Reviewed this week
Sheffield by way of Bristol's Wolfe are comprised of three blokes named Arthur Sam and Alex who have been making some of the sickest UK garage and bass music around for some time, as well as smashing raves across the UK with their trademark blend of everything from bassline, house, grime and UK funky. Having said that, this debut EP on Hot Cakes Bass sees the duo step up another level entirely. "Temptations" is a UK bass number, mashing classic diva vocals, rude basslines and mad UK funky styled drum work for a track that can't fail to get them moving in the dance. Next offering "Desire" sees them expertly execute some dark deep dubstep which will no doubt get some street level sci-fi paranoia happening.
Noisia's Division crew fire up the Partial machine for another time-bending trip into future beats. The third outing this year, the focus remains firmly on the most unconventional, provocative and forward-thinking ideas and sounds. Gullier than a night out in a sanctuary with the director of the RSPB, fusion highlights range from Noer The Boy's twisted broken glass bass scrapes on "Quarters" to the toxic distorted bass, wild drum shatters and sub-aquatic technoid murmers of "Shapeless Husk" via Samba's warped lolloping drums and spooked harmonics on "Blister". 100% unique and forward-thinking, few labels are investing in the beat game's most creative quarters as dedicatedly and progressively as Division.
Bad to the bone... Following his remarkable fusions with Earth earlier this year, the Bug continues to flex his finest collaborative muscles with two dirty, paranoid grime cuts. Flowdan takes the lead with an autobiographical tale over a cosmic dirge that palpitates with industrial rawness. Next up: Killa P and Irah who get savage over a sizzling reese bassline that builds and smoulders with intensity of a Hardware night at The End in 2005. Complete with two riddims, this is The Bug at his most direct and dangerous and ready for the dance.
Arkajo doesn't care as much as others when it comes to meticulously pacing releases, and instead, has chosen to churn out two banging EPs at roughly the same time. The man's got one out right now on Bror Records, as well as this new killer for Brotherhood Sound System, taking the minimal equation back into the limelight. The title tune "Panacea" rocks and echoes majestically, flowing through the speakers with fluid motion and a cavernous, almost tribal sense of rhythm, while "Tape8" strips much of that bulk down to a razor-sharp techno bullet with a crafty groove, and "Tape15" bundles a myriad of glacial bleeps and bouncy drums together under one tight roller that's reminiscent of the Perlon output.
Vellum's here and if you don't like it you'll be advised to swivel. Don't worry, with vibes these strong, raw and gully as these, you're guaranteed to like them. We kick off with the speed garage jammer "Swivel" featuring the classic MC tones of UKG OG Vapour before we're plunged into Vellum's twisted barbed bass world; "Landslide" is a gang-riding grime burner, "Vancouver Bass" flips the UKG bird while "Avenue" and "Fizzt" are all about soft-focus sultry two-step skips and "Braggard" just straight up decapitates. Swivellingly cheeky.
Man like KXVU returns to Simply Deep for his first full label EP and he's packing the classical tones. "Guinevere" is all about the orchestration and variation as various instruments layer and strip back over a sprightly melody. Grand but not garish, it's one for the big dreamers and full steamers. Other highlights include the Joker-style walkabout bassline and pipe-blazing melodic flourishes of "Lancealot" while "Artorius Castus" is the ultimate finale fight sequence in the Roman drama of your life. A real Ben Hurrter, you might say. Throw in remixes from Opus (sub-oceanic trippy tropical) and Hamdi (24th century trap) and you've got yourself a killer collection. Baroque and roll.
RDWRK have launched their second full release in the capable hands of bassline and UK funky veteran; Killjoy. Since being one of the launching forces behind the ever present Tumble Audio back in 2012, Killjoy has become a certified household name within the UK bass scene, always bringing original flavour to the table. This latest 2 tracker is no different. The A-side 'Understand' combines UK funky rhythms, choppy vocal slices and eskimo like pulsating square waves with powerful results. On the flip 'Banzai' gives us a vibrant introduction, featuring sparkling organs and percussive patterns which open the doors for some extremely weighty bass synthesis later on. After hearing this one it's safe to say that Killjoy remains one of the most creative out there right now!
Call the cops. Crimes! is back on Vandal and he's raising absolute ruddy hell. From the moment those spiralling synths do a medieval dance around your senses on "Hevee" you know there's some serious warrants out for his arrest. With its ravey detuned twist "Fuqusound" is all about the trespassing into more neighbouring genres than you knew possible, "Witchside" is a proper joyride for a brawl two towns over while "95" is an open and shut case of pure regicide as majestic tones get flipped into a loosely-shaken pool of wobbly gully. Make no mistakes, Crimes! is a lifer. Let's hope they never find the key.
For all his innovation, Burial has historically shied away from delivering full-throttle, mind-altering club bangers. Certainly, we can't remember him serving up anything as rhythmically intense as the two dystopian techno slammers showcased on this EP. Both feature many of his usual sonic trademarks - oodles of vinyl crackle, end-of-days aural textures and creepy ambient electronics - but are underpinned by bombastic 4/4 beats rather than sparse, post-dubstep rhythms. "Pre-Dawn", a dense and incredibly intense affair, is the more energetic and instant of the two, though weirder and looser "Indoors", which contains some pitched-up rave-era vocal samples and woozy riffs amongst its highlights, is also very impressive.
Montreal's Lunice and acclaimed producer The Alchemist link up for a collaborative EP for the Scottish LuckyMe imprint. It was created in conjunction with Red Bull for their BC One World Finals (in conjunction with Dutch streetwear brand Patta) that took place in Amsterdam. Although being two producers from different backgrounds, they worked together in order to create 'a unique soundscape for breakers and fans alike.' Moving Parts is a diverse, modern and engaged take on traditional break music for a new generation. From the modern drum & bass perspectives of "Pathwave" or "Suspended Animation" to the jagged and angular juke/footwork attempts like on "Revolutions Per Seconds" and the deep grime of "Clockwork", there's some stunning diversity on display. Recorded at the Red Bull Studios in Los Angeles and Amsterdam and commissioned for the world's best break dancers to dance to in the finals.
Remarkably, Medhi Benjelloun had barely turned 17 when he released his first EP as Petit Biscuit. A year on, and with his 18th birthday fast approaching, the French Moroccoan starlet is ready to deliver his debut album. By anyone's standards, it's a hugely entertaining and well-produced affair, with Benjelloun effortlessly joining the dots between slick synth-soul, jazzy Balearica, toasty electronica, tactile pop, Dam Funk, the chopped and screwed future R&B of Hudson Mohawke and the kind of glistening, sun-kissed deep house that Southern French producers have become renowned for in recent years. That it's so assured and immaculately produced is testament to the French youngster's incredibly advanced studio skills, while the music itself is imaginative and attractive enough to appeal to both serious heads and more casual listeners.
KXVU - Guinevere (Simply Deep) - exclusive 20-11-2017
WOLFE - Temptation EP (Hot Cakes Bass) - exclusive 31-12-2017
THE BUG - Bad/Get Out The Way (NInja Tune)
KILLJOY - Understand/Banzai (RDWRK)
VELLUM - Swivel (Inspected)
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