Review: They say that if people's early fears of the effects of video games were correct then we'd all be in dark rooms, listening to bleeps and munching pills like Pacman. This retro arcade game themed single by Champion sounds nothing like anything anyone could've imagined music of the future would sound like. "Arcade" mixes nostalgic 8-bit melodies and doomy post-apocalyptic soundscapes punctuated by clattering metallic beats. "Chrome" meanwhile fuses a staccato bass-step edge with moody depth.
Review: Champion is the boss of Formula records, currently riding high following the success of their recent f=BASS compilation and the launch of new digital imprint F2. Now as a kind of post-coital musical cigarette, Formula leans back and sparks up three new sizzlers from his stockpile of musical ammo. Both "Execution" and "Bowsers Castle" tracks gets his own VIP treatment, with the former getting a sleek digi-dub makeover and the latter turned into an 8-bit wobble attack. Dismantle also tackles "Cannon", delivering a carnival-tinged apocalypse of a remix.
Review: The powerhouse partnership of Champion and Mele get lively with two sterling slices of busted-beat naughtiness. There's a great sense of early 2000s, formative dubstep/dark garage at play as the pair lay down a series of angular breakbeats and sheet metal, groaning bass. "Get Down" is all about the subverted two-step, all slinky and off-beat. "Radio Babylon", meanwhile, speaks a similar language while teasing deftly with a Meat Beat Manifesto sample. Both absolutely kill it.
Review: "Sensitivity" is already a hit thanks to spins on Rinse FM this summer and a place on Ben UFO's standout Rinse:16 mix (ensuring its undoubted crossover success). It's also one of Champion's deadliest productions to date coming on his own imprint, Formula. With a hollowed out bassline, rich in melody, and its incisive UKF rhythm, the real hook comes in the form of Ruby Lee Ryder's vocals, which put the efforts of most US R&B stars to shame. It's accompanied by "Tun Up Di Bass", a much more grime influenced production with stuttering drums and razor sharp bassline. Rounding things off is the acapella from "Sensitivity" for those DJs who want to get adventurous with their mixing. In an ideal world this single would be sitting at the head of the top 40 - essential stuff.
Review: Clash of the London titans: Formula and Bluku Music bump musical fists and get Killjoy and Newham General D Double E busy on a beat. Killjoy's angular groove is spiked out enough to complement D's distinctive flow but heavy enough to justify a crisp instrumental. Heavy.
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: Flava D is a no-nonsense gal who is known for delivery tough but poppy UKG and bass jams. Here though she follows up the melodic vibes of Closer with two slices of dirtier, underground tuneage. "Wheels" is an impressive exercise in percussion with lolloping tropical rhythms that underpin dark carnival trumpet stabs and erratic snippets of chanting. An instrumental anthem if ever there was one. "Bare Fields" is slightly lighter though, speeding up some 4 x 4 wobble and adding an extra skippiness and even some vaguely Middle Eastern melodies. Strong.
Review: The bass merchant more commonly known as Champion dons his Hayfever guise for the first time. A new project dedicated to pushing both his own creative boundaries and that of bass music, this alter-ego debut comes with a rich stench of classic UKG and the wonky, unpredictable house that you used to find on the Classic-offshoot Music For Freaks. Big strutting snares, weeping bass and oodles of funk coded deep within the riddim, it's an exciting new addition to Champion's already impressive repertoire. Remix-wise Zed Bias dons his Maddslinky hat for some shuffling, bumpy 4/4 fun while Mickey Pearce strips it all back and gets his stutter funk on with some raw some magic. Spotless.
Review: With releases on Mad Decent and Southern Fried to their name, Birmingham duo Hybrid Theory are fast becoming stars in the all-action world of bass music. Here, they continue their hard-to-define explorations, which variously doff a Snapback to grime, UKG, UK funky and deep house. Opener "Drop To The Max" gets things rolling via pulsating sub-bass, cut down rave stabs, locked in house beats and an almighty breakdown that should get hands rocketing skywards on the dancefloor. "Raw Sex" is an altogether more robust proposition, with dirty great bass and grime electronics wrapped around a hissing UKG rhythm. Finally, Hybrid Theory break up the beats a little on "Dollars", which is impressively sparse in its production, but no less effective. Once the bass and watery melodies take hold, you'll be hooked.
Review: Nottingham's Killjoy has laid low for a quite a while now, but he's back out in the open with the Moving Target EP. The break's done him good as this wobble hero has sought to mess with the low frequencies in new and exciting ways. The title track is an assertive beast with asymmetric tropical riddims, weird sounds and a creepy metallic bassline. Champion joins the laughs on cheeky wobbler "Sludge" with its cool carnival vibes. Lastly "Yaga Yaga" is pure, future 4 x 4 energy. Welcome back Mr Killjoy, we've been expecting you.
Review: Nina Wilde has had an impressive run of form in 2015, and the young Wolverhampton bass head has landed herself a spot on the UK's excellent Formula imprint after a series of magnetic EP for the likes of Bass=Win and Low Pitched, among others. "Living Dead" is a deadly, slithering bass stormer that sits somewhere between dubstep and house - you can surely imagine what it sounds like. "Hustler", on the other hand, ditches the house and drops in the garage drums, making for another heavy-loaded but of mutant four-to-the-floor. Deadly.
Review: Expect low slung, synth-laden party beats to erupt from this three-track release by Notion. The "Digits EP" gets things started with a burst of bleepy beats in aptly entitled "Digits", which is all hazy computerized sounds and simple progressions before it drops and becomes an altogether different beast, with pumping beats and shimmying rhythms. "Soundbwoy Killa", up next, pairs an iconic vocal snippet with grinding mid range, clapping beats and a fun, funky vibe. "Watch Here" is another dancefloor-driven piece with grouchy beats, reverberating vocal and compelling melody.
Review: Champion's Formula fam come correct on this expertly curated 15-track exploration into the future realms of bottom heavy music. With exclusive cuts and versions firing from all the label's most consistent contributors, it covers all relative corners creatively; from Killjoy's gameshow grime "Turnt Ones VIP" to the chiselled, sinewy two-steps of Terror Danjah & Zed Bias's "Telepathy" via the sheet metal snares on Flava D's "Break", this collection goes further than representing a forward-thinking imprint but also documents exactly where bass music is heading in the future. Grand prix business.