Over the years, Bristol has become known as a city that is always happy to push the boundaries of electronic music. This local attitude towards experimentation in sound has bred some fantastic projects and label imprints over the years, including the magnificent Livity Sound. Launched back in June 2011, in their own words, the label represents: Sound System Frequencies. Body Music, always seeming keen to explore new, unique areas of techno music with a constant stream of fantastic sonic results. The catalogue they have amassed since their inception remains nothing short of outstanding, with their roster now featuring the likes of Peverelist, Kowton, Hodge, Batu, Randomer, Bakongo and more. The tight-knit crew behind the labels progression have continued to showcase UK techno in its purest, most forward-thinking form and with a catalogue of blissful creations to show for it, the future has never looked brighter for The Bristol-based pioneers.
Review: Following an EP on Dnuos Ytivil back in 2020, Ido Plumes now debuts on the mother label, Livity. While Balancing has its dance floor moments thanks to the frenetic dub techno of "Sitting in the Clouds", it equally also has an abstract undercurrent. This is audible on "Afloat", which benefits from the use of a bubbling bass and a frenetic, off-centre rhythm. On "Waiting 4 Us", Ido Plumes favours a similar approach, albeit with a murmuring low end and rolling drums providing the basis for a range of gurgling bleeps and tones. Meanwhile on "Been Here", this emerging artist draws on the history of 90s UK dance, wrapping slivers of hardcore melodies into the arrangement's robust broken beats.
Review: Tribal Brothers, AKA LR Groove and Razzler Man, are a London-based duo whose music blends influences from UK funky, Afro-house, gqom and other African-inspired styles, with percussion taking centre stage pretty much throughout. 'Formation' adds broody synths and is the kind of drum-led workout that'd play on a wide range of floors, 'Pepper' distinguishes itself with a monster of a wobble bassline, 'Tribal Drums' does precisely what it says on the tin (and very little else) and finally 'Genesis' takes us into more experimental pastures with broken, stuttery beats and ominous, moody piano and strings.
Review: Next up from the Livity Sound team, we are plunged into a vibrant dreamscape of sonic manipulation and forward thinking sound design as Azu Tiwaline links up with Al Wootton for 'Alandazu'. We open the journey with a cryptic display of dubwise delays and post-breaks inspired drums on 'Blue Dub', which right from the jump gives us a beautiful introduction, based around shimmering percussion to blow your socks off. From here, 'Light Transmission', gives us a bulbous bassy arrangement, focussing on subtle bit-crushes and unusual clinks, before 'Nine Points' unleashes a stunning rhythmic display, utilizing sonic percussive drives and haunting atmospheric pressure. Finally, 'Last Scene' gives us one final soundscape, focussed on distant, heavenly sounding vocal synths and glimmering arpeggios, rounding off the EP in style. Awesome work!
Review: Alongside the likes of Peverlist, Asusu and Kowton, it's arguable Hodge and Simo Cell that you would quote next as Livity Sound mainstays. The duo, in collaborative form, have been handed the honour of delivering the influential Bristol label with its 50th catalogued release. Be it presenting fiercely imaginative and upfront club bangers next to dancehall-inspired, 100BPM heavy hitters, the EP drifts into weightless grime territory with sprinkles of technicolour via "You Think Too Much". Staccato industrial techno rears its head in the title track, with "Medusa" a sweet tripper next to the percussive and heavy rave sounds of "Ah Bon". Go west.
Review: Livity Sound has come a long way since surfacing as something like white label for Peverelist, Kowton and Asusu's music - the latter's "Sister" a bonafide gem! Over the years it has expanded its roster to the point of becoming a landmark within UK bass music - especially that of Bristol! If you wanted to catch up with what that sound actually is, still fresh as f*** in 2021 - Molten Mirrors: A Decade Of Livity Sound is your port of call. For the first of two parts, it's Batu in the mix with a feel-good yet grubby, junkyard industrial banger "Melts Into Air" which sits nicely next to the abstracted beats of Two Shiel's "Big Style". With deeper mysticisms comes Azu Tiwaline's slower "Nissa" next to the faster polyrhythms of Forest Drive West's "Lost Signal", with Facta, Al Wooton and Cando spreading some hypercolor synths and high fidelity beats in their sessions. And check out the leftfield selection of warped, jazzy breakdowns by DJ Plead that makes for a perfect segue into Bakongo's "Ashy".
Review: With the swift tempos, experimental beatmaking and leftfield club styles of Livity Sound a decade in the making now, Molten Mirrors Part 2 further champions friends and family of the influential Bristol label. With Pev & Kowton holding it down with an edgier dub techno experimentalism in "Exhale", Bruce explores the nether regions of futuristic and industrial rave with "Just Getting On With It", while Hodge brightens things up with the positive reinforcement of his melodic breakbeats in "Do What You Need To Do". Livity Sound's French quarter gets its inspirations from Toma Kami's middle-eastern motifs and funnelled jungle beats in "Sixty Frames", next to the rhythmic and deconstructed sound design of Simo Cell's "El Gato Loco". Tripped-out after hour numbers come through Ido Plumes's "Albeit" alongside some broken beat techno from Jurango and some live synth renditions by Livity Sound newcomer Surgeons Girl. And for the extra wildcard touch, check out Kouslin's lurking "Racket".
Review: Experimentation is the key to the hearts of many electronic music fans, who are all going to absolutely adore this fabulous new four track offering from Lack, who joins forces with the Livity Sound Recordings team for an absolute firecracker of a drop. We begin our dive with 'Grapefruit', a constantly shifting landscape of industrial percussive pings and heartwarming sub-bass below, followed closely by 'Microshift', a pace-quickener exploring heavily delayed chord progressions and scatty drum skips with real mastery. Next, the organic clicks and flicks of 'Make It Circular' provide us with a delicate dreamscape of floating pad textures and dancing drum-emulators for a truly heavenly sonic experience, before rounding things off on marching rhythms and snare-driven designs of 'Constant', putting a fabulous finishing touch on an excellent body of work.
Review: Adding a wild card flavour to Livity Sound ever since appearing on its Dnuos Ytivil sub-label back in 2016, Forest Drive West has used the parent label as his more club-centric vibe. This EP follows his 2018 Aspirations album, and leading with the linear kicks and offbeat hats of "Dualism", Forest Drive West heads its production in the direction of misty techno designed to be heard in the woods - before turning toward a more classic Italian polyrhythmic sound and atmosphere via "Ritual". That saddles up next to some Leo Anibaldi-like basslines in "New Day" with something of a bonus track coming in "Scorpion" which sees FDW hook up with the live and acoustic drums of Australian instrumentalist Lucky Pereira.
Review: Having given London duo Two Shell their debut back in 2019, Livity Sound welcomes back the duo from a natural hiatus that had them establish their own Mainframe Audio imprint in 2020. Bringing back to Livity Sound a style inspired by early dubstep and grime, this SoulCity EP throws down a bouncing gauntlett of laser-like percussion and mellifluous drums. "Blobject" hits on touches of reggae and the delay of trance-like chords while "Soft Core" pushes at something a little more dubbed-out, lo-fi and rhythm-centric. "LabBaby(TM)" keeps it busy in the bottom end while sticking to something light on the top, with "Speedrun" tapping into a goa-like trip.
Review: Drawing influences from the likes of Suzanne Ciani, Laurel Halo and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith; Surgeons Girl is the latest artist to be offered a debut on Livity Sound. A local artist in Bristol and audio-visual performance specialist, this Violet Sleep EP sees Surgeons Girl's recorded tones buzz with a vibrant analogue sound of extraterrestrial synth explorations and warm, low end frequencies that merge and converge with melodious displays of high-end synthesis. The EP's most experimental touches come through the vocal cuts and stutters of "Clouded Temper/Small Steps" while pumping drums hold the line for a bleeping sequence of heavy synth progressions to land in "Intimate Advance". Lighter, more abstract drums ease the tides in "Sympathetic Cycle" with the theatrics of "Rescind" at only two-minutes-50 offering up an epic closing number.
Review: A little known project of pioneering UKG producer Roska is his Bakongo alias, a project that up until Livity Sound's calling had released just the two records; one for Conch Records and another for Ramp Recordings sub-label Brainmath. With a focus here on metallic, subsonic and percussive club-styled drums, this 3 X 2 EP is all about beat and bounce. With distortion and phase action added to the gritty sequences of "3 X 2", things clear up somewhat in "Grainy" with its tailing synthlines and sparse, syncopated beats. Add some breathy vocal snippets and thunder drums to the dub techno of "Tribal Warrior" and you're left with a third percussion concussion in "Oww".
Review: DJ Plead debuts on Livity Sound! Delivering what the label describes as four 'inimitable rhythm workouts' the EP overall draws its inspirations from Levantine folk dance, or dabke, alongside Egyptian electronic dance music otherwise referred to as electro shaabi. Add some quality Bristol bounce to the mix and you have a bass-weighted, percussive affair that's heavy on low end and sprinkled with subtle and exotic motifs. With shuffling grooves, epic finger drumming and slight rave atmospheres in "Going For It" find licks of oriental guitars in "Ess" alongside the urban and beatdown of "Espresso". And for the percussion heads out there, all roads lead to the higher tempos and energy-rhythms of "Rough Text". Going, going, gone!
Review: The Livity Sound Recordings team seem to have unearthed a gem here as they welcome the sounds of Al Wootton, one of the most creative bass music producers out there right now. This EP demonstrates that fantastically as we kick off with the rumbling subs and intricate drum work of 'Ender', a post-garage-inspired thrill ride filled with the unexpected. Next up, the shimmering snare expressions and subtle breaks influences of 'Revin' roll into view, before the stunning soundscaping and unorthodox percussive panning of 'Snake Dance' arrives in style. Finally, the choppy delays and minimal, stripped back rhythms of 'Lerzin' add the perfect addition to a very well thought out selection.
Review: As we've enjoyed watching Livity Sound mint an array of new artists to its label like Forest Drive West, Laurel Halo and Leif, it's also been fresh names like Toma Kami, Two Shell, and now Kouslin, that are keeping Livity's undercurrent in motion. Given a full debut, Kouslin emerges from the 2010s with 2020 Vision, supplying Livity Sound with four shaded bassline dubs, diving into various forms of sub-aqueous melody, tribal rhythms and far-flung, trippy percussion. Find touches of rave, trance and bleep culture in "Ice" with more references to dubstep and streetwise Bristol spook in the EP's lead track and "The Beast Of Bolsover". Clear.
Review: Leif Knowles has recorded for countless labels over the last 15 years - Trimsound, Idle Hands, Whities, Fear of Flying and Morris Audio included - but never before has he graced Peverlist's Livity Sound imprint. Predictably Knowles has delivered the goods, with title track "Igam-Ogam" - a joyously drowsy, off-kilter fusion of intricately programmed African percussion, broken house drums and ultra-dreamy chords - being amongst the producer's most arresting and enjoyable tracks of all time. You'll find more loose-limbed, hard-to-pigeonhole fusions on the even more glassy-eyed and loved-up "First Image" - as well as some lusciously trippy electronics - while closing cut "Seeker" is a chugging affair full of skittish percussion, throbbing arpeggio lines and slowly rising chords.
Review: Two Shell's debut record is an unusual mixture of sounds. Inspired by London's 2-step style of the late 90s and the more typical contemporary style of Livity, it sees them deliver a unique EP. On "Heart Piece" and "Contactless", the optimism of that late 90s scene seeps through with vocal snippets and a bubbling groove prevailing on the former and a deeper chord-heavy sound on the latter. In contrast, on "Run" the approach is markedly different, as a percussive stepping rhythm shows that the pair have an intuitive understanding of what works on modern dance floors, while "Sync-2020" is a deeper, brooding affair.
Review: Next up from the Livity Sound Recordings team we have a very tasty little number here from Bakongo, who brings forward three extremely well thought out UK Funky heaters, perfect for the closure of the Summer season. Firstly, we dip into the incredibly vibrant percussive power and compositional freedom of 'Momoweb', a stunning piece of original rhythmic mastery, chased up by more incredible drumwork with 'Disposition'. The overall feel of quality that the release boasts is then certified as 'Goulbap' continues with the fantastic work to tie this one up in serious style.
Review: Originally designed as a series to run concurrently with the Livity Sound label as an outlet that shares its ideas and aesthetics, the Reverse series has evolved into an institution of cutting edge UK dance music in its own right, featuring releases from the likes of Batu, Bruce, Forest Drive West and Hodge. The series returns with the debut of Bristol duo Cando, following in that lineage of purpose built dance floor tracks. Their combination of percussion driven tracks and mystical hooks root them firmly in the city's tradition. From the hypnotic, bass heavy stomp of "Bleak", to the entrancing tribal polyrhythms of "Sundown" - keep your eyes on further material from this pair as they're the ones to watch!
Review: Following on from two Eps on Livity last year, Forest Drive West drops his debut album. It captures the producer's unique fusion of techno, abstract sounds and jungle, and gets off to a frenetic start with the high-octane, percussive "Cut and Run". At the other end of the Forest Drive West spectrum is "Transmission", a deep, throbbing slice of techno and the mesmerising minimalism of "Circles". Apparitions also sees the UK artist flirt with sound scapes and abstract textures, typified by the dubbed out "Vertigo" and the moody sub-bass tones of "Phaze-Shift". Characterised throughout by Forest Drive West's distinctive sound design, it is one of 2018's finest long players.
Review: Kami is the creative brains behind the Man Band label, which acts as a platform for other emerging artists like Elise and Twoman. Now Kami's own profile is sure to rise thanks to this debut EP on Livity. It's not the most immediate release on the label, but it shows that this emerging producer has no shortage of innovative spirit. "Sharp Tool In The Shed" resounds to rolling, percussive drums and the kind of crackling synth line that one might expect to hear on a Specter record. "Land Of The Insane" is even more obtuse, with Kami laying down a dubbed out, stop-start groove that resounds to abstract, jazzy keys.
Review: Glow Wall is a first outing for Via Maris on Livity Sound, having started his relationship with the seminal Bristol label in 2017 with an EP on its sister imprint, dnuoS ytiviL. This two-tracker is an understated affair: "Glow Wall" resounds to warbling, esoteric melodies and an intricate, stepping rhythm. However, it never reaches a point where it will have an impact on a peak time dance floor. "CU2" is more stripped back and centres on spiky beats and hoarse percussive ticks, but here too Via Maris retains an ethereal sensibility that is all too rare in underground electronic music,
Review: By now, Bristol's Livity Sound was the only noted Bristol label that FACTA hadn't released on yet. He's appeared on the ever-impressive Idle Hands, of course, as well as the 'consciously off-kilter' Berceuse Heroique from Athens, so he has plenty of experience with the mass audience of bass-headz worldwide. "Dumb Hummer" is an abstract affair, its uplifting bleeps and clicks merging perfectly with the tune's bitter low-end waves that take it to a more dubwise stance; "All The Time" is certainly more of a 'house' ting, with its broken beats forming a peculiar strain of off-balance 4/4 - rife with that Bristol charisma. We love it.
Review: Simon Aussel aka Simo Cell has been releasing on Livity and its offshoot label since he first appeared on the radar two years ago. Clearly, he has found a natural home in Peverelist's operation, and the complex rhythm and powerful, pounding sub-bass on "Stop the Killing" is exactly the kind of track that Pev would play. Aussel explores this approach further on the Intello version of the same track, where he teams up with Timothee Rousse to provide more complex drum programming. While "How Do You Turn This On" sees him strip back the drums to deliver a humming bass-heavy workout, there is no doubting his ability to create complex but funky dance music as the mysterious, clipped drums of "Feel Di Kouala Vybz" demonstrate.
Review: Static is Forest Drive West's second release on Livity - he/she also put out an early release on its sub-label - and features the act's most impressive material yet. On "Static", a minimal, steppy rhythm prevails, led by a mysterious synth, flickering percussion and a resonating bass that shifts up and down a few notes. "Escape" is more textured, and resounds to eerie sound scapes and swirling shapes. On this occasion, the beats are tough and dense, the bass plunges with submarine speed and there are even some Sandwell-style bleeps, but even this mysterious-sounding track can't beat the wiry wonder that is "Static".
Review: The funny thing about Bristol's Livity Sound is that it manages to take on a new life with each and every release that emanates from its star-studded catalogue. Recently, we had Mosca and Hodge dropping some badness, while Peverelist and Kowton have been holding it down for donkey's years thanks to constant fluxes of new, game-changing bass music. This time it's newcomer I III who delivers the goods, coming through with the wonky steps of "Dolce" at first, a bouncy bit of side-step techno with that inimitably loose UK flow at its epicentre. "Bun So Nude" ups the tempo and unleashes a formidable blockade of bleeps that'll have you hypnotised in no time - not to mention that sweet cascade of tribal rhythms too!
Review: Tom Ford aka Peverelist stays close to home for his third studio album. Tessellations appears on the Bristol producer's own Livity Sound label and is an assured, wide-ranging affair. It moves from the white noise of "Burning Sea" and the musical, brittle electro of "Under Clearing Skies", into big room, chord-heavy techno tracks like "Slice of Life". In the face of so many stylistic shifts, Ford still manages to maintain a common narrative, one of hypnotic musicality and intricate, complex rhythms. It is audible on the electro-tinged stepper "Further Inland", which is led by brittle drums and a warm bass, while on "Brinks & Limits", he lays down the kind of evocative synth soundtrack that is tailor made for long, hazy summer days.
Review: Joe Cowton's only other release this year was his collaboration with Peverelist, so it's good to hear him back with fresh solo material on Livity. "Pea Soup" resounds to jet noises, slippery blips and bleeps and cosmic chimes backed against a steppy rhythm and what sound like a bass sample from Richie Hawtin's classic Bang the Box. By contrast, "Iodine" is more straightforward. It still has that steppy rhythm that comes as standard on pretty much all Livity records, but it is less complex than "Pea Soup" and its churning chords sound influenced by Basic Channel and late 90s records on Force Inc.
Review: Forest Drive West has previously appeared on Livity sub-label Dnuos Ytivil, and this EP for the main outlet is just as impressive. "Jinx" resounds to hushed voices and scary animal howls from deep within a haunted forest, while in the background a brittle, dissected rhythm plays away. "Scanners" also draws on abstract sound and textures, with electronic burps and belches summoned up from below ground. However, on this occasion, the groove is straighter and more rolling, and its drum-heavy, percussive approach sounds like a freakish, malignant take on the late 90s West Coast house of labels like Grayhound and Siesta.
Review: Munich-based label Gan-Shin might have its head in Bavaria, but its soul is very much on the island of Japan, just on the other side of the world. These guys specialise in Japanese music off all shapes and sizes, focussing heavily on rock, but certainly not excluding the plethora of genres that have become highly-specialized niches in cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Japan Anima(Tor)'s exhibition is part of a wider series of BGM material, and this particular release is a glorious assortment of neo-classical rhythms, and material that could easily feature on a soundtrack. Moving, diverse, pensive, and a rare gem to find these days.
Review: Asusu is of course a founding member of Livity Sound alongside Pev and Kowton, yet we've not been graced with some material from him on the label for something approaching three years! He's not exactly been silent with Asusu setting up his own Impasse label last year, but we are always going to be happy at the sight of a new Livity's single from the producer. "Hallucinator" is particularly impressive, with Stennet lacing woozy, psychedelic, acid-flecked motifs over a bouncy, electro-influenced techno rhythm. "Sendak" explores similar sonic territory, with droning, Eastern-influenced electronics shuffling across the sound space. This is underpinned by a dense but surprisingly fluid rhythm track, which rolls along impressively whilst emphasizing the producer's weighty kick drums, skittish snares and arms-flailing swing.
Review: Speak to anyone on the Bristol scene, and they'll happily tell you that Jacob Martin AKA Hodge is willing to open his studio doors to almost any like-minded soul. His latest collaborator is the similarly productive Randomer, fresh from inspired outings on Clone Basement Series and Dekmantel UFO Series. There's a real energy about A-side "Second Freeze", which slowly builds on waves of punchy, polyrhythmic percussion and creepy noises, before bringing in a similarly bold and speaker-hugging bassline. The talented duo goes ever further in this African-influenced direction of thrillingly percussive flipside "Simple As", where additional drum hits pepper a dense, polyrhythmic groove. It's one of the best drum records we've heard this year, and that's saying something.
Review: Forest Drive West is a new producer who is putting out his debut on Peverelist and Kowton's label. It must be a daunting task to release on Livity Sound, but it's one that the London-based artist rises to in style. Clocking in at over ten minutes, "System" moves from eerie drones and shadowy vocals into a drawn out, voodoo rhythm, with tribal drums gather intensity before crashing in on the arrangement. On the flip, "Show Them" is more direct, with the producer putting the drums to the fore and allowing a bleak synth tapestry to gradually float to the surface. It's a hugely impressive debut release.
Review: The steady rise of Joe Cowton has been such that Utility, his long-awaited debut album, is arguably one of the most hotly anticipated techno sets of 2016. Happily, it's a fine set, brilliantly showcasing his instinctive way with booming, stripped-back drum patterns, sparse textures, and alien electronics. While there are forays into more house leaning pastures - see the dreamy, metallic shuffle of "Scido" - and cascading ambience ("Some Cats" and "A Bluish Shadow"), it's naturally the album's more bombastic, club-ready stompers that really stand out. These include two subtle reinventions of early British bleep techno ("Balance" and "Shots Fired") that aptly showcase the London-based producer's Northern roots.
Review: Bristol's Batu has done great things ever since his debut on Livity Sound a few years ago, both in terms of his development as a producer, and as a DJ. He returns to Peverelist's label with "Bleeper Feed", a pseudo-techno track with clear UK influences, both in the sounds chosen and broken beat pattern, and the more rolling, rhythmic swings of "April These" - the winner on here in our books. Heavy and recommended.
Review: This is Tom Ford's third release on his Livity imprint this year but his first solo effort, having worked on collaborative efforts with both Hodge and Kowton. With a full EP to express himself, it's no surprise that he gives full vent to his artistic whims. "Undulate" is a complex groove, the percussive splinters falling like ice shards on a snowy melodic bed. There are no such flights of fancy on "Grit"; instead, the UK producer puts the focus firmly on mangled rhythms and noisy percussive glitches to create his own, albeit distinctive tribute to U-ziq and early Rephlex.