (Flexout Audio)
EBB/AKCEPT - Wild Wood (Fox & Hound Recordings)
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