Review: Ever the wild card, Scratcha DVA flips the script once again as he returns to Hyperdub with soulful crooner Vikter Duplaix in tow. "Madness" bursts into action on a bright and goofy, rising and falling arpeggio, while the beat splutters in a syncopated manner. It makes for an odd foil to the smooth tones of Duplaix, but the end result is something of a wonderfully futuristic pop track. "Polyphonic Dreams" is just about more straight up, riding a funky beat and a more direct synth line, but still Scratcha manages to twist things up with some maverick sampling.
Review: Always a safe bet for some of the most colourful, playful sounds on Hyperdub, DVA is back at it once again with a sure shot EP that features more collaborative fun and games. Starting off on a seriously strong tip, Addison Groove gets involved in the 808 rich title track, which does some dazzling start-stop acrobatics with the groove while stitching all kinds of jazzy flourishes in and around the beat. Ciara La San lends her vocals to "Pink22" and the end result is a colorful twist up of RnB pop crossover material with that DVA freakiness rubbed into the joints, while Mickey Pearce brings some club-ready rowdiness to "Spoonbender" but can't repress DVA's skill for stripped down weirdness.
Review: Hyperdub's resident freaky styler DVA throws down a sizable six tracks of loose-limbed cuts that further branch his sound out from his UK Funky roots with typical creative flair. Lead track "Mad Hatter" best demonstrates this, starting life on a live drum stomp before snaking into a broken funk while off-key bass wobbles and manically frayed hits of percussion do the nasty around the snappy beat. Throw in a completely unexpected boogie sample breakdown for good measure and it's clear DVA is having fun in the studio. "Chilli Burrito" is equally deranged in the most essential, party starting of ways, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Review: Scratcha DVA delivers his debut 12" for Hyperdub with "Natty," taking dub step's funky phenomenon even further with two funky, yet tribal tunes.
This is a highly anticipated Hyperdub release. Having received plays from Kode 9 affiliates, Cooly G and Ikonika in addition to players like Oneman to Marcus Nasty and Jackmaster - expectations were high. The iconic label, perhaps sensing this, have even issued the record in a resplendent spot-gloss sleeve.
Known originally for his grime beats, DVA has been bubbling away just under the surface for a while now. It is his unique take on the funkier side of dub step that is getting him all the recognition now. Serving as an answer to all those who believe this new movement is a step in the wrong direction for the genre, this release showcases DVA adapting to the dynamic production levels of European house and techno and twisting them for a ruder, contemporary London-centric audience.
"Natty" is based around a heavily staggered snare-driven rhythm that gives the track its infectious off-centre, skippy nature. It is a slow, percussive trip that swaggers and staggers with tribal influences. It is a truly unique track, almost free from any other labelling whatsoever. "Ganja" however, is much simpler. It follows a 4/4 pulse but feels loose and rolls along to some jackin' polyrhthms and loopy lead synth. Perhaps the better track for the dancefloor, "Ganja's" catchy bassline merges perfectly DVA's more minimal approach to funky dub step.
Hyperdub are always pushing dub step, helping forge new sounds and different techniques. Even within the funky sound, the label's output shows varying approaches. Through DVA, it shows a darker, more minimal take on the sound through splicing elements of house and techno into the genre.
Review: Rinse's breakfast show champion makes good on his blossoming relationship with Hyperdub and delivers this exotic and flavoursome debut LP. The first thing you notice is the strength of the vocal contributions, from Fatima on "Just Vybe" to Cornelia's elfin tones on "Pretty Ugly"; the combined effect of over half the tracks featuring a different singer somehow winds up with Pretty Ugly feeling like the best neo-soul album in recent times. DVA's production is wild, like a ranging beast he has no hope of taming. The sheer richness of sounds on offer, mixed with the oddball synths, noises, squiggles and jiggles, combine with the vocals for an utterly fresh album.
Review: A new Lone album from Matt Cutler represents an about turn away from the more mellow tones found on 2014's Reality Testing back in favour for the rave tropes that characterised his output circa Pineapple Crush. The nine tracks on Levitate are rife with the energetic fervour of hardcore and jungle, blending peppy tempos and nimble drum licks with the trademark graceful melodies one would expect from a Lone record. You should be familiar with "Backtail Was Heavy," already been premiered via a phone line service and "Vapour Trail" which formally announced Levitate and the other seven cuts from Lone show Cutler is at the top of his game.
Review: Hyperdub have to be one of the best labels in the world for discovering cool new sounds and themes, and it appears they have done so again here as they unveil a weighty four track offering from Lady Lykez. This EP is packed with energy, kicking off with the pulsating vocal rhythms and scattering carnival drum rolls of 'Muhammed Ali', which as a remix features the legendary Lioness. We take a afrobeats style spin next as the murky swings of 'Lyke U' wade into play, followed by the vibrant tribal percussive leads of 'Drmatic'. The EP then finishes up in funky fashion as the bouncy drumwork and skippy flows of 'Buzz Lightyear' see us over the finishing line.
Review: Following on from their excellent 2013 album Nightshade, new wave/punk act DVA Damas return to Karl O'Connor's label with Wet Vision. The title track sees the duo fuse the rockabilly guitar chimes of late 80s/early 90s The Fall with atmospheric textures as Taylor Burch's breathy meanderings makes its way up through a stepping rhythm. "Wet Vision II" is more abstract, held together only by reverberated claps, while "Silence" is like a spikier, more forthright version of Tropic of Cancer, its mysterious textures supported by broken beats. DVA Damas also make concessions to the dance floor on this release and "On Your Heels" is a brilliant, dubbed out stepping techno track.
Review: As a long standing member of the UK's experimental bass community, Scratcha DVA here joins forces with the twisted creations of Gage for two tracks of blissful unpredictability, really exploring the barriers of sounds and beyond. The first track we here is 'PIFFD', a weird and wonderful showcasing of creative sound design, alternating between toad-like plucks and retro synth harmonies. On the flip we are approached with a tad more structure, as the mysterious melodies and unusual drum sounds of 'FLYTNURSE' are allowed to roam free. We are also treated to a very clever rework entitled the 'Darq' mix, stripping the track back slightly with a more concise structure.
Review: Taylor Burch and Joe Chocherell's DVA Damas project has always inhabited a sound space all of its own. While heavily influenced by post-punk rock, new wave and minimal wave synth-pop, quite a few of their records also draw on contemporary minimal techno and Visionquest style tech-house. It's the latter that comes to the fore on "Clear Cut", with Burch's stylized, groaning, Mascara-clad vocal riding a dubby, hypnotic tech-house groove and spiraling, EBM electronics. It stretches out for a mesmerizing 10 minutes, too, and subsequently overshadows the fine - but not quite as potent - bonus tracks.
Review: We all know very well of the impact that DRMTRK's powerful catalogue brings to underground dance music in the UK. For this particular project, we see two legends combine as Scratcha DVA joins forces with the immovable Mak10 for a weighty two track display. We begin our listening journey with 'Promise U', a percussion heavy fusion of drifting soundcaped pad textures and vocal snippets with delicate rhythmic arrangements. On the flip to this, 'Smoke Signal' offers us an alternate direction, linking up fluttering woodwind arpeggios and other percussive drives with a skippy set of rhythmic instrumentation, making this one a real creeper for the dancefloor!
Review: As one of the original kings and front runners of UK funky, it's always and absolute pleasure to see Scratcha DVA return to the releases, as he does here with this absolute corker alongside the DRMTRK imprint. As a recording, 'FOH' hits every note you could ask for in an original funky stomper, switching between the high pressure introduction sections to carnival style drum circulations and hard hitting chord stabs. This is most certainly one we would recommend drawing for in the dance, just watch the room implode! Excellent stuff from Scratcha as per!
Review: With the clubs now re-opening and returning to full capacity, alongside a range of festival shows being back in action, the DRMTRK crew are responding accordingly with a selection of club-ready creations, courtesy of both Scratcha DVA and Menzi. We begin with the bulbous synth slides and choppy rhythmic goodness of 'Queen' from Scratcha DVA, who once again shows his mastery of unpredictable drum design with the funky spectrum, before Menzi arrives to give 'Whoo Hoo' a spacious rethink, focussing on atmospheric energy and shimmering pad textures behind. Next, the pair combine in style for 'Storm Vz Grave', fusing descending synthetic textures with alarm-like tones and industrial drum crunches, before 'Drmsix' sees Calista Kazuko get involved on extended mix duties, again utilizing the concept on minimalistic percussion and a steadily evolving arrangement. This whole EP is a fantastic look into the mindscapes of both producers with some truly interesting results.
Review: It looks like DRMTRK have done it again here as they arrange a top draw line up to join the legendary Scratcha DVA on 'DRMTRK VIII'. We kick off some super slick production along with an incredibly lively vocal performance from Mez, who lets loose with some typically energetic flows over a grimey madness from Scratcha. Following this, Griffit Vigo joins the party with some excellent contributions on the unpredictable drum work of 'Goosebumps', with DJ Polo then getting involved on 'Boog'; a bass heavy ride through interesting funky grooves and well designed percussive layers.
Review: As ever it seems that DRMTRK are intent on exploring new musical grounds as the mastery of Scratcha DVA is again deployed across four tracks of futuristic fire. We kick off with the industrial percussion and choppy melodies of 'Storm' before landing on the minimalist sub splashes and choppy drum switches of 'Whoo Hoo', giving the EP an excellent sense of contrast from the off. On remix duty we see the marvelous Bakongo get busy with a super funky relick of 'Fatherboard', complete with colourful LFO expressions, before we then hear Nazar unleash a dramatic, glitchy overhaul of 'Storm'.
Review: Even The Strong have gone out of their way to explore the unknown with this one as they invite the combined powers of both Scratcha DVA & NKC onboard for a pair of fabulously creative originals. We begin with the shuffling kick drum rolls and techno inspired arrangements of 'Hardbody 999', in which Scratcha DVA once again displays his incredible ability to deliver the unexpected, as the track descends into a more UK funky inspired combination of rhythm and distorted basslines the further on it travels. On the flip, NKC gives us something just as impressive as the industrial drum designs and choppy arrangements of 'Shuvvin Match' give us a gnarly, system ready smasher. What a combo!