Ovatow is a pseudonym for Klen, the owner of Harbour City Sorrow. It's been ten years since he donned this mantle to release new material, so naturally expectations are high about its return. Negativity... certainly doesn't disappoint. Designed to be experienced in the depths of winter, "Frustrations (dub)" is a textured downtempo piece. Resounding to resonating tones and dubby soundscapes, it's an expansive affair that recalls the work of fellow traveller VC-118A. On "Visitation V4", Klen edges towards the dance floor. Spiky percussion and offbeat staccato drums guide the path ahead, providing the backdrop for Klen to weave in atmospheric chords. It's a fine comeback from an elusive, mysterious artist.
This latest collection from Mia Koden is a great example of just how exciting the more abstract ends of the bass music spectrum can be, with four brand new mysteries to unravel. First up, the uneasy atmospherics and spooky textures of '10easy' lead the way with an unnerving feel from the off, followed by the choppy drum sweeps and high-ended hat-taps of 'Racket'. Next, 'Sludge' arrives for a gnarly march through pulsating pad swipes and clackering percussion below, before the delicate drum work and heavily delayed vocal samples of 'Apres Vous' then bring this project to a close.
Timewarp Music's 'Freestyle 4 Funk' series reaches its ninth installment, which (somewhat confusingly) comes in four volumes, subtitled #funk, #disco, #tropicaldub and #downtempo. This is the #tropicaldub selection, for which you can essentially read 'reggae and dub' as label regulars like Prosper & Stabfinger, DJ Laurel, Vito Lalinga, Funky Destination and of course head honcho Timewarp Inc step up to pay tribute to the sound of JA - while still allowing, as with the #funk volume, plenty of scope for fusions with other styles, be they Latin (see DJ Laurel's 'Sambafunk'), Afro (see Lalinga's 'Vrye Denke') or hip-hop and breaks (see P&S's 'Popping The Clutch'), not to mention one fine slab of straight-up funk (Zamali's 'Kings & Queens') and, in the form of 'Simoon', the obligatory weirded-out closer...
Star_Dub follows 2021's initial Voodub release on Rawax with a tantalising follow up. Fans of dub techno labels like Basic Channel and Echocord will find much to love here. "Voodub 6" is an offbeat, understated groove. Meanwhile, "Voodub 6" is also in reflective mode as Star_Dub conjures up mysterious textures over rickety drums. There is also a more club-focused side to this artist's output: "Voodub 5" unfolds to the sound of cavernous sound scapes and deep kicks. On "Voodub 8", a similar approach is audible. While the rhythm and drums are more stripped back, its choppy groove and subtle builds will work with discerning DJs.