Review: Nottingham's finest returns with four more heartfelt heavers. "Heartbeat" lollops and sways on a cool lazy beat, jazzy key flourishes and glistening guitar twangs, while "Mal" takes us deeper into the darker dance with eerie pad wails and off-beat bass croaks. "Breather" is the lullaby of the set thanks to its pristine arpeggio and overall coating of dreamy haziness, and "Raise" completes the set with a nagging, heads-down groove that nods with aspects of techno but sways with subverted garage motifs. For good measure Mindstep have also recruited Trashbat on the remix flex who takes "Mal" into the trippier pastures of deep space by way of jazzy off-beat melodies. Heart-stopping stuff.
Review: Having previously contributed to two different compilations on Mindstep in 2014, captivating vocalist Animai now gets the chance to stretch out over an entire EP with some of the label regulars on hand to round out the production duties. The results are diverse, with Anex reaching to melancholic reflection on "Come With Me" and Trashbat bringing a more soul-infused flavour on "Deep Sleep". Animai takes the reins by herself on "Limelight" with enchanting results, and then Vaun brings some moody, bubbling tones to "Beneath". For those moments when you crave a canny fusion of meditative dubstep with thought-provoking vocals, look no further.
Review: From the label who gave us My Nu Leng and Adam Prescott comes another super talented artist - Belgian Artroniks. Fresh from big support from the likes of Compa and J:Kenzo, he makes his Mindstep debut with five outrageously deep slices of modern day dub. From the bulbous bass bubbles of "Afterlife" to the early Orbital flavours of "Inverse" via the darker, more dungeonesque vibes of "Dissonance", this shudders and shakes with serious low-end luxury. There's nothing dissonant about this whatsoever!
Review: Bunzero teams up with four different artists across the Darabuka EP so be prepared for a bit of an aural surprise in each track. First up it's a collab with Katya Gabeli; mournful, trembling strings introduce the cut, which is characterized by thudding, oppressed drum kicks and quirky SFX. This contrasts nicely with the Mr Jo collaboration "Chapati", an altogether more experimental piece with murmuring atmospherics and Eastern sitars that might have influenced the track title. Bunzero teams up with Kamine for the rolling, chiming title track, before he goes solo for a deep, meditative slice of soulfulness with clicks and bleeps a-plenty in "Liana". Last but not least "Metaphysical" brings the EP to a close.
Review: Relative newcomer Craft steps forth with this first full-flavoured EP for Mindstep... And it's rich in diversity. The second "Funk 140" opens, you know you're in for a treat; all slap bass and salubrious Detroit synths, it's an instant floor elixir. "You Called" follows. Edging down the funk just a smidgeon, the dense polyrhythmic beats are peppered with shards of tight jazz and lush woozy pads. Elsewhere the title track taps into a more classic dubstep tradition, thanks to its gritty bass textures, but the rest of the elements are unique; floaty trumpets, Swindle-style keys and twisted sample-play ensure its distinction. "Bad Boys" continues the dream theme with more key sprinkles laid gracefully over a sturdy, steppy drum pattern. "Phonic" brings us to an emotional climax with a tear-jerking D&B halftime cut that balances bubbly bass and more minor-key, jazz-minded flurries. Immaculate.
Review: Mindstep's movements are making deep tremors right now. Their innate understanding of deep dub, its roots and its foundations have just scored them a coalition with Leeds dub heroes SubDub (run by soundsystem killers Iration Steppas no less). Their second annual label album celebrates the this success with a far-reaching brew of spatially stretched, abyss flavoured audio. From the woozy synth wails of Djinn's "Something You Know" to the delicate piano strokes on Tallan's "Tahi" to the more club-focussed bassline drawl of Six & Syte's "Wretch", this represents the label's intricacies and depth with style and promise.
Review: The last time we heard from Belgium's premier bass peddler Digid, he was getting all Biblical on us. This time round though, he's sticking to a template of deep reggae delivering a seven-track mini album of spaced out dubs. His production skills are fearsome with tracks like the synthy "Silky & Smooth" displaying a gleamingly pristine finish, "Righteous Soldier" incorporating a faint ska influence and the title track having a forward-looking anthemic quality.
Review: Marietta-based Drew Anthony stirs a unique brew. Steeped in trip-hop heritage, original dub and contemporary jazz just as much as it is dubstep, these cuts smoulder with real timelessness and groove weight. From the sleepy trumpets on "A Little Class" to the steel-foundry reverberations on "Side Effects" via the badman loopiness of the super-murked, slow-amen massage "Acid Vibes" and the hazy organ and horn flurries on "Soho Jam", this transcends standard stuffy genres. Ideal for deep floors and heavy headphone sessions, Drew's theory is a winning one.
Review: Sometimes a well-considered track title is all you need: "Hypnodub" genuinely lives up to its name in every way. Its ricochet dynamics provide the hypnosis while the slinky, slippery low-end provides the dub. Devilishly simple. Also included is "Ganesha". A collaboration with long-time compatriot Dillard, it's yet another lesson in depth and it comes complete with subtle jazzy chords. Stunning.
Review: Powerful contemporary dub from the MindStep crew. Jeph1 provides a perfect spacious dynamics for Leicester's premiere conscious ambassador I-Mitri. Embracing the true sentiments of dub and applying loopy, textured techniques, it's at once heavy and meditative. Remix-wise Dubkasm gets his digidub on, Trashbat soothes our soul with slinky, soulful future garage breezes and The Illuminated take the groove down to the darkest dungeon possible, providing some great space for I-Mitri's vocal. This fire is going to burn for a long, long time.
Review: The Isle Of Wight's Sepia recently started putting out more straight-up breakier material, but here on Polaroids, which sees him join with Mindstep, he's fully reverted to the deeper stuff he's better known for. There are five new tracks to get stuck into too, including the sleepy jazzy haze of "Never Hurt You", the ambient synth lagoon "Blitzball" and the scatterbeat shoegaze vibes of the title track.
Review: Trashbat has smashed 2014 to pieces with his MindStep releases, and we reckon this is his best yet. Showcasing his broadest sounds throughout, we range from deep dungeon-bound murkage on "Realness" to smoky future soul of "Scale & Tusk" (where Sarah Zad doesn't sound too far away from a young Ms Badu). Elsewhere we get heavily meditative by the spacious arrangement of "Gold Fire" and get drenched by the big Detroit synth sprays of "Moist Beat". Six tracks of originality, each one exploring a different shade of bass, may Trashbat continue smashing for a long time to come.
Review: Languishing in the oceanic pastures of deep, jazz-tinged modern dub-focused electronica, MindStep missions are consistent in their soul and crystalline creativity. Here's a firm reminder - in the slim case we needed one - as the label's exponents are united for the label's second 'best of' style collection. Ranging from the two-step subversions of Sepia's "U Make Me Feel" to the more techno-minded sound palette of Dillard's "Rocks & Trees" to the 22nd century jazz of Jafu & Freud's "Sofia", every facet and feature of MindStep's ever-evolving remit is explored, represented and celebrated in great detail here. Dive deep.
Review: Celebrating three years of deep consummate beatsmithery, MindStep curate the inaugural MusicForYourMindStep compendium. Fifteen exclusives, baked by the label's family and close affiliates, each track surges at the very forefront of sub science, pushing the label's remit further and further into the future. Highlights include the sodden slo-mo tribalism of Feonix's "Cafeweiss", the overwhelming sense of atmospheric oppression on 11th Hour's "Ishwara" and the muffled jazz and scratchy dub drums of Trashbat's "Arrowhead". And that's only a fifth of the stark sonic soliloquies MindStep have commissioned and compiled. Dig deep and discover your own highlights.
Review: Vaun's emotional, highly musical blend of bass music reaches a new high as he delivers an epic six-track opus on Mindstep. Coming on strong like fellow Bristolian countryman Phaeleh, he treads a fine line between dancefloor weight and life soundtracking future-minded soul. Highlights include the dreamy, star-gazing almost Massive Attack-like "Sidelines" with Sarah Zed, the smoky Soulectionesque spoken word pressure of "Knowledge" and the wondrous beatless beauty of "One Touch". Vaun's skills and creativity are becoming more and more apparent by the release. Highly recommended.
Taking Over (extended instrumental) - (6:03) 140 BPM
Review: Pivotal MindStep outing from 2013 "Taking Over" affirmed both the label and Vaun's unique role in dubstep. Emotional, perfectly measured and genuine; it fused electronic music's most leftfield, heartfelt attributes with dub dynamics like very few other tracks. Now for the remixes: Simbad adds a relentless jacking thump, Wayfarer throws down a murk bomb with fractured beats and gurgling bass and Sam KDC gets busy on an off-beat 170 flavour by way of a titanium snare. There's also an extended instrumental for good measure. The MindStep takeover bid continues...
Review: The dust refuses to settle from the ever-developing hype of his unavoidable Animai co-lab "Taking Over", Bristolian Vaun delivers another emotion-primed slice of contemporary bass. Rolling with a barbed, dark soul feel that wouldn't have gone amiss on Massive Attack's Protection, Anya Caroline's vocals hide behind the wavy ripples and chords and delicate cascading pianos. Subtle Mind step up for the remix, bringing the pianos and the vocals closer to the spotlight. Don't stray too far from this one.