Review: Manchester's Kiel lays down some serious ice on brand new label Prism. "Range Road" takes us out to M16 with no way home. "Who You Hang With" is all about the abyssal bass plunges and symphonic stabs. Laced with an infectious vocal loop, it's a steamy blend of grime, trap and ghetto crying for some raw bars. Creeped-out, eerie and sprung with tension than to its smidgeon of wavy sci-fi, this is a fine statement for instrumental grime in 2018.
Review: Both an intriguing and very cool release on Hyperdub, Philly producer King Britt surfaces after a long absence with this new project that goes beyond his traditionally lush and funky nu-jazz and broken beat releases into a darker and chillier place. The Gary Numan-meets-Prince spank of "Chasing Rainbows" is a great starter, while the off-the-wall drum programming of "The Chase" and the filmic swathe of "Lilloo's Seduction" show a breadth of talent that can only come from being in the game for 15 years plus.
Review: Following its high impact launch with Sh?m last year, new London label Romulus kickstart a new year with a crisp eastern design from Kotei and a fat stack of high grade versions. Building on the crispness of recent outings on Boxed, Dream Eater and Southpoint, "Ichi" is a glacial misty stepper measured with serious restraint and cavernous dynamics. Remix wise Glume & Phoswsa tank up some chest pressing 808 kicks, Dakun cooks up some remarkable harmonics in the tubular basses, MOREOFUS adds a little wave twist in the top synth while JFO closes the show with a jugular gunned two step. All corners covered.
Review: Kromie the homie brings the heat we've been hoping for since he previewed it in 2013; the sizzling, screaming, 1.21 gigawatt voltage bassline monster "Gravity". Every bit as heavy as its name suggests, it's Kromestar at his most venomous (and arguably very best). Flip for his ever satisfying game of contrast as "First Kind" switches to Ricky's equally satisfying deep side. All smouldering subs and cavernous space. An absolutely outstanding piece of 140 wax right here, Isaac Newton ya dun know!
Review: Last year, Dream Eater Records offered up a "versus" release boasting weighty and intoxicating cuts from both Kromestar and Ironsoul. It was something of a success, so they've decided to repeat the exercise. Kromestar handles side A, wrapping fuzzy, grime style beats and pulverizing bass in fluttering flutes, heady synth strings and dreamy chords. Ironsoul takes a totally different approach on flipside cut "Temper", an off-kilter chunk of wonky dubstep/grime fusion full of buzzing, echoing riffs, mind-altering electronics and sub-bass pressure. It's rhythmically curious, but that's undoubtedly part of the track's seductive late-night allure.
Review: The Dream Eater crew have got the munchies again and it's another all-star feast featuring some of the label's most forward-thinking beat splicers. Teetering on the trippiest peripheries of instrumental grime, highlights include the seasick rolling breaks and disassociated humanised twangs of Kotei's "BUN", BThorough's vital rainbow-razzled pipe blaster "Flutter" and Filthy Gears' monstrous trappist drama slammer "Peace Treaty". Happy nightmares.
Review: Veteran grime star and rap giant Kano uses the hoodie as a symbolic crux throughout his sixth album. It's an item of clothing often associated with criminality and errant youths, but here he re-casts it as a form of protection for young black men who have a wide range of racial and societal pressures to deal with. It makes for a politically charged album with shiny electronica next to stark and prickly beats, melancholic pianos and minimal garage rhythms. A musically expansive work that crosses many styles and scenes, but remains united by Kano's ever impassioned deliveries.
Review: Jamie Vex'd returns to his Kuedo project after several years working both underground and commercial sector as an engineer, sound designer and composer. His return couldn't have happened soon enough. "Slow Knife" is anchored by a strong sense of score-like sci-fi throughout as tracks such as the spectrum creeping alien trains of "Slow Knife" and the smouldering twangs and pensive vibrations of "Love Theme" create a dense, sense-blurring narrative. Elsewhere Jamie finds time to escape into raw futuristic soul ("In Your Sleep"), wry broken beat dancefloor procession ("Floating Forest") and overwhelmingly immersive sound design ("Broken Fox") This is just the tip of a sonic iceberg that will take many exciting listens to get acquainted with.