Review: If we are talking about legends of the UK underground, there really aren't many names that rank above Skream. A veteran of many sounds, we see him return to his roots with this latest selection to release some prized unreleased classics, spanning from 2002 to 2003. This is a must have selection for any serious steppers fan, with the project bleeding authenticity across the entire track listing, from the bubbly drum bounces and warped bass tones of 'Depth Charge' to the grimey synth textures of 'Disfunktional Minds' and high energy eskimo-inspired drum switches of 'Oh My Gosh'. It's one for dubstep historians, that sees Skream's earlier more grime-influenced productions finally land in the public domain.
Real Things (feat Skepta & Frisco, Chronik & Tempz & Esco) - (4:40) 140 BPM
Hocus Pocus - (4:24) 140 BPM
Vio-Lent - (4:11) 140 BPM
Walk In The Car Park - (5:02) 136 BPM
Badboy Sound - (5:11) 144 BPM
Japan - (4:08) 140 BPM
Review: Plastician's '08 debut album gets revisited. Coming straight outta Croydon with the gnarliest beats imaginable, the legendary dubstep/grime pioneer brings us such iconic anthems as "Intensive Snare" featuring the agile lyrical prowess of East London's Skepta which is all "high hats, treble and bass!" alongside such rambunctious riddims as "Real Things" which brings in Frisco, Chronic, Tempz and Esco as well. Elsewhere, things get more dubbed out (see "Hocus Pocus" or "Shallow Grave") and mournful and melodic, like breathtakingly beautiful "Japan" which concludes the album. An outstanding body of work and an essential for dubstep heads new and old.
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: Following on from the earlier release of the first edition of Skream's Unreleased Classics', Skreamizm now presents a very vibrant second volume, this time exploring his previously archived creations from between 2004 and 2006. Unlike the first volume, this selection sees the sound really take a turn towards that more classic dubstep approach, focussing more on halftime snare structures over bubbling, funky beats. We see Skream move through the weird and wonderful, from the quirky synth glitches and patois vocal samples of 'Hurt The Soundboy' to the slightly dissonant harmonies of 'BassTrapz' and jazzy arrangements of 'Live & Learn'. There's something for everyone in here as we ride through a fabulous chapter of UK music history.
Review: Hospital's very own Austrian super duo hit back hard with their fourth full length LP releasing two years of hard work and studio time out into the open. No doubt made with packed dancefloors across the globe in mind, we of course all know and love the addictive keys and white static of "All Night" like it was our very own, but there's much more to see here. Featuring a whole host of fresh influences from French house, funk and indie-electronica, there's more to see here than your average smash-hit D&B album. Even if you think this isn't for you, trust us, "All Night" is. It so is.
Review: With an interesting career already behind her, Emika steps up with her debut album for Ninja Tune. It's a canny mixture of pitch-black pop, bass and dead-pan vocals that draws its influences from the melee of contemporary beats. There's no doubt that the music is produced immaculately, full of detail, neatly balanced, and loaded with atmospherics. Emika's vocal delivery is a chilly one, and pop music was never meant to be weathered by the warmth of the real world. Ultimately, she has succeeded in crafting an album that is undeniably her own - highly recommended.
Review: It's been some six years since renowned misery guys Kevin Martin won plaudits for London Zoo, a typically dark, intense and aggressive full-length that showcased his unique ability to blend dubstep, grime, dancehall and dub techno textures into nightmarish new shapes. Angels & Devils, his belated follow-up, is intriguingly different. While the second half of the set is blessed with plenty of robust, floor-friendly riddims (each blessed with vocals from a range of impressive collaborators), the first half is an altogether more downbeat affair. In fact, it's these moments - the droning, dub-inflected ambience of "Pandi" and the bluesy, soundscape dub-soul of "Save Me" - that hit home hardest.
Review: After making a sizable impact sonically (if not quite becoming a household name) with his eponymous debut, Lorn is back at camp Brainfeeder with his own contribution to the sprawling sound of the beat scene. His is a direct, punchy style that owes a fair amount to the weight of dubstep, while reaching out into moods and textures of a more complex nature. This new album continues very much in the tradition of the first, coming on dense and a little paranoid, but the dynamics and detail in the tracks is clearly a step on from Lorn's more stripped back origins.
Review: The Glaswegian's highly anticipated album on one of underground music's finest labels comes not a moment too soon. The 13-track album kicks off with the eponymous track of the album "Glass Swords" sets the tone for the piece, which quickly manifests itself to be a glorious fusion of R&B, hip-hop, dubstep, UKG, techno and even more esoteric sub-genres. Highlights from across the selection include the euphoric trance-tinged "Hover Traps", psychadelic "Ultra Thrizz" with its dubstep swagger and firing synths and lush "After Light". Glass Swords really is an album of our time, and we really urge you to check this one out.
Review: Ross Birchard has been such an omnipresent figure on modern electronic music as Hudson Mohawke it seems strange to think Lanterns is only his second album. A lot has happened in the world of Hud Mo in the six 6 years since his Warp issued debut set Butter (hello Kanye) and the 14 track Lanterns comes across as a more compelling and adventurous album from the Scottish producer. Featuring some interesting guest appearances (Anthony Hegarty, Irfane, Miguel, Ruckazoid, Jhene Aiko) it's clear Lanterns is being presented as a chance for Birchard to reach the next level, and packs in a whole load of musical ideas along the way.
Review: As one of drum and bass' perennial figures, Jubei has spent the past few years putting out solid releases via respectable outlets like Critical's Modulations and Ingredients, but it's on Metalheadz where he's rooted most of his well-known back catalogue. Using this release to unleash his experimental side, Jubei picks his way through D&B and dubstep tempos as he collaborates with the likes of Consequence, Marcus Intalex, and even the big-in-the-game names of Goldie and dBridge. Also featured are DRS, SP:MC and Flowdan, lending their famous vocal talents to the LP which also hosts bonus track "State Of The Art (dub version)", a cold-hearted stepper from the depths of Jubei's twisted imagination. You'd be out of your mind to miss this.