Reviewed this week
Bristol bass badboy DISTRO is back on the unstoppable 877 imprint with nothing but new flavours, bringing through the absolute heat-o! The lead tune "Soundboy Killer" is all guns blazing, churning out the snares alongside some dutty, dubwise vocal samples and mystical melodic infusions that make this a true dub-stepper. "WMPI" is a similar sort of beast, except here the groove is very much based on the 'bashment' end of the scale, blowing out the speakers with a keen aggression and some fiery-mannered beat-crafting. All killer, no filler!
Following on from his debut form last year, Dream Cycle returns to Sneaker Social Club with three supplementary doses of bass-centric tech-stomping. Thanks to strong elements of dub techno, Chicago house and UK dubstep, Dream Cycle has crafted his own sound, his own way, and he now belongs to the realm of what we like to call 'legends'. The opening "Influence" is a weighty, rolling slice of broken beat, minus the jazz, while "Afters (3am mix)" takes a look at UK garage for inspiration, and "DCYX 5" rolls on through with a badness and intent that we always saw in peeps like Derrick Carter or Glenn Underground. BAAAD!
DEEMZ is a new four-track EP by UK beat merchant Allen Wooton aka Deadboy, following up great releases on Aus Music, Ten Thousand Yen and New Atlantis. Incorporating techno, house and more, it is one one of his strongest records of late and sees him return to the dancefloor aesthetics of his previous releases. From the jagged, bass-heavy futurism of the title track, the street level tech house shuffle of "R Less" or the splintered industrial beats of "Come Back To The World" the now Montreal based artist further proves that he is a sonic force to be reckoned with.
Appleblim, one of the figures who we can associate with the birth and rise of dubstep, has been releasing since 2005. That's now 13 years of experimenting with bass and dance equations. However, Life In A Laser is his debut album, having only ever released singles or remixes up until. His big release comes via Sneaker Social Club, and it takes his sound somewhere it hadn't been before - the doorways of Berlin. That is not meant to imply that this is straight-up techno - not at all! It's the style and aesthetics used by Appleblim which give a much more polished and rounded approach to the way he makes music now. These 9 tracks are, in one way or another, dance-oriented, but there is a story to tell and a clear thread running throughout. One thing is always evident, however, and that's his extensive use of percussion and quality production work, championed from the infamous hardcore dynasty. LUSH.
Leeds bass-boy Breaka comes through on the Holding Hands label with an irrefutably fiery blend of licked-up sonics and dubbed-out beats that perfectly encapsulate all the right things regarding UK bass. In detail, "Rory's Theme" is a slo-mo jungle experiment with a wonderful array of aqueous atmospherics, while "Puffer Jackets" breaks out more of a groove thanks to its quasi 4/4 beat, and the Desert Sound Colony remix ends on a gentle deep house tip that will carry you far out into space. Lovely stuff.
The ever-effective Hyperboloid imprint return this week with a new artist by the name of A.Fruit. Everything seems to be in order, then. Veering off from their usual blend of outsider electronics, "Days" kicks off like a speeding bullet, smashing through the speakers with a malovence that we haven't heard since the late 90s jungle days, while "Three Six Nine" loosens the groove to unleash a fiery concoction of half-step tribalism. The same goes for "Reflection In Your Eyes, albeit slowed down, and the lead track "Your Inner Sun" washes away any rave hysteria with a much gentler, more symphonic approach that is akin to post-dubstep. Wonderful stuff here.
In regards to bass-centric labels, it would not be a bold claim to say that Timedance kills it on every front. In recent years, as the label has grown, they've release an absurd amount of quality music, all from a selection of new and fresh-minded producers; this compilation, Patina Echoes, simply portrays the label's style, aesthetics and diversity with all sorts of different sounds that seem to have a particular sort of impact together. Simo Cell's "Consider The Internet", for example, is a dark and cavernous wormhole of drums and dread that fits in seamlessly with the likes of Bruce's music or Ploy's incredible "=O". A compilation with many talents and one vision. Recommended.
Samurai Breaks debuts on Forest Biz with his third release to date, and we have to say that his particular strain of beat-driven bass music is becoming more and more addictive by the week. Pick N Mix is a perfect representation of both his skills and style, mashing up all sorts of East Asian influences together with rough, percolating beats from the depth of the UK hardcore spectrum. Broken, jagged, lagged-up and bassed-out, this is the gnarliest form of UK-steppin' that we've heard in donkey's years, and it forms what is likely to be a long and prosperous road ahead for Samurai Breaks. Large up!!!
When it comes to all things bass-related, you can safely count on the Lowup imprint for good vibes and absolutely all sorts of flavours to get the dancehall going! Usually, they're the masters of the EP format, but this various artists compilation couldn't have come soon enough; thanks to the diversity of artists that they have on their catalogue now, it was only a matter of time before the likes of DJ Mellow, Tommy Kid and Klan Guru got together under one roof. There are fifteen killer cuts on here, all showcasing something different and equally explorative, form the Arabic-inspired sounds of Gan Gah's "Violons", to Kid Cala's quirky house oddities, and Jowaa' creole club sounds. Outernational music for extraterrestrial people.
Steevio's output has largely progressed through the Mindtours imprint up until now, but this new EP for Wisdom Teeth is e exactly the sort medication required to push this talented young artist in the direction of open-minded bass enthusiasts. "Syzygy" is a strange and intricate piece of music, swirling its quirky Percussion folds with the same ease as the original Bristol bass crew, with the same going for the understated groove that is "Hiraeth"; badman Batu comes rolling through with the remix and, unsurprisingly, smashed it on all fronts. Killah!
By now, the prodigious ZERO has racked up an absurd amount of releases, with pretty much all of them being worthy of praise, not least for their 'hybrid' nature and dance-centric sway. The man's up on Broken Music Syndicate this time, coming through with the bold sonics of "End Game"; backed by a broken 4/4 groove, the tune smashes out UK bass tones all over the shop, bumping and winding with the sole objective of getting you to rave out in the dance! Fire!
Australian Mark Harwood is a publisher (Penultimate Press), event curator and sound artist who is now residing in London. He appears for Ostgut Ton diffusion imprint Unterton, following up some intriguing sonic experiments for hometown heroes A Colourful Storm that had a political focus: namely Berlin's gentrification. Now with some jagged and angular techno experiments that the label have best described themselves as 'psychedelic beat science.. at times tranquil and hypnotic, other times charging forward between cracked whips and whiplash left-turns.' "Know No Out Only In" and "Veiling Hazards" are chilling avant-garde soundscapes, while "See In Symbols" is an advanced drum 'n' bass experiment calling to mind the late '90s work of Photek or Optical.
Sheffield bass pranksters Future Wildstyle are back on Seven Four Two with yet more quality bass aesthetics, all primed and ready for dance floor domination. The lead tune, Check Baby Check, couldn't be from anywhere but Sheffield, launching a toxic bassline over broken, repetitive vocal samples that must be plaid loud and destructive! "Piano Days", as the name suggests, is more soulful in style and execution, bringing in elements of old-school UK raving into the mix, not to mention some delightfully placed breaks to launch the tune into hyper-space. Top work from the boys..!
Moveltraxx is proud to launch a new series of releases. They asked some of their favorite DJs to make a mix with tracks from their catalogue. For the first edition, it's over to young french DJ/producer Alex Autajon. Alex is from Lyon and makes forward-thinking club tracks. After a few web releases he appeared on Moveltraxx "Street Bangers Factory" series. His work features skippy, syncopated beats with whirling synths, booty-claps, gunshots and weighty low-end. The mix features selected club hits and rare gems from the label to create this fire mix of hybrid club music featuring music from MikeQ, Feadz, Big Dope P, Nadus and many more. Alex is currently putting the finishing touches to his debut solo release coming out later this year. All tracks are previously released on the label.
Car Crash Set welcome Cos BV back to their catalogue this week, although the producer is only back on executive terms, while the spotlight is taken by an interesting set of remixers. His "Knife" tune is remixed and rewired by all sorts of capable bass junkies, including his and 214's excellent dub version, a bundle of bass and irate vibrations, Ezekiel's killer broken beat cut, and the warm house waves provided by the Love Bites reinterpretation. Not one to miss from both label and artist!
French bass newcomer Sylvene returns to Sans Absence after his delightful opening EP, continuing to offer the scene with a fresh breeze of low frequencies that are, in our minds, evolving the genre further still. "Manumission" is a broken yet energetic bass pounder with Sylvere's trademark atmospherics, while "That Feeling" is in an all-out dance number with nothing but beats firing off at all angles. "Straightjacket" is our top pick from the lot, a grime-ridden club number that sounds as if it were made in the jungle (check that BASS!), leaving "Final Skank" to provide the criola vibes with its morphed, wayward Portugese vocals. Some real bangers here - check it!
Shanghai based music, art and fashion collective SVBKVLT is one of the landmark brands in China. Gaz, who is also the owner of Shanghai clubs The Shelter and ALL intends to excavate talented musicians in China and showcase good music from neighboring countries. They return with the second EP from Osheyack entitled Empty Hell, where the American expatriate incorporates gabber, industrial techno, ballroom and more. Containing three original tracks: from the brutal and textured metal beast that is "Parataxon" or the furious breakneck onslaught of "I Not Me" - bear witness to some truly contorted perspectives of club music. Plus remixes from KABLAM and Via App. The release was inspired by a text written by Jordan Tierney, and features artwork by Dre Romero.
Run by KEXP DJ Alex Ruder, Hush Hush Records is dedicated to curating an emotional and introspective sound, that's free of specific genre boundaries and ideal for headphone sessions, late-night travels and intimate encounters.The music of Idaho native Matt Lucas has been capturing ears with his precision crafted beats ever since moving to Seattle in 2013. The city's spring season is an unpredictable yet beautiful time of the year and provides a strong influence on the four tracks contained on the Fall In Love EP. From the deep and ethereal future beat experiment that is "Beacon", the rough and dusty urban vibe of "Baptist" or the epic trance deconstruction of "Corsica" which is at one both exhilarating yet evocative at the same time.
ZERO - End Game (Broken Music Syndicate)
STEEVIO - WSDM008 (Wisdom Teeth)
COS BV - Thousand Knives Of Cos BV (Car Crash Set)
VARIOUS - Modus Operandi: Alex Autajon (Moveltraxx)
VARIOUS - Patina Echoes (Timedance)
FUTURE WILDSTYLE - Check Baby Check (Seven Four Two)
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