Review: Blak Twang and Conrank - there's no messing with this partnership. His words flowing with a freedom and clarity that most grime MCs dream of, here we find Blak Twang extolling the virtue of hard graft and love for all scenes in the way only he can. His sentiments are compounded perfectly by Con's razor sharp riddim. Spacious enough to carry Twang's big sermon, heavy enough to chop-slap any dancefloor, this rapper/producer pact is impeccable.
Review: College Hill lands on our dubstep charts with his third release to date, and a fantastic follow-up to his last appearance for Car Crash Set. Still Jockey is the home to this new EP, and we're unsurprisingly pleased with the results given the roll that these guys have been on over the last few years. This College Material set is something else, though; "Arctic Warfare" is a stone-cold killer with no remorse for the soft-hearted, "Yandere" is the epitome of what we often call 'leftfield bass', "I'm Closing In On Death" stretches a distorted fold of bass over a barely tangible beat structure, and "Codependency Melody" ties things off with a wayward groove filled with gunshot grime sonics and some truly innovative sampling tactics. The last tune is particularly recommended - don't sleep!
Review: Repping all the way from Shanghai, UK producer Conrank has cooked up his most explosive beat banquet to date. The moment the uncompromising sub-slams and caustic vocal shot from "Shut Up" fire through your speakers, you know this is going to be next level. Further on we're sucker-punched by the sexy trappist flickers of "High Rollah", we're pulverised by the industrial strength drums of "AMPM", we're sent into dizzy oblivion by his Doshy hook-up "Hennessey", we're surged deep into 808 bliss on "Strap It Up" and brought to a sensational next-level crescendo with the madcap and unpredictable "Clear". Distinctive and wholly original, Conrank's busting some dangerous vibes right here. Get to know.
Review: Uncompromising ghetto grit: Decibel continues his savage bass sermons on the highly respectable Slit Jockey. Each cut christened with stark one word titles, every aspect of this four-tracker is lean and wholly mean. From the paranoid bass soars and sears of "Grid" to the nightmare screams and stretches of "Fly" via the subverted air horn twistedness of "Fake" this will resonate with grime, trap and dubstep peddlers alike. Distinctive and demonstratively unique; Decibel is smashing it right now.
Review: Triple DMC champion DJ Cable has devoted more time of late to his production work, and it shows. "Cartridge", featuring the venerable mic skills of mega-mouth MC Goldfinger, is arguably his most sure-footed release to date. With its sparse, rolling grime rhythm, 8-bit melodies, pulsating sub-bass and vintage video game samples, it sounds like a contemporary love letter to grime's halcyon days as a genuinely fresh East London sound. The vocal original is joined by an instrumental version and a handy acapella. There's also the small matter of the Devil Mix, which makes more of the bass, "power-up" noises and occasional 808 cowbells.
Review: Have you ever seen a policeman on acid? No, neither have we thankfully! If the country's protectors turn to psychedelic drugs there really is no hope. No, we're much happier hearing "Police On Acid", a rasping series of warping bass licks over a vicious Radioactive Man style breakbeat, it's much more fun than seeing men of the law lose their minds. Elsewhere on the release we're taught to count badly with the help of a staccato trap-style bass workout ("123789") and taken on a mesmerisingly scenic sinewave journey ("Q"). Oozing variety and creatively, all law-abiding bass lovers should check this.
Review: Well respected amongst the biggest MCs in grime, J Beatz productions are crisp, aggy and screaming for vocals. From the moment the swaggering breakbeats of "Sargent" rifle their way militantly into the mix, you know this six tracker is going to cause trouble. The urgent, insistency of "Red Cups" follows and it's a non-stop ticket to drama town. Elsewhere we join the Spiral Tribe for some Orb-like dubbery on "Based Riddim" and head to the moon in search for soul solace on "Sour Diesele". Quality control has never been higher.
Review: Another slick release for the relatively new US imprint Slit Jockey, Kaiser delivers a though provoking seven track EP for his second release on the label. With four remixes plus the original mix, opening track "Tasty Lazers" conjours up images of the world being taken over by machines, with its repetitive drones and computerized arpeggiated melodies. Of the remixes, the Dev79 & Thrills remix certainly shines with its bumping garage beats, Rhodes keys and sublime pads. For the chin-stroking dubstep crew, the more glitchy leftfield Kozee, BD1982 and Halp remixes may appeal. Highlight track "Polyphonic Pressure" brings a slice of euphoric peak time dancefloor pressure, while the more ploddy dark and mechanical "Courtesan Riddim" provides some ammo for the afterparty.
Review: For this project, LA's own Korostyle steps forward on the Slit Jockey imprint for an incredibly creative selection of sound design led compositions with the "Arkana" EP. Right from the off we are treated to the intense synthy bleeps of "The Raid". This is followed by unique soundscaping on 'I Get' which works choppy electronic sampling and spacious anti percussion together at a dubstep tempo. The eerie soundscaping and unpredictable melodics of "Keeper Of Time" wraps things up. This is a real lesson in creative sound design and rhythm if ever we saw one.
Review: Make no mistakes, "Can't See U" features some of Slick Don's finest lyrics to date. Myriad disses without any misses, they're the perfect mic-fire for Lenkemz's dark, spiked out riddim. "Polo Tee", meanwhile, opts for a deeper, 808-influenced groove as P Solja tells a tale of smoking and sexy time with clarity and naughtiness. Finally we hit "Came Here 2 Beat", a jacking four-to-the-floor garage jam that pumps and jumps with raw bass heaviness. Filthy.
Review: Long considered as the first USA grime label, Slit Jockey has been putting out the good stuff for a decade, celebrating their 10 year anniversary earlier in 2015. Bringing the electro-crunk funk to neon-spangled dubstep, there's a party in every tune and lucky for you, this LP is packed wit 'em. Retro and futuristic at the same time, "Tapanga Kapowski" is the soundtrack to an 80s action movie based on Street Fighter II; then next you're flying high and dropping low to the sounds of "Full Metal Optimist".
Review: Mojo Goro is thirsty... But don't get upset if he refuses your generous offer of a can of pop. His is a thirst more spiritual. A thirst, he tells us, that requires progress to be quenched, both personally and sonically. Ambition fulfilled: The beats on the reflective, synth-showered "Dissolved" only kick in right at the end. The stomps and scratchy loops on "This Mere Illusion" are delivered with a techno-like mentality. "Mountain Call" takes some of the common sounds employed by the tropical movement and remoulds them into a cut that's half ghetto, half cosmos. Complete with remixes from Tony Goods (power trap) and Blastah (future classic electro), if your soul isn't quenched from this you need to cut down on the pop.
Review: Bulgarian badness: "Pure Spirit Riddim" opens with two minutes of Eno-ish atmos before dropping into a planet-aligning riff where the slight detuning creates a tense allure. "This Is How We Do" is a much darker jam with its skid-mark textures and angular rhythm. The final original is the trappist spooky-jam "Justice Riddim". Supported by Amon Tobin, dial 808-Boneshaker for full details on how this will affect your health. Remix-wise Bios flips "Pure Spirit Riddim" into a dancefloor slapper, Copocut twist "Justice Riddim" into a post-club chiller while Dev79 and El Carnicero slam 70 shades of hardcore into "This Is How We Do". Full strength.
Review: 18 year old Manchester producer Numan dropped his second EP, "Skull Crusher" earlier in the year. Now, Philedelphia?s Slit Jockey Records release a remix package of the heavy dubstep cut that rocked dancefloors the world over.
The young Mancunian arrived onto the scene with a bang following his debut release on Licky Windows. "7th Key" brought him to the attention of some big and influential names that have helped him develop further as his career goes on. January saw the release of his second EP, "Skull Crusher" which was an even bigger hit, captivating dance halls everywhere. In an attempt to capitalise on the impact the record has made, Slit Jockey have decided to release the original alongside three remixes from Bombaman, CapricornOne and M80 Dubstation.
First up we get Numan's original effort. Beginning with atmospheric, echo-chamber synths and machine like percussive dashes, the track ruptures into glitchy distorted synth stabs, buzzing bass and distinct dupstep beat. The breakdown is pure dubstep freak out, perfect for the sending the rave into overdrive. The first remix comes from Canadian Bombaman whose more light hearted wiggled out version seems to draw on electro as much as it does dubstep. A serene breakdown comes in but is soon swapped for the craziness of before. The CapricornOne remix works dark and angst ridden lyrics over Numan?s sultry atmospherics. It is big and grimey, giving a completely new dimension to the track without changing the music much at all. M80 Dubstation complete the release by totally flipping out on their version of "Skull Crusher." Adjusting the speed and adding synth squiggles and flashes of bass, this track is truly an assault on the ears.
As Numan continues to develop as an important artist, a new trio of remixes come in to highlight his influence. Stretching the original in completely different ways, these versions all add to what was already a track of some distinction.
Review: Few instrumental grime tracks have truly tried to create the slimy, tentacle-like toxicity of a potential alien invasion... 'Alien Invasion' doesn't picture the scene but welcomes our new outerplanetary overlords with candour. As do the other worldly bass quakes that croak like 100 starved bellies on "Hopscotch". Deeper into this gully-galvanised EP we're slapped about the gaff by raw bottom burp bass on "Onix" and given a sharp-blast two-step serenade on the appropriately titled "Gnarly". Reach for the skies.
Review: If you like your dubstep in more of the modern sense of the word, with bleepy splurges and thrilling electronics, then Stagga is most definitely for you. This seven-track extravaganza contains just two original tracks and a wealth of remixes from the likes of Robot Koch, DNAEBEATS, Doshy and Dov 79. "Wild For The Night" revolves round a simple formula of cut up vocal, pitched up synths and smashing drums, whilst "Be The Generals" continues the journey with manipulated synth screeches, multicoloured SFX and plenty of vim and vigour. Each remixer gives their very own twist on the original, ensuring there's something for everyone.
Review: Previously given away for free last summer, Starkey returns to this momentous musical atom-splitter with a clever VIP. Where the original leans back on a much starker 808 trap recipe building up to the big blast drop, the VIP slam-dunks you in deep before you even get to tie the laces on your raving shoes. Two different grooves for two different shades of the night; usually a VIP outshines the original, but here we have two really interesting takes that could quite feasibly be played together with maximum potential to teasing the Dickens out of your audience.
Review: After a rocking debut EP for Hot N Heavy, Sublo touches down on US label Slit Jockey with his second single, and it's another four slices of neo-grime nastiness straight from the gutter. Title track "Miasma" manages to create a powerful half-time groove even without the help of an overpowering kick drum, while "Cold Sweat" has a more rigid arrangement thanks to its scattered yet present percussion shots. "Red Vision" and "Skyline" continue Sublo's travels down the grime cave, and although the sound he's experimenting with isn't necessarily new, the way he manipulates and distorts the arrangements feels refreshing.