Review: Jamaica's Equiknoxx have spent the last decade re-inventing dancehall for the 21st century, delivering a swathe of releases that look further afield than Kingston for inspiration. Bird Sound Power is, somewhat surprisingly, their first appearance on vinyl, and sees them pop up on Demdike Stare's experimentally-minded DDS imprint. Featuring a mix of brand new cuts and previously released - but largely unknown - jams, it's a set that impresses with both its' rhythmic dexterity, and its' obvious inventiveness. Their 'riddims' veer from the punchy and rolling to the weird and out-there, with cute electronic flourishes, IDM influences, ambient chords and trill birdsong all adding to the humid, thrill-a-minute mood.
Review: At this point, whenever we see Pinch's name appear on a forthcoming list we buckle in for a long, explorative ride into the science of sound, with this latest album on Tectonic entitled 'Reality Tunnels' being exactly what the doctor ordered. Over the course of 10 stunning originals, we see Pinch flex his veteran production muscles with some of the most interesting and original creations we have heard this year, from the post-jungle designs of 'Entangled Particles' alongside Emika, to the space-age soundscaping of 'Back To Beyond' and post-dubstep marches of 'Returnity'. For us there are a pair of clear highlights, with the haunting vocals of 'Inezi' on 'Change Is A Must' sending shivers down our spines, alongside Killa P's war-ready vocal additions on 'Party'. Amazing work.
Review: A/T/O/S stands for A Taste Of Struggle, and it's safe to say that Amos and Truenoys have certainly put their backs into this project. The duo were originally picked up by Mala back on 2014, and haven't looked back ever since. This is their second LP to date and, much like their debut, it touches upon many different elements of the enlarged dubstep continuum. There's plenty of tunes on here that'll liven up any dance, but this is very much a pensive and meditative bass affair. Much in line with Mala's pioneering 'deep' dubstep, it's clear that the Deep Medi head honcho has foud some new, young, and like-minded talents to carry on his dynasty.
Review: Despite their incredibly consistent catalogue, it feels like Roska Kicks & Snares as an imprint has become even more special over the past year or so, with every new release levelling up the labels output. For their next selection, we see them welcome MOTU for a vibrant 8 track selection simply entitle 'Motu Collection', showcasing his quite frankly outstanding skillset, jam-packed with rhythmic gems left right and centre. From the wavy bass manoeuvres of 'Screwball' to the more carnival style drum work of 'Yeah Riddim' and stripped percussive magnificence of 'KCU', MOTU well and truly has UK funky covered. We also wanted to send a nod to the vocal collaborations on this one, as Nico Lindsay returns in fine from on 'Have To Know' alongside Killa P's electric performance on 'Tek Weh' and the mega collaborative flavours of 'Move', featuring PRM Project, DJ Polo, Roska & Blase Vanguard.
Review: As always, Sneaker Social Club have packed something special for us to enjoy as they welcome Foul Play inside for a 10 track LP, showcasing the full breadth of his production arsenal. From the junglist-inspired moog bass licks of 'Ricochet' to the experimental systematic reverberations of 'Dubbing You', we see a real grasp of the hardcore sound and it's inner workings. Highlight wise, we have to look at the computerized nostalgic sub switches of 'Feel The Vibe' alongside the system-busting bass pulses of 'Survival' which combines old school vocal slices with catchy melodic grooves to create something extremely pleasing indeed!
Review: Following on from an exceptional string of releases, we see the magnificent K-Lone land on Wisdom Teeth for a top quality LP project, showcasing just how forward thinking his sound is. The whole project is a masterclass in soundscaping and atmospheric processing, with a softened, almost meditative hypnosis running through the heart of the tracklisting. From the chiming melodies of 'Yelli' to the pleasing arpeggio expansions of 'Bluefin', it's just a fabulous listen. Although we would highly recommend taking this one in on long play, we would pick the constantly evolving percussive grooves of 'Cocoa' as our favourite for this one!
Review: Jim Coles' decision back in 2010 to implement a swerve in his sonic trajectory away from his hip-hop past as 2tall in favour of a more all-encompassing approach that touches on various strands of bass culture as Om Unit has paid off and then some. Subsequent releases on Exit, Autonomic, Civil Music, Metalheadz and his own Cosmic Bridge imprint have all shown Om Unit eminently capable of tempo shifting productions that appeal to fans of bass music, drum & bass and footwork alike. The latter has been explored further while the Dream Continuum collaboration with Machinedrum on Planet Mu and his Philip D. Kick alias where the link between Chicago's juke heritage and UK jungle was explored. All this and more is included on Threads, a debut Om Unit LP for Civil Music that deftly collates various strands (or threads) of his production career over the past fifteen years for a cohesive 15 track set that veers through of hip hop, dubstep, jungle and even house.
Review: Bass badboy Swindle rocks his way back onto the Butterz catalogue, a label he hadn't visited ever since his first releases four years back, after numerous outing on the mighty Deep Medi Musik and Planet Mu, among others. Peace, Love & Music is his first full-length work, and it's also the most diverse piece of music that he's put out so far. The opener "Gotta Do" is a true introduction of his skills, where strange instrumentation travels beneath radio edits calling his name, but every other track on here contains a wide range of sounds and influences, from jazz to R&B and even drum & bass, all coated in a familiar layer of bass to comfort the corner dwellers. It's a smacker, check it!
Review: As debut EPs go, Yves Thomas's first outing - on Rekids, no less - is not only rather impressive but also notably expansive. Over the course of seven varied tracks, the London-based, Bristol-raised DJ/producer/vocalist fully turns his hand to enveloping, slow-burn ambient ("Brain Dead"), spacey and dreamy breakbeat-house (the superb "MA1"), more robust and bass-heavy - but no less melodically detailed -dancefloor fare (the raw and weighty "River"), hypnotic late night fare ("Elephant & Snake"), jazzy intergalactic broken beat ("Callout FM"), drowsy electronica/synth-pop fusion ("Pilot") and immersive, acid-flecked deep-bruk business ("Birds of the Barbican").
Review: It's been an exciting ride for both group and listeners alike since Dark Sky first emerged some four years ago on Black Acre, with ever more impressive musical feats getting signed up to ever more respected labels, and now well and truly in the Modeselektor fold on both 50Weapons and Monkeytown, they offer up their debut album. It's an expansive listen, from the rich synth orchestrations of the title track to the catchy band-in-the-room groove of "Vivid", with the focus very much on home-listening interest over club dynamics. There are still some kicking moments such as the rushy arpeggio drop of "Odyssey", but on the whole this is an album of carefully composed melodies and finely chiseled sounds to accompany you in more personal, introspective moments.
Review: Be prepared for this one, most certainly not for the faint hearted as Dutch hardcore producer Nosferatu drops his much anticipated album on Be Yourself Music. Holland has long been the breeding ground for the worlds biggest hard dance talent with the likes of headhunterz and Wildstylez. Raw and vicious are two words the label use to describe the 25 tracks, which is a fitting summary.. that said there is plenty of clever melody work and the production is massive. There are plenty of MC / hype-man vocals throughout and appearances from the likes of Evil Activities, The Playah, and Ruffneck. If you like it hard, fast, and crazy, then don't waste anytime in grabbing this. Prepare for the walls and windows to shake and shatter!
Review: It's time to join the Dome of Doom crew for this one as they bring forward unto us, the latest album project from none other than Gnome Beats, an LA based producer who's incredibly smooth production style is gaining him quite the reputation. This project is made up of thirteen sumptuous originals, varying from the experimental clanks of 'Sleepless In Mojave' to the futuristic dance rhythms of 'Ai Kansha' alongside Kokoro Star and classic choppy hip hop flavours of 'Paradise Flip. There are a couple of clear standouts, including the bubbling electronic sounds of 'Firebird' and demonic harmonies of 'Odd Tropics' alongside Wylie Cable!
Review: Heavy tribal inspired industrial electronica lives on through SVBKVLT and their release of Seven Orbit's EP0001. The mysterious entity are adding a bass flavoured fervour to a sound similarly matched by De Leon by the way of Mana Records in 2018. This mysterious outfit however goes deep into Laurie Anderson territory with the vocal tipped "Ganglion", bringing with it the MESH styled electronics and Aisha Devi heaviness in "Mantis". Trippy industrial beatdowns wieldy enough for Perc Trax of Brainfeeders metal department hit hard in both "SandGrains" and "Ravevv101", while Mark Fell would be proud of the percussive synth action in Gooooose's remix to "Ganglion". Leaving Zaliva-D to go deepest dubstep in his "Mantis" remix. For the adventurous.
Review: Whenever we see the names Exit & DBridge attached to the same project, we know we are in for a hell of a ride, a theory that definitely rings true throughout this stunning new project entitled 'Inhibited'. The LP consists of jaw-dropping originals, showing off just how far ahead of the game DBridges drum construction and general sound design is at this point. From the melancholy clipping of percussion of 'Ether' and emotional atmospheric journeys of 'Climb Together' to the super techy metallic switch ups of 'The Frame', the project covers so much ground! Our initial highlights have to include the glorious harmonic structures and lo-fi percussion runs of 'December's Soul', alongside intense, alarm like synth design of 'Beg, Steal & Borrow'. Amazing work!
Review: Following on from a very impressive run of new singles, we are now introduced to the long awaited Flowdan album, going by the name of 'Full Metal Jacket'. In short, it is the perfect showcase of what Flowdan is all about, featuring 11 hard hitting creations with some top draw guest appearances from the likes of Frisco and Irah, the second of whom appears on both 'News At Ten' and 'Level'. For us, there a couple of immediate standouts from this project, which have to kick off with the demonic tones and harsh patois vocals of 'Deadly', followed by the hypnotic melodic experiments of 'Coldest' and the slower, more emotive instrumental flavour and vocal stylings of 'Deal Wid'. Excellent stuff!
DMVU & Deep Dark & Dangerous - "Dem Fi Kno" - (4:13) 140 BPM
CITY1 & Deep Dark & Dangeorus - "Pomboo" - (4:36) 105 BPM
Ternion Sound & Deep Dark & Dangeorus - "Funky Shit" - (4:34) 140 BPM
LOST & Deep Dark & Dangerous - "Hexagon" - (5:06) 140 BPM
Dank Frank & Deep Dark & Dangeorus - "Great Wall" - (2:57) 67 BPM
DayZero & Deep Dark & Dangeorus - "Submarine" - (4:36) 140 BPM
Computerbeats & Deep Dark & Dangeorus - "Arc" - (3:39) 140 BPM
SubDocta & Deep Dark & Dangerous - "The Spirit" - (4:14) 140 BPM
Review: Part three is upon us as Deep Dark & Dangerous unveil the final piece of the puzzle in their latest release line with 'Dangerous', showcasing the most rawcus sounds on their roster. The line up for this one is sublime, with heavyweight names such as CITY1, Ternion Sound, Lost, Dank Frank, DayZero and SubDocta all being drafted in to showcase their unique skill sets. The project as a whole bleeds creativity and musical innovation, with particular points of interest coming in DMVU's incredibly swampy 'Dem Fi Kno' original, which unleashes a wash of pungent synthesizer sweeps and impactful percussive inputs, alongside the unpredictable electronic brilliance of 'Arc' from Computerbeats. This compilation series has been truly magnificent to take in and is a real testament to the DD&D commitment to pushing dubstep forward.
Review: With Addison Groove being one of the most renowned names in UK dance music, his unique, clicky approach to rhythmic bliss is constantly yielding fantastic new originals. We see him land his latest album project on Gutterfunk and what a project it is. The album as a whole boasts a magnificent soundscape, from the experimental funky melodies of 'Rele Dawomey' alongside the wonderful Chouk Bwa, to the junglist switch ups of 'Dreamscape 12' and system basslines of 'Burning Spear'. There is also a touch of classic Addison throughout, through the clicky percussive blueprints of 'Bass Trips' and jukey switch ups of 'Out Of Nowhere'. We also can't get enough of the bubbly grooves of 'Brand New Drop', an inspired funky roller, personifying the organic energy of the project perfectly.
Review: With releases on Phonica and Echovolt to his credit, Earth Trax aka Bartosz Kruczyński now delivers his debut album for Shall Not Fade, the sister imprint of Lost Palms. It's a mesmerising affair that features the warbling acid of "Pandora's Box" and "Full Throttle" at one end of the spectrum and the atmospheric break beat techno of "I'm Not Afraid" and "Adhocracy" at the other. In between these two extremes sit irresistibly evocative cuts such as the rickety rhythms of "Fade Away" and the uplifting bass tones of "Copies Of Copies", making for a well-rounded and effortlessly executed debut album.
Review: After dropping the fine tones of long player "Carrier" back in 2011, Sully is back on Keysound with a sizable package of jungle infected wares that give a lot of the break revivalists a run for their money. Working in some of those mystical chime tones favoured by label mates Wen and others, "Solitaire" rolls on a perfectly nailed jungle skank that harks back to the era when the sound didn't need to be aggressive but rather meditative. "Checkmate" makes an interesting job of reducing the breaks down to a bare minimum, while "Charms" gets more lively and playful in its demeanour. Throughout this eight-tracker jungle is the key influence, and yet the ideas flit around with the innocence and wonder of anything considered 'classic' in the genre.
Review: Sweet murderation! Sizzling Spaniards BSN Posse unleash five firing originals on the spotless Modern Ruin and suddenly things in the world don't seem quite so scary. Soulful, smooth, subverted, this is the sound of a well-considered, detailed footwork EP that's matched with six equally sharp refixes. Highlights include the sultry syrup harmonies on "Soul Train", the AK47 drumflow of "Drifting" and the dreamboat behaviour of "About U". Meanwhile on the rubs, we've got heaters galore with as Nikes takes us into cosmic tribal territories, Rootless dips low into sexual 808 healing and Footmerc washes us so hard with his fluttering chords you'll need a towel after you've played it. Powerful.
Review: It's always an exciting occasion to find yourself with a saucy new Terrorhythm drop to listen to, which is justified here as Onhell steps out for a top quality LP project. We kick off with the godly glitched out arpeggiators of 'Intuition', which is chased up by the pure power of 'Beginners Mind Fuck', dripping in potent synth energy from start to finish. Next, the title track 'Kill Your Self Doubt', arrives with a more ambient flavour, followed by the twisted distorted madness of both 'Hallelujah' and 'No Bad Notes'. Finally we finish up with a tasty collaboration as Trim joins the party with typically abstract vocal work on 'Graveyard Shift', tying this one up in style.
Review: It's been a long wait but like an epic trilogy we thought we were never going to get, Andy Stott delivers a third record related to the ground breaking Passed Me By and We Stay Together EPs. Nothing stops the rolling onward lurch of "Versi" with "Take" a sort of houseir counterpart in rhythm that's given huge bassline pulse of Intelecto reminiscence. Epic Modern Love Sounds. Jus like in 2011, all reference points of genres heard here are contorted, abstracted and blown up to a full scale of subsonic fidelity. Tracks like "0L9" transmute house to a whole new degree of sunken deepness, while amid light footwork numbers and the harmonics in "Promises" and throughout "It Should Be Us", the record is a huge hello for dub music, club culture, tempos and convention.
Review: It's always a pleasure to see new music from the legendary Plastician, a producer whose place in UK underground's history books is beyond secured. It's clear that alongside numerous live streams he has been keeping himself busy in the studio as he unveils 10 scorching new originals within his 'Deep In The Drives' LP, courtesy of his beloved Terrorhythm. The tracklisting boasts everything from the emotive harmonic structures of 'Alone Time' to the more classic grimey switches of 'Gully' and 'Magma'. Plastician's versatility is his strongest attribute, which is what makes this project so powerful, with our favourites including the old school snare chops and shifting melodic sampling of 'Resolution', alongside 'Jackal Riddim', which reworks a classic grime melody into something completely new!
Review: Within the UK, there really are few labels that have made as much of an effort to explore the unusual and unpredictable landscapes of bass music as much as Coyote, who return here with this fantastic new LP project from the wonderful Filter Dread. Throughout the course of 10 stunning original creations, we hear Filter Dread showcase just how ahead of his time he is, from the glitch-heavy devil mix of 'Galactic' and drum heavy shuffles of 'Dry Ice' to garage-inspired weirdness of 'Klipz' later on. It's a fantastic way of showcasing how to get creative with sound, with our specific highlights being the delicate yet dangerous soundscaping of the introduction 'Dark Zone', alongside the twisted rhythmic explosions of the title track 'Trickster'. It's unusual, but undoubtedly exceptional.
Review: Ranging from the dubby and atmospheric to vocal and even poppy, Undertow kingpin Phaeleh resurfaces with the journeysome Embers LP. With swathes of classical strings and fanned basslines adding cushion to the stepped drums of "Unity", melodic ambient progressions find their way to both "Solace Of Tomorrow" and "Halo". Tabla percussion and industrial atmospheres meet with the bowed subs of "When You Left", leaving Amy Kikrpatrick's vocals to set free the evocative tales of both "Spellbound" and "Floods", the warmest track on Embers alongside the uplifting chords and keys of "Moving On".
Review: It's time to dive into the unusual here as Dome Of Doom welcomes the unorthodox production styles of Bleep Bloop to the table for an eight track extravaganza. We begin with the raucous glitch-driven melodies of 'Hacker', before the twisted distortion of 'Paut U 2 Sleep' and trap-style dubstep hybrid sounds of 'F12' alongside Goon Des Garcons come into play. Next, Gary Paintin gets involved in the destructive synthesizer smashes of 'Out Here', followed by super crunchy sound design and halftime drum work of 'Paying Dues' and the super unpredictable rhythmic arrangements of 'No Roof', again featuring Gary Paintin. Finally the rumbling sub structures and electro screams of 'What Are You In The Dark' make way for eerie vocal pads and lethal big room chords of 'Cromatin Landscape' to see an end to proceedings. It's unusual and we love it!
Review: If you are looking for a true exploration into the realms of unknown sounds, then this is most certainly a project for you as SVBKVLT welcome 33EMYBW for a top quality LP project by the name of 'Arthropods'. Through a complex combination of super unusual pad structures, unpredictable rhythmic arrangements and gorgeous remix options, we can safely say that this is one of the most interesting selections we have heard all year. Despite the fact that we feel the project needs to be ingested as a fully functioning long play, individual highlights include the carnival-ready industrial percussion of 'Adam Bank', along with the incredible chiming melodies of 'Arthropods Continent' alongside Li Jianhong, and of course Ikonika's tribal-inspired remix as well!
Review: Within electronic music, Black Marble Collective have a pretty impeccable reputation for releasing incredibly forward thinking music, a mindset that is displayed to its maximum throughout this brand new LP from DJ Ends. From start to finish this one encapsulates a truly delicate approach to electronic music, from the gorgeous chord movements of 'Broken Piano' and stunning synth work of 'Empty Space' to perfected vocal work on 'More Beautiful'. The project displays mastery, patience and to put it simply, pure elegance. We loved every second, with additional highlights being the lofi genius of 'Ikodiko' and truly stunning soundscaping of 'Episode 8'. Incredible stuff.
Review: Beat Spacek aka Steve Spacek is a man who has seen it all and done it all. Well, not quite all because this latest project is quite possibly his best in recent years. Having worked with artists as diverse as J Dilla and dBridge, his sound is characterised by a hugely varied conglomeration of styles and influences, but also methods. For instance, we've been told that this LP is made up exclusively of sounds generated from iPhone and iPad apps, so it's easy to see the man's versatility and openness to new sonic territories. "Modern Streets" itself is an intricate cocktail of ideas, incorporating remnants of drum & bass, digital dancehall and curb-side poetry. The whole LP is a daring and successful view into Spacek's multifaceted mind as a musician. Recommended.
Review: It would be fair to called Joined Ends, Oliver Thomas Johnson's second album under his familiar Dorian Concept alias, "long-promised". It was being touted for release back in 2011, soon after he signed with Ninja Tune. Interestingly, it's a very different beast to his 2009 debut album, When Planets Explode, and the club-friendly singles that followed. A veritable technicolour blast of warm chords, shimmering synthesizer melodies, dream-pop vocals and skittering low-end rhythms, Joined Ends ripples with unfussy positivity. It's far from a straightforward set - Johnson is too imaginative a producer for that - but it certainly has a singular vision. It may not be the album we were expecting, but it's an impressive set nonetheless.
Review: The latest release from Illum Sphere on Ninja Tune comes bolstered with so many remixes they actually come in before the original material on the tracklisting. Legowelt leads the charge with a superlative version of "Embryonic" heavy on bleeps and keyboard choir tones, before Lone delivers a sugar-sweet drum & bass interpretation. "Spectre Vex" meanwhile finds Illum Sphere exploring fulsome synth tones with a coldwave leaning, which leads neatly into the JTC and Charles Manier versions of "The Road" with their varied 80s stylings. Let's not overlook the charms of the Zed Bias version of "Sleeprunner" not to mention the other original material on the EP. It's a veritable feast of electronic ideas for those with eclectic palates.
Review: For his second full length on Ninja Tune entitled Glass, Illum Sphere aka Ryan Hunn follows 2014's Ghosts of Then and Now LP, but sonically moves further in the direction hinted by his Spectre Vex and Second Sight 12's. According to Ninja Tune, Hunn is quoted as saying 'I wanted to make an album very different to the first one with a different palette, pace and energy." The album sees a noticeable change of direction from previous releases. Starting out with the sombre ambient experience "The Journey", there's the '80s style mood lighting of "Oracle" (reminiscent of Jan Hammer), the dusty downbeat EBM of "River" is most indicative of Hunn's recent change of direction as is lead single "Thousand Yard Stare" which sees him throw down some brooding and emotive electro variation.
Review: After his Room(s) long player for Planet Mu confirmed him as an unsung hero amongst US beatsmiths, Travis Stewart follows up that gargantuan effort with this turn for Ninja Tune. It's a deeply atmospheric album that works Stewart's palpable love of jungle breaks into richly atmospheric pieces that move through sometimes mournful, sometimes dreamlike spaces that hang together like all the pieces of a creative puzzle should. At times the tone is blissful, as on "Center Your Love", while the immaculate breaks give way to strung out coldwave balladry on "U Still Lie". His sense of adventure as intact as ever, Stewart happily follows up such contemplation with the feisty tech-step precision of "Eyesdontlie", ensuring there's never a dull moment across the ten tracks.