Review: To help celebrate the expanded re-release of Brassica's 2014 debut album Man Is Deaf, the man himself has decided to drop a new single. "Get Down" is a bright and breezy affair, with interwoven synthesizer melodies, broken-house beats and flowery chords combining to create a colourful, ultra-positive mood. It seems well timed, with festival season set to get into full swing; certainly, it's mood enhancing capabilities are beyond doubt. It's accompanied by a similarly cheery and vibrant rework of album favourite "Tears I Can Afford" by Belfast boys Bicep. They combine clear Italian house, nu-disco and classic trance influences on a version that virtually pops, bubbles and spits from the speakers.
Review: The Detroit-born producer now based in the United Arab Emirates has already been transmitted to the rest of the world through Civil Music, and Body delivers a full-length album to drag listeners head first into his dubbed out amalgamation of techno, house and bass music. Maverick methods abound, from tough swinging techno to beatless wonder, but all the way through Farah binds the wild ingredients together with a muggy tension that makes the album utterly engrossing. While the tempo and intensity switches between every track, there's an incredible consistency that holds the entire album together perfectly.
Review: Civil Music invite some high profile artists to revisit tracks from Body, the superlative debut album set from Darling Farah with the results every bit as good as the source. Given the arresting aesthetic of the album, subverting the stylistic traditions of house and techno in a truly rewarding fashion, there's naturally a lot of space for revision and you have to applaud label and artist for who they approached for the task. Baaqi's fellow Detroit native Jimmy Edgar tackles the title track and delivers a remix filled with the kind of 90s house motifs that his Hotflush boss has been revelling in of late. Elsewhere Lando Kal turns in a typically futuristic take on "Aangel", while Darling Farah provides his own live edit of the same track, and rising Parisian producer Bambounou delivers a darkly techno flavoured remix of "Fortune".
Review: If you're looking for something truly unique to amaze your dancefloor, friends and neighbours with this week then look no further; Debruit's melting pot is unlike any other producer's on the planet. Weaving a delicate web of global grooves, fractured beats and oddball melody techniques, From The Horizon cements the reputation Debruit has developed with his EPs over the past few years. With hats doffed towards western Africa and his own native France, Debruit shows untold promise from track to track. Significant moments abound, but highlights include the likes of "Cuivree", a splintered slice of soul complete with spliced and diced chants and accordions, "Afro Booty Musique", an uptempo jaunt that takes Peter Frampton to Nigeria on the Daft Punk Express, and "Rave Du Niger", a hypnotic mesh of vocal samples that builds with hypnotic majesty. A unique, unmissable debut full lengther.
Review: Mavericks of the underground music scene, Drums Of Death, known for their rambunctious material and devil may care attitude get remixed by Nightwave, Starkey and Tomb Crew for an aural feast for the ear. First up is the club mix of "Cold Lazurus" which is an unashamed, fist-pumping power mix with pounding bass and ADHD synths and smashing snares. Nightwave gets down and gives it the once over with rippling synths and gentle fidgeting beats, coated in psychedelia, this is a trip into the unknown. Starkey emphasizes the strings in the first few bars as it progresses into a bass heavy, dubstep inspired number with growling subs, whilst Tomb Crew mash it up into a euphoric, pumping funky cut with oodles of energy.
Review: Following revisits from Starkey, Nightwave and Tomb Crew, this second batch of reworkings of facepaint fan Drums of Death packs an equally tough punch. Sinden gives "The Jerk" a driving bleep-lead plus some fluid garage basslines for his Teutonic remix, while Austrian Joyce Muniz endows "Bang The Drum" with a textbook example of her deep and sparky house nous. Excellent contributions from Aug Epic, Whole Sick, Debukas and Clouds make this yet another must-hear remix set.
Review: Ital Tek joins the likes of Reso and Starkey and jumps to Civil with four brand new flavours - each one as sparkling, uplifting and rhythmically complex as his ace body of work on Planet Mu. Sonically smelting the best aspects of juke, dubstep, techno and good old fashioned electronica, each moment on "Hyper Real" is an urgent call to the dancefloor while giving your mind plenty to chew on: "Hyper Real" reaches for the sun without any protective clothing whatsoever, "Re Entry" is more somnambulant shuffle that gets interrupted by a massive classic electro bass riff. "The Flood" looks to Detroit for inspiration while "Froze Up" takes a techno tablet. Let's get real now people; hyper real!
Review: Sidling up to Civil Music for his latest salvo of muscular electro-techno, Jon Convex is showing no signs of going soft as his solo project continues to mature into a sizable back catalogue. "Losing Time" is a rough and tumble of leering bass notes and biting drums, but there's still space for a drawn out melancholic breakdown that swirls in a vat of pads before launching back into the guttural main groove. "TX" on the other hand comes on like a merry-go-round of chugging beats and delirious synth lines aimed squarely at twisting up the minds of all present when the clarion call rings out over a sizable system. Ore is on hand to deliver an industrial-tinged revision of the track, while dBridge drops some stellar Autonomic-style half-step sci-fi considerations on his own remix.
Review: It's hard to know where to start with this deliciously odd and endearing collection of bass music experiments from Kuhn - it's got bags of energy, tons of ideas and boasts some excellent cuts. Musically, it's surprisingly diverse, taking garage and dubstep as its base, but with nods to everything from rave and breakcore to IDM and classic electro. There's some serious dancefloor pressure in the shape of the juke inspired "Boombox", a fusion of strings and manic cut-ups on "MWYRK", and some almost nightmarish oddness in the shape of the beautifully wonky "Never Forget". The package also boasts two remixes of lead cut "I Quit", with Pixelord's deep garage take standing out.
Review: A hotbed of talent has emerged from the Civil Music camp of late, and this release, from none other than London based cross-genre magician Om Unit, is no exception from the rule. A stunning six-track EP, which kicks off with the oriental, shimmying "Swimming Dragon" with its razor sharp beats and enticing tone, is well worth a listen. Rumbling beats pervade "An Eternal Way" too, whilst "Vibrations" brings in hazy synths, echoing vocal and a thumping drum, which reverberates and dominates the soundscape. "Cold World" is the last original piece on the EP - an evocative concluding statement. Machinedrum and Ital Tek remix "Vibrations" and "Swimming Dragon", adding even more credibility to this already excellent EP.
Review: London based producer Om Unit returns with next release "Aeolian" on Reso's Civil Music. Never restricted by genre, he traverses juke, dubstep, R&B, hip-hop, garage and all shades of the "bass music" spectrum, with a jungle influence sometimes creeping in. Opening with the esoteric "Ulysseus", this one is all about the rippling, rain-dancing rhythms and steady, stomping beats. Moving on to "Dark Sunrise (feat. Tamara Blessa)", we are treated to a storming dubstep banger with super sweet vocals in a dark, thunderous soundscape. "Fumes" is a more sparse and spaced out little number with dreamy, ethereal synths; while "Lightworkers Call" brings in the talents of Kromestar for another dark, nocturnal venture. "Slowfast Matrix" brings in a flurry of quirky rhythms to the equation before "Ulysses" is given the remix treatment twice over. Essential, no question.
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: Experimental Muscovite Alexey Devyanin is better know for his recordings under his Gultskra Artikler persona - recently however he launched this new project that focuses on beats. "Been Lookin" is all digital riddims, urgent keys and bleepy 8 bit noises. "Freeze the Star" has a Q-Tip sample slowed down over industrial-hop beats. Starting slow with dizzyingly high-pitch vocals, "Paperball" soon accelerate to maniacal juke speeds and finally "Vibrate" rounds things up with glitch-hop weirdness coupled with hip-hop chants.
Ishimura (Drop The Lime Dark Tunnels remix) - (4:41)
Review: One of the most exciting and refreshing artists to emerge from underground music in recent times, Reso's unique blend of bass music makes for an exhilarating listen. "Ishimura" is a mash up of squealing synth distortions, pummeling bass, crisp, crunchy drums and a Noisia-esque density of sound. Evol Intent's remix is even more extreme, aggressive and condensed, while Drop The Lime's "Dark Tunnels" remix is an eerie, stripped back venture, which bears little resemblance to the original. "Vanquish", the other original track on the EP, is another Reso special - tough and terrifying, with whomping b-line and quirky SFX a-plenty. Immense.
Review: A diverse post-dubstep producer that everyone's talking about, Reso finally delivered his debut album Tangram last year to great acclaim. Now it's time a for a remix edition, and boy does it feature everything including the kitchen sink. Highlights include Koan's brutal and snarling breakbeat version of "Axion", the beautiful synthscapes of Om Unit's remix of "Simple Pleasures", the insane industrial dubstep/arpeggiated techno fusion of Billain's remix of "Half Life", the sparse beat-fest of Doshy's "Coronium" rework and Evol Intent's evocative version of "Ishimura" which somehow manages to combine tropical beats and industrial metal chimes.
Review: An impressive and incredibly versatile producer; a jack of all trades and master of the lot, Reso brings us another smashing EP on Civil Music. Prepare yourself that the aural onslaught that ensues in title track "Check 1,2" - this is all synth distortions, grinding bass, face-melting, Noisia-esque attention to detail and above all an aggressive, dancefloor-driven sensibility that makes it irresistible. Accompanying the original is an epic Emperor remix which draws things out and strips things back, a fun and funked up Starkey remix, plus re-licks from Danny Scrilla on a dubbed out tip and DJ Kentaro who shakes things up again. A must have EP here.
Review: It's the one we've been waiting for... Reso's teased us with EPs for years, each one flexing a different party muscl, from savage, tearing breakbeats to almost industrial dubstep. Each flavour delivered with such unpredictable glee, you always knew an album would be on the cards. And that it would rock hard. Naturally this keeps on giving; from the alien, percussive Q&A on "Creature" to the jazz drummer D&B madness of "Axion" to the somnambulant ambient bliss of "Simple Pleasures" and "Backwards Glance" via the gritty ear-slap of "Check 1,2", the wait has been well and truly worth it. Stuff Gangnam style, it's all about Tangram style!
Review: The opening track of the Valken EP, Reso's aptly titled "War Machine", combines the producer's idiosyncratic combination of Armageddon inducing wobble dubstep and D&B into a frantic dancefloor destroyer. Flick through to discover a very different side to the Reso arsenal - firstly the downtempo crackly hip-hip of "Aethra" (our pick of the bunch if you're asking) and chopped up quirkiness of "Expansion Radio". A big release indeed for a producer who has already caught the eye with releases on Hospital, Temjin and Rumble and remixes of Debruit, Drop the Lime, Foamo and Qemists.
Review: With just one other record to his name Danny Scrilla is certainly new to the game, but there's no slouching from him when it comes to his first appearance on Civil Music. Bringing an orchestral dynamic to linear dubstep structures, there are glorious swells of sound on "Fallout" that offset the stark drums and electro arpeggios with poise. "Jolt" is a more outright rave-testing tune, packing a monstrous bass synth a ever-steady forward momentum, while "Magellanic Clouds" follows a similar formula of face-twisting peaks and drops. With Goth-Trad and Deft on remix duties, there's plenty of fresh faced beat science to enjoy here.
Review: Philadelphia based producer Starkey returns with Space Traitor Volume 2, another outer galactic odyssey that showcases his unique take on grime, dubstep and breaks. There are seven original productions featuring a couple of killer vocal contributions from Charli XCX and Curly Castro - all worth checking, especially opening cut "Lost in Space" and the beatless atmospheric soundscape of "Craters". Remixes from Darling Farah, Om Unit, Innerpartysystem, Distal, Monky and the Elementz round off a bumper package on Civil Music.
Review: Blimey! Barely a month's passed since Civil gave us Reso's breath-taking debut album, they're now giving us Starkey's inaugural longer player. Naturally it lives up to the expectations he's set with his scene-inspiring singles. From the Trentemoller-meets-Daft Punk string-drenched sadness of "G V Star Part 1" to the gritty ghetto-take bass of "Command" to Orbital-like solar hug "Lzr", this resonates with undiluted psychedelia, melody and the deft art of audio surprise. Essential.