Review: Thirty Three nuggets of serious UKG gullyness; Project Allout have already developed a serious reputation for generous dispatches, but this is whole new level. Uniting their many lengmen for a deep exploration of the pastures between bassline house, instrumental grime and the broader realms of bass music, every area is covered. Highlights include the eski angst of Chemist RNS' "Stare", the violin-snapping, post-dubstep darkness of Deadbeat UK's "Graveyard", the outrageous VIP muscles of Hoax and Dubzta's "Twilight Zone" and the sassy vocal flexery of Pavv's "You Got Me". This is just the tip of the bassline iceberg, though. Dig deep and grab your own lenger; there are enough here for everyone.
Review: To be honest, it's about time that Logan Sama had the space to compile his own series of mythical London club Fabric's, Fabriclive series. The grime DJ started his career back on the equally important Rinse FM back in 2002, and has been an important part of the club's development over the years that saw grime and dubstep blow up. At number 83 in the series, Sama drops a selection of tunes that are wholly representative of his DJ sets in Fabric's Room 1; the mix contains tunes by everyone from grime pioneer Wiley, to vocalist and producer JME, and a whole load of lesser known names that have kept the grime scene evolving. This is the real deal, there ain't not other like it around these days. Recommended.
Review: Oh boy.. Three of modern bass music's finest players collide for the first in a series of collaborative long players on Deep Medi. The results - as you'd expect just reading the line-up - speak for themselves. Every artist's signatures is coded deep into the collection; Kahn's unpredictability and robustness, Commodo's grit and funk and Gantz often unfathomable depths and eastern twangs are all present as we wriggle and writhe to the detuned harmonies of "Crystal Collect", get twisted on the tripped out drum dynamic of "Kibosh" and lose ourselves in the spacious jazz-minded drums of "Unmistakeable". Truly unique.
Review: Making their debut on Warp, Hudson Mohawke and Lunice proudly cross their beams to rain down a sick and slick kind of future-crunk, aptly demonstrated in in the introductory nature of bass-rich teaser "Top Floor" with its juke leanings and menacing posture. There's a detuned nature to the recognisable bleeps and wails on offer here while the beats remain crunchy and steadfast. "Higher Ground" is more overt in its use of juke to create a twisted kind of hype, while "Bugg'n" drips and drops in a loping vat of sub bass and slow-mo strangeness, leaving you with one of the oddest takes on the contemporary mess of electronic beats.
Review: The Mungos crew lay down a gorgeous naked beat and invite emerging Essex mic-man Charlie P to spread it with lyrical command. The result is a perfect slice of modern day dancehall dub that will charm every style of bass DJ thanks to its big warm subs, soft skanks and a slick-tongued mic command that lingers in your mind long after the track's finished. For something a little darker head for Kahn's remix: continuing his Midas touch, the Bristol don gives this an intricate, drum-heavy twist. Ruling.
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.
Review: Nero takes on an absolute classic in "Be Sincere" but has taken it to the next step, opening it up to a new generation in a completely new style. They have managed to add their superb dubstep twist, turning up the bass to epic proportions to keep meet moving to this famous track one more. With lighter moments in there too, this is a dancefloor destroyer!
Review: Young Philly producer Krueger channels the sounds of London on this new EP for Paradisiaca. Title tune "40oz Bounce" channels Pearson Sound and Girl Unit in particular, whilst still sounding hugely unique, while the excellent bass-thumper "This Is Sick" mixes reverbed textures with a thumping minimal kick. On a mean, post-dubstep tip, "Talk" is an equally essential 130bpm mindf*ck loaded with plenty of hip-hop swagger.
Review: Two excellent slowed-down bits of funky breaks action from Vent, made up of Abstrakt Knights' Sam Ashwell and DC Breaks' Dan Havers. "Lunatics" cuts up an excellent boogaloo record from the 50s and layers huge thumping drums as well as some subtle bass stabs to create a perfect funtime party break that simply no-one could resist bumping to, as well as a nice companion piece to Pilooski's edit of Elvis' "Crawfish" from last year. "Reeces Pieces" is just as thumping - a slo-mo, almost Skwee-ish slow stomp through some ace bass frequencies.
Review: Londoner Flava D appears on Champion's Formula label with three sizzlers guaranteed to light up the dance floor, especially on the raw beatbox attack of the carnival-primed "In The Dance". The energy remains for the next two tracks, if a little moodier, on the rolling UKF pounder "Groggy" and the skippy fizz of "New Era". Solid.
Review: What a coup for No Hats No Hoods! Back in the day many grime heads would have given their privates for some of these dubs. Formative grime instrumentals, these were all written ready and waiting for Tinchy Stryder, Dirty Danger and Slix's tight-fisted bars. Here we find them in all their naked glory, and they still sound slick to this day. Cuts like the woozy Japanese shuffled funk "Functions On The Low", the west coast LA meets Croydon vibes of "Lethal Injection" and the savage cage rattling of "Tings In Boots" tell one of the most honest grime narratives you'll find right now.
Review: While it might be tricky in these open-minded times for Scuba to shatter preconceptions the way that he did with his Sub:Stance mix a few years ago, this compilation should be seen really as a celebration of the man himself as a DJ. After launching with a decidedly minimalist approach, the mix meanders between pacey techno, bluesy broken beat and rolling dubstep tempos. At times the flow feels unsteady, but then it just rings true that he put this mix together for himself. Without a dancefloor to look after, who knows where many of our favourite DJs might take us?
Review: Some hot new bass pressure from Kahn on Deep Medi Music which arrives swiftly after Mala's label issued those crucial Gorgon Sound refixes of his 2012 dancefloor killer Dread. Naturally the hood popping riddims are in full effect from the Young Echo member. After a climatic, horn heavy, mutant ragga intro, "Abattoir" drops into monophonic bass roll of drums accompanied by science fiction atmospheres and skittering drums. "Over Deh So" is a more liquid in its groove, providing a fitting alternative, with pulsing, dubbed-out synths exchanging progressions with sinister cathedral tones for a track you could imagine lifting the roof off a rave held by a secret occult of Gregorian monks.
Review: Whether it's as a performer, a producer or a label head honcho, J:Kenzo has never done things by halves, so Artikal's debut long player was always going to be special. 15 exclusive cuts from the label's talented family and friends, this collection of contributions doesn't just document where bass music is at, but where it's heading. Each track is a highlight in itself, but it's cuts like the slinky hypnotic groove and cosmic congas of TMSV's "Scorpion", Sleeper's star-gazing, dub-drenched sub science of "Coxsone Dub", Skeptical's lesson minimalism and aggy restraint ("Skavenger") and Eshone's treacle-like dirge "Qualia" that really represent the depth, scope and vision of Artikal. Designed for the dance, arranged so well it works as an entire listening experience, Artikal don't do things by halves.
Review: This second full-length from London-based producer Soloman 'Silkie' Rose - the follow-up to 2009's City Limits Volume 1 - further develops a deep and melodic take on dubstep that should appeal far beyond the genre's underground stronghold. With bright melodies, jazz chords, ear-catching synths, sampled horn stabs and future garage style vocal cuts aplenty, City Limits Volume 2 has far more in common with, say, the far-thinking two-step exploits of Phuturistix or Hospital Records' genre-bending Outpatients series than most dubstep full-lengths. But it's these qualities that make it such a rewarding, enjoyable and essential release.
Review: Spooky touches bass on the impressive Project Allout - we hope that you noticed the pun there - with his usual bag of tricks, this time in the form of "Bun Fire", a fast-paced breakbeat stomper coated in a healthy bit of dubstep wobble and boasting a drum & bass sensibility in the school of thought of your Dj Hazards. There a fine artillery of remixers who all twist and mangle the original up in fine style: Notion, Moony, Dubzta, and Trends all deliver the goods, the latter being particularly impressive with his grime reinterpretation. Fireee!
Review: Gully shots fired: Fresh from damaging the dance with both Footsie and P Money, Royal T's immovable banger gets the treatment from three of bass music's most exciting characters... Wen creates a tripped-out sensation that sits somewhere in the shadows between the industrial strength loopy psychosis of techno and the unnerving, spacey dynamics of dub. Kahn & Neek, meanwhile, get straight to the point with jaw-breaking snares and a bassline so deep and metallic you need a tetanus shot before you play it. Finally we hit a TQD remix of T's own "Limbo". Fresh from their debut "Day & Night", the dream trio of DJ Q, Flava D and Royal T strip down the beaty, LA-minded drifter and rebuild into an armoured Challenger tank. Bruising.
Review: Following an impeccable launch with a series of unavoidable singles, Seven's Uprise imprint consolidates its reputation and hugely broadens its scope with this far-reaching compilation. Tickling every possible corner of bass music's expansive underbelly, across the album we're treated to an array of vibes that stretch from slo-mo percussive cosmic bass (Wayfarer's "Reflections") to fractured, juddering beat experimentalism (Taiko's "Spray Can") Every track is a highlight but be sure to check out Truth's immensely demonic take on "Walter White" and the techno-minded riff aggression on Klax's "Link To The Past". Welcome to the future.
Review: J Kenzo makes an appearance on the lauded and legendary Tempa imprint with these two tough little tracks, which display heaps of character and genre-defining skill. "Ruffhouse" sees Kenzo team up with Rod Azlan for an intriguing journey, dominated by bleepy synth melody and low-slung bongo drum for the first minute, before dropping into a classic mid-noughties dubstep burner with hypnotic bass and weighty soundscape. "Therapy" is reminiscent of some of Pinch and the Tectonic crew's more experimental work, with a techno twinge, fidgeting beats, a Benga & Coki bleep and plenty of unique character to set it apart from the rest.
Review: Back on Deep Medi afer blowing their socks off with "Uprising" last year, on this superb self-titled EP Commodo serves up four prime cuts of pressure coming from the same meditative space that typifies the label. "Northern Soul" stalks around a choice selection of minor-key refrains while the bass comes swelling in from afar in precision fashion. "Surveillance" growls around a deadly construction of dubstep perfection, keeping the intensity high with a sound made up primarily of heavyweight percussive hits. There's no let up throughout, although "So Clear" does take a marginally less mean-spirited tone in its demeanour. For true head-nodding gutter tactics you can't fault this one little bit.
Review: Making his debut on Tempa, multi talented MC, producer and one third of the Code 3 collective, SP:MC steps up with a couple of killer cuts on the legendary London imprint. "Oh My Gosh" is a slow paced, super sleuth of a track with low slung, undulating bassline, gently hissing hi-hats and clipped breaks with a retro edge. It harks back to the early days of dubstep, with a hint of Benga in there. Title track "Hunted" is another gnarly cut, with gritty, warping b-line, paranoid SFX adding further menace to the already darkened soundscape. Well worth checking!
Review: Mala's album project comes to light with a healthy amount of expectation. The DMZ / Deep Medi Musik main man has always carried a reverence amongst the dubstep scene for his unfussy approach, staying true to the sound he helped forge in the nascent days of the genre while avoiding over-exposure or buckling to hype and trend where so many of his peers succumbed to change. As such this project sees the man well outside of his comfort zone as he tackles a specific album project whilst sticking his head more clearly overground to work with Gilles Peterson on an adventure in Cuba working with local musicians. This is most definitely Mala's music, and the spiritual, tribal nature of his productions to date only gets enhanced by the influx of Cuban folk sounds. This is no simple case of ripping samples and dropping them for token effect though; the percussive patterns and licks of piano, guitar, horns and voice are completely interwoven into the South London pressure as if they were always meant to be. It's testament to the pure approach Mala takes in the studio that he manages to balance these unlikely bedfellows to such fluid effect. Undoubtedly there will be naysayers who will argue that in doing an album of this nature Mala is diluting his purist vision for dubstep, but in truth the approach and end results he has managed to conjure up bring a revitalising, fresh angle to the genre, which is what it needs in abundance. There's maybe a lack of the "shock of the new" factor as Cubano music is not exactly a stranger to UK dance music forms, and Mala isn't exactly switching his own stance too drastically, but ultimately that doesn't matter. The whole album is direct and immensely satisfying to listen to, capturing the alluring spirit of South American folk tradition and empowering it with the transcendental nature of dubstep in its finest form.
Review: We've been waiting for this one for a minute: Kahn & Neek's Gorgon Sound outfit finally unleash this mighty re-fix of Kahn's 2012 Deep Medi outing "Dread". Warm skanks, gravelly toasting and a rolling muscular momentum, it's a whole new tune. "Late Night Blues" gets a similarly massive facelift as the deep space is replaced by crisp live drums and added textures. Quintessential version material.
Review: Can you believe it's been 18 months since Thelem last dropped a big release? Time flies and all, but he's been sorely missed... And these six tracks remind us why: "We Ain't The Same" is a barbed grime-referend battle anthem with all the vitriol you'd expect from a T-Man feature. Dig deeper for rolling titanium punches ("Get A Grip"), bulbous 8-bit bass funk ("Equippin'") and Joker-style velveteen spatial strutting ("Latched"). For added measure, Thelem also shows us how does things on a D&B flex with Enei-level iced-out D&B ("Mind Games") and a crisp, haunted Commix-style rattler ("Cascading"). Don't leave it so long next time Thelem!
Review: After plates for Osiris, Lion Charge and Ruff Cut, Bristol pairing Jamie Schildhauer and Paul White bring their Kaiju project to the Deep Medi label. Lead track "Justice" has been a much sought after dubplate for some time, and a fine example of Kaiju's innate understanding of dub science implementing only a few elements - haunting flutes, floating synths and crisp percussion - with deadly precision. Justice is served! Complementing this, Kaiju conjure some truly monstrous atmospheres with "Creeper" - if Demdike Stare turned their hands to steppahs it might sound like this. Deep Medi is nearing its 100 release and every one of them have been superb.
Review: Bubbling from the dub motherland, Kingston Jamaica, Moonshine Recordings deliver a 15-track heavy adventure into the finest contemporary dub sounds. Uniting artists from all sides of the oceanic dub pool, Steppin' Forward documents bass music and dub culture's furthest, most expansive potential. From Compa's undulating bass wriggles and reverb synth shots on "One Lion" to the heavy, gurgling low-end menace of Violinbwoy's "Echo Park" this is guaranteed to resonate with all sides of the dub spectrum.