Reviewed this week
Don Mclean could learn a trick or two from New Zealand's Headland; you could drive a Chevy (or any other brand of motor vehicle) up this "Levy" all day long and it'll never go dry. A true marching tune that gradually rises in intensity without ever losing its stately pace, it's the type of tune that was tailored for nights like System or DJs like Amit. Elsewhere we get seasick with the trippy glitches on "Seen" before going all-out darkside with the haunted humanisations on the foreboding "Cold Warning". Seriously heavy duty stuff as always from Headland. Man's having his pie and eating it right now.
2017 has been an incredible year for Zha's White Peach imprint, with a plethora of high profile releases hitting stores at regular intervals. The latest in this impeccable line comes from Bristol's own; Bengal Sound. The title track is a work of art, with heavily swung mysterious eastern sounding samples and rolling hi hats taking the lead. We move quickly from that to dubstep fueled artillery with '2 Worlds' which focusses on tremendously heavy sub frequencies and unpredictably skippy drum arrangements. The EP continues with the dubstep theme as we move onto the B-side with 'Silence Soundboy'. This one is pleasingly reminiscent of early DMZ releases, bringing the combination of subs and space out to play. Finally we wrap up with the haunting dub-infused arrangement of 'Pablo'. This one is ghastly, with plenty of percussive and melodic vibrancy lurking just below the swampy surface. This one is definitely another winner from the seemingly unstoppable White Peach brand!
After ripping it up for labels like Northern Hertz and Foundation Audio, as of late, Denmark's Gaze Ill has absolutely no problems in tearing it down for the young and 'up-for-it' Cue Line label. "Space-Time" is the perfect opener, bouncing its subtle bass rolls like supersonic machine-gun spray, and accompanied by all sorts of eerie cosmic sounds, whereas "Mist" heads further into the cavernous echo that we expect such deep-minded dubstep to offer. "Spirit Of The Forces" is our choice cut, jacking out to some propah jungle infusions at the core of its groove, leaving TMSV's remix of "Space-Time" to leave us lingering outside the atmosphere. Utterly divine bass, right here!
And so it goes - Seven drops an LP on us like a ton of bricks and, unlike what he has put out up to this point, he seems to delve much deeper into the rest of what the enlarged 'bass' game has to offer. 11:11 is a vast, bottomless pit of gems, ranging from the more poppy side of two-step, all the way to the sort of gear that makes your head bounce up and down...not to mention that inevitable lock-jaw! However, it's important to note that this LP is not one for cheap thrills, and that Seven has done his very best to craft as much warmth and colour out of what are usually deemed to be cold and industrial sounds of dread. Through vast landscapes of low frequencies, typically UK vocal samples, and grainy beats, this dude has his shit on control!
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.
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.
Escapism Refuge has been holding it down on Smokin' Sessions as of late, fuming the place up with some gnarly, hard-shell dubstep bullets primed and poised to 'tear da place up'. For his latest appearance, the shady producer returns to Deep Heads with Hold, his debut LP, and what is surely one of the finest collections of deep and meditative bass music that we've hosted on our charts since the start of 2017. No joke, the whole album is a keeper. In its entirety. From moments of euphoric, delicate electronica (see "Fly Away"), to beat-driven vocal poetry ("Light Up"), or cerebral half-step riddims like "Savage Lust" or "Cold", we are massively impressed with the scope of this piece of music. For the lovers of pure bass. No cheap thrills here.
The releases of Aquatic Lab have been amongst some of the most popular within the dubstep realm over the last 8 years, having previously hosted the likes of Truth, ClueKid, Sleeper and many more. Bristol's own dubstep pioneer; Pinch steps forward for their first and only release of 2017 with his fantastic 3 track project entitled 'Brain Scan', The EP kicks off in fantastically creative fashion with the title track providing a powerful 5 minute composition of unpredictable bass music stacked with industrial percussive patterns and moody melodies. We rapidly move from this into a sub-meditation sound track entitled 'Street Light' which rolls out oh so smoothly with incredibly layered synthetic textures and free roaming sub-frequencies. The EP wraps up with the haunting sounds of 'Abducted' which is another top draw example of dubstep sound design done right. Constantly switching between dubwise themes and gnarly bass synths, this one really does the business.
This is the first time that Opus and Loudcutta appear on the excellent Encrypted Audio imprint and, we should add, it's also the first time that they join forces behind the mixing board - full-on debuts on all fronts! Thankfully, what they have produced is some absolute gold, ad exactly the sort of bass gear needed to shake the scene up: "M-80" launches one of the duttiest basslines we've heard since the start of 2017, "Rotten Wing" gives a new terminology to the what we usually refer to as 'off-kilter', and "Teefing Season" is the most effective bit of wobble available on our charts this week - total winners! Recommended.
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.
Bish-bosh - Fill Spectre lands on the inimitable DUPLOC imprint for the label's 19th outing! As you'd expect, this shit be on some next vibe, dipping and diving in and out of dubstep, sidewinding into the more tech-related sounds of grime grime. "Sun Sneezer" is an absolute geezer of a tune, boasting a naughty little bass stutter that will tear the place up, whereas "Purple Sweat" is a much pacier affair, launching a menacing percussive flex over twisted synths and growling, breakcore bass. Dutty!
Durkle Disco, a Bristol based haven where grime, garage, hip-hop and dubstep would no long be placed in separate genre boxes. In 2011 Durkle Disco was created so these musical cousins could mingle and merge and become they're own, uncategorized sound. Paying equal respect to both producers and MCs, the label has become an unstoppable force in the world of bass. 'So Sicka' sounds like a Burial album double dropped, all the eerie atmospherics remain with a cold sense of hollowness, but there's an intense brooding buildup of energy. Emotions are heightened and there's a harsh clarity to the hard clashing drums which forces you the listen intently to each and every word spat. The 'Near' remix is has an itchy, glitchy feel with a lot more sound filling the soundscape, while the 'Mani Festo x Denham' remix has an odd stripped back aggressive house vibe that we haven't experienced before.
Low End Activist touches down on Frists Wentink's ever-impressive Bobby Donny imprint with a very special guest; Roll Deep alumni Trim. Flexing his smoky, spacious sermon with clarity over loose-limbed two-steps and wobbled-out sub, it's the ideal jam to take us strutting into the bleak winter. Remix-wise Cassius Select murk up the mix with time-defying warpedness while Frits shows us the light at the end of the tunnel with an remix that's coded with subtle flurries of hope. All corners covered.
Where he's been we don't quite know, but all that matters now is that after three year Subscape is back. Mallet is big room 'dubstep' you can image mosh pits forming when this one drops, with hard hitting, harsh drums, weird sci-fi synth and plenty of space this on 'Ease the Pain' is Frankenstien track, taking snippets of grime, house and dubstep and stitching them together in an uncomfortable but completely satisfying fashion.
As far as active legendary producers go within the Grime scene, there aren't many with the same high level of consistency as Silencer. Fresh off the back of his super popular 'Butcher' EP, he teams up with the electric energy of Maxsta on 'Black Mask'. Silencer goes to work to provide a dark and thunderous instrumental backing for Maxsta to run riot over with his skippy vocal patterns and uniquely creative grasp of multisyllabic patterns whilst describing some of the dark events of his past and present. It's dark, weighty and an instant must for grime DJ's nationwide.
Crown Jules is the up and coming North London based grime label founded by producer J Beatz, also known to his mum as Jason Jules. Now the imprint introduces the somewhat illusive, Sware, who if his two word artist bio is correct is a 'grime producer'. 'Irish Don' is ram jammed with quick moving reverberated synths and bass, the quick snaps between beat and open space make the track seem almost aggressive. 'The End' is slow moving and has a creepy house atmospherics, but the track is made fun with its blobby bouncing sub. The distinguishing feature of 'We Got Amm' is its foggy, echoing shroud which masks the whole track in a sense of paranoia, you won't be prepared for the onslaught of automatic gunshots. 'Lava' takes the sounds oldschool, with wobbling, warped subs and a simple space laden beat.
Exclusives
SIRIUS - Alpha Canis Majoris (Dubtribu) - exclusive 20-11-2017
HEADLAND - Levy (Innamind Recordings) - exclusive 25-11-2017
KXVU - Guinevere (Simply Deep) - exclusive 20-11-2017
Exclusives
SEVEN - 11:11 (Uprise Audio)
THE BUG - Bad/Get Out The Way (NInja Tune)
GAZE ILL - Space-Time (Cue Line)
Top Labels
Deep Medi Musik
Innamind Recordings
osiris music
Dub Police
Macabre Unit Digital