Reviewed this week
Paul Woolford's second album under the Special Request alias is a very different beast to its predecessor, 2013's Soul Music. While that was little less than a strobe-fired romp through Woolford's early, rave-era influences, Belief System is an altogether more complex and considered affair. With 23 tracks, the album took three years to produce, contains a number of modular hardware explorations, and features elements of tracks recorded by Woolford as far back as 1993. The sheer breadth and depth of the material is, at times, staggering, as the veteran Leeds producer giddily mixes and matches elements of electro, techno, cinematic soundtracks, hardcore, acid, jungle and experimental electronica. In a word: stunning.
Cold like winter. Cold like your soul if you're not physically and spiritually wounded by the depth and space at play on the lead cut on this titanic b2b between Southpoint affiliates Noble & JFO's. "Cold" does more damage than an open bar tab on results night. Elsewhere "Delta" digs deep into sub harmonics over a classically chiselled grime step while "Natural" hammers out with a rifle-like staccato riddim that switches slickly and sickly into mad spacious dubstep and acid technoid sections. Next level Tumblage.
The fifth release from Chicago's Teklife Records is Greenlight by DJ Manny. The label audaciously claims that it is 'a masterclass in footwork production' by one of their leading figures: and it's a fair call. Born and raised on the southside of Chicago, Manny has been dancing since the age of 10 and is said to have some of the best moves on the scene. The footwork sound 'has developed in unison with the dance style that accompanies it' and he has an intuition for what works on the dancefloor when channelling his energy in the studio. Instead of sampling (like many of his peers on the scene), he has created his own sounds on the album, giving it a more personal touch. Tracks like "Ghost Out" are dark and dystopian street sound, while there are mellower moments like "You Looking Good" (bridging the gap between liquid drum & bass) while the spitfire beats of "Life In This Bitch" features frequent collaborator on the album: DJ Taye.
The Danish doing UK bass on a brand new Munich label Ruffhouse: every direction you check this, it sounds and feels legit. "122 Eden Beach" busses up traces and trails of Baltimore, UK funky and post garage with caverns of dubspace between each militant and technoid element. "Street Lights" dips the lamps for a lower, slower ambient jam that's loosely laced with classical motifs and instrumentation. Remix-wise label founder Top Shotta and Danny Scrilla razz out on the edits with much more of a ghetto feel to the groove on "122 Eden Beach" while SCNTST adds a classic jungle break to "Street Lights". The digital versin comes with two extra tracks; "Deeper Causes" is an atmospheric amen tearout, heavy on the choppage, light and airy on the pads. "The Happy Fall" is an avalance of claps, cowbells, chops and screws. What an absolute dream of a debut release. Sleeping is not advised.
Oh my goodness, if you're a fan of old school grime, dubstep and of good music in general you'll love these tracks. Both on different tips 'Ar Kid' is violent and twisted and will have blasting those gun fingers to the warping dubstep drops and catchy hook which will have you becoming fully fledged hype man. 'Ships' is one of those track with that magical balance of complex simplicity, between the clicks, drips and whirls there's so much space in the track allowing you to focus on Kwam's exceptional delivery.
James Edward Jacob came out of the dubstep scene, but the London based producer has since been quite diverse within his sound, releasing records via Shy FX's Digital Soundboy and Tiga's harder hitting Twin Turbo imprint. His new release lifted arrives courtesy of his own Boom Ting imprint with some interesting takes on directly executed moments for the dancefloor. Take "Hovver It" for instance, where a wonky/grinding UK bassline takes charge over minimal breaks on this contorted take on electro. He proves his deft hard at Bristolian style techno on "Paranoid" where bouncy kicks and howling drum patterns back a Marcel Dettmann style plucked melody. Similarly "Ghost Optics" tears up the blueprint of another genre to give a modern reinterpretation - in this case drum & bass: and it's impressive.
Mysterious UK producer returns with more grey area perspectives, courtesy of Felix K's label. These three tracks lurk in the grey area: the space between techno and drum and bass. The first version of "Persistence Of Memory" is a textured dub techno experiment, redolent of classic Basic Channel by way of Italian hypnotic techno sensibilities. A raw, brazenly analogue and bass heavy thumper represents the second rendition, much in the vein of Clone Basement Series or Livity Sound: keeping in mind that he appeared on the latter with his previous EP Jinx/Scanners earlier in 2017. Persistence Of Memory 3 shows a side of the producer not seen since his Jungle Crack EP last year. This is a pure techstep: late '90s style and calls to mind the early work of Trace or Ed Rush & Optical where this producer possibly returns to their roots.
Is it justified to say that pretty much every release on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder is a total winner? We like to think so. Lapalux aka Stuart Howard returns to the mighty imprint with this new extended EP, a five-track voyage into the unknown, aptly names The End Of Industry. Where does it go from here? Are we destined to be slaves of AI into the distant future? These are the sorts of questions and visions that emanate from this striking piece of work. Vast landscapes of electronics paint a desolate yet rich picture of the future, and we're wondering why Lapalux wasn't called up to orchestrate some of the soundtrack from the Blade Runner 2049. Highly recommended.
After a period of personal issues and a formative trip to Ghana, Cervo combines his love for field recordings with his take on the classic house structures. Following up great releases for the likes of Lumberjacks In Hell, the end result is slightly harder than his previous work, but signifies his growth and development as an artist. The thumping tribal house of "Deyo" calls to mind classics such as "Women Beat Their Men" or KC Flightt's "Voices" and it's a right banger! Second offering "Kasoa" has more of a rough and dusty aesthetic, with flourishes of hip-hop and disco thrown into the mix for moody and sweaty late night groove. The UK based producer, DJ and co-founder of club night Banana Hill is said to be making his way back to Ghana for more inspiration and we can't wait to hear what's in store for us next.
Fresh from appearing on Astrophonica's Gradients collection, Lowriding Lewis James makes his full EP debut with "Shapeshifter". The title track sets the scene with measured chill charm before "Ferro" ups the ante with a blissful pitched-up vocal and dramatic high-tension drum groove and acidic bass plunges while "Your Love Is A Power" explores more of a jungle structure with a mystic loop and a scorching vocal from Dan Dans K. Finally we hurtle back, nose-first, into this stinking planet with the gnarled-out hard-stepper "Turbo". The name gives you all the clues you need. Lewis is bang on the money right here.
Kuwaiti musician Fatima Al Qadiri returns for her third release on Hyperdub, following up last year's full length entitled 'Brute'. "Shaneera" is the English mispronunciation of the Arabic word, 'shanee'a'. In one iteration of the word, it is queer slang used in Kuwait and some Arab countries - a positive and desirable light is shed on these attributes here. The lyrics are suggestive, incorporating some original and re-recorded material from Grindr chats, online drag and femme comedy skits. The language is a mixture of Kuwaiti and Egyptian Arabic, plus an Iraqi proverb. Sonically, the record combines Khaleeji (Arab Gulf), Western drum kits and Arabesque melodies. Al Qadiri is based in New York City and explores experiences of war, memory, Western perceptions of other cultures and issues of socio cultural identity throughout her work.
Leeds based K-Lone is back with a great one on DJ Parris' Soundman Chronicles after releases on Wych, Wisdom Teeth and Badimup. The dark ambient intro to "Old Fashioned" is quite the way to build the suspense and tension, until the slow motion beat drops beneath all the dubbed out industrial textures. Next up, the deep dubstep on "In The Dust Of This Planet" takes a turn for the esoteric (and almost beatless) on this fantastically immersive piece. Finally, the O$VMV$M (did we get that right?) remix up next is reminiscent of early Burial: lo-fi/sci-fi dystopian vibes that are perfect mood lighting for that stoned journey home on the nightbus on a Sunday evening. Great stuff here following up some great releases on the label by Rabit, Etch and Wen.



Is it justified to say that pretty much every release on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder is a total winner? We like to think so. Lapalux aka Stuart Howard returns to the mighty imprint with this new extended EP, a five-track voyage into the unknown, aptly names The End Of Industry. Where does it go from here? Are we destined to be slaves of AI into the distant future? These are the sorts of questions and visions that emanate from this striking piece of work. Vast landscapes of electronics paint a desolate yet rich picture of the future, and we're wondering why Lapalux wasn't called up to orchestrate some of the soundtrack from the Blade Runner 2049. Highly recommended.
Exclusives
NOBLE & JFO - Cold (Tumble Audio) - exclusive 18-10-2017
SPECIAL REQUEST - Belief System (Houndstooth)
LAMONT - Ar Kid (877)
Exclusives
FATIMA AL QADIRI - Shaneera EP (Hyperdub)
SAIDWHO X PELIKANN - Cardiac/Palpitate (Gully UK)
LAPALUX - The End Of Industry
Top Labels
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