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.
Review: After Livity Sound established itself as a self-contained affair originally centred around Pev, Kowton and Asusu, it was intriguing to see the net widen with the introduction of the Ytivil Dnuos sublabel as a place for likeminded, fresh talent to reside. After the previous Livity Sound original and remix compilations, now the 'reverse' label has its own collection, bringing focus on a host of producers who are now reaching notoriety in their own right. From the recent thrill of Simo Cell to Hodge's first outing on the imprint, via Bruce, Batu and Alex Coulton, this is as strong a statement of cutting edge UK soundsystem electronics as you could wish for.
Review: Ahead of the release of the Ytivil Dnuos compilation, Peverelist has opted to turn out a 12" that revisits two tracks from the recent past and sheds some fresh light on them. The label boss himself takes "Amor Fati" by Hodge to task, and turns out a delicately poised but satisfyingly weighty version replete with twinkling synth lines and jagged rhythmic incantations. Hodge meanwhile gets to have some fun with Bruce's "Tilikum", and weaves an emotional techno variation out of the component parts that stands amongst his most impassioned works to date, thanks in no small part to the heart-rending sweeps of chord that blanket the peak of the track.
Review: Following on from the rip-roaring impact of Pev & Hodge's 21 Versions single, Kowton returns to the Livity homestead with two new tracks that further expand on the intriguing new pastures the label is moving into. The rasping drums are still present in abundance, but they're laden with an alien melodic cargo that bring a welcome dose of warmth into the surroundings. "On Repeat" in particular builds into a most beautiful of synth-led breakdowns before ripping back into primal, bleep driven bass business. "Holding Patterns" meanwhile whips up a straight-edged techno throwdown of the highest order, peppered with cosmic sound effects from the kosmische school of processing.
Review: Having previously used their dnuoS ytiviL offshoot to release material from their nearest and dearest (think Batu, Bruce, Hodge and Alex Coulton), Bristol's Livity Sound crew turns to unknown French producer Simo Cell. The two tracks showcased here are a rather fine introduction to this newcomer, with opener "Piste Jaune" offering a clandestine blend of stuttering electro bass, discordant analogue percussion hits and spooky electronics. The mystery man goes for the jugular on "Cellar Door", with pitched-down, bleep style melodies and liquid electronics riding an off-kilter, broken techno groove. Another fine Livity release.
Review: Any new single from the musical hive mind of Tom 'Peverelist' Ford and Joe 'Kowton' Cowton is cause for celebration, but Signal 3 is particularly potent even by their high standards. The title track is particularly more-ish, with twisted, looped bleep melodies and muffled rave electronics reclining over a typically dubbed-out, bass-heavy, dystopian rhythm. As with much of their material, it's formidably out there, but with enough weight to the spaced-out groove to suggest real dancefloor potential. "Low Strobe" feels a little deeper - despite its' picturesque elements - with some quietly attractive synth chords adding a surprise shimmer to an otherwise thrillingly low-slung techno groove.