Review: New Zealander Akcept is arguably rather representative of his home country's unique approach to bass music, offering up a string of releases for the likes of Modern Hypnosis, Amar and Moonshine that fuse dubstep and UK dub rhythms with audible references to techno and roots music. He's at it again on this superb new single, first combining African percussion, pitched down vocal samples, deep dubstep rhythms, weighty bass and dub effects on A-side club cut "Cambridge Road". He stays closer to experimental dub territory on flipside "Over & Out", where sparse drum hits and metallic dub trails combine with an unashamedly heavy sub-bass motif and Melodica samples to devastating effect.
Review: Where to place Weevil Neighbourhood? Is this dub techno? Perhaps. Dubstep? Maybe. Drum and bass? Sometimes. Experimental? Yes: in the truest sense of the word. It draws from all these aforementioned styles and more, resulting in the formation of a reclusive German label breaking the framework of many electronic music genres wide open. The title-track from Anthone's second EP for the label is where the dub techno suggestion comes from thanks to its caustic chord sequences, only there's flashes of dubstep beat designs and loose drum and bass textures similar to what can be heard on Felix K's Flowers Of Destruction. On the flip, "Lungs" is instrumental and live feeling. In parts it sounds like a band playing, while in others you can here the work of samplers looping, and when combined, it offers an industrial soundscape that's like merging some of the darker rock and metal stylings from Sex Tags No Amfibia with Regis' Sandra Electronics project, only reduced to the point of almost being ambient.
Review: It was only a matter of time before Boofy landed on Pinch's Tectonic. Both Bristol. Both magnetised to the fringes. Both responsible for untold low end hurters like these... "Back In The Box" is a heavy pressure cut with pneumatic kicks and ominous stretched brass textures while "Herbie" is a highly strung piece that's stripped back to just drums, subs and an eerie faltering lead and builds and twists when you least expect it. Flip for the churchy chords and rattled percussion of "In My Head" before "Perfunktion" closes with jazzier chords and a stone cold steppy kick arrangement. Classic Boofs.
Review: It's time to step into the Bristol shadows with Sector 7 once again as label co-runner Boofy invites Young Echo to the fray for two instrumental grime / dub hybrids. "Roll The Dice" pelvises with its dense subs and shimmering atmospheric textures while shattering trap snare roll and a mystic melody and skippy drum arrangement flicker in and out of the foreground. "Cane Sword" is a little more on the pure grime tip with some superb drum momentum, breathless atmospheres and cool samples that skid to a halt when you least expect them. Roll again...
Review: Aside from having a stellar catalogue of releases that span from labels like Reflex to Hyperdub, Kevin Martin's The Bug project has been a foundational pillar of the UK dubstep and bass scene. if there has always been one producer to take things one step further and challenge the dance with each new tune, it's most certainly this producer. No wonder he's been releasing music on Ninja Tune for ages, and that he's back on the label now with this new EP. "Box" features revered grime MC D Double E on the mic, and the collaboration between the two results in utter carnage, a visceral grime banger backed by The Bug's twisted concoctions of beats and bass; check the instrumental, too. "Iceman" is a similar sort of curbside killer, this time with Riko Dan on the vocals, and followed by that gnarly instrumental cut...oof!
Review: Repress alert! Wednesday: Hyperdub announce a new three track release from enigmatic producer Burial - his first solo work in four years. Thursday: Said records arrive on Juno doorstep. How's that for service (and secrecy)! The news came just a matter of days after the producer's collaboration with Radiohead front man Thom Yorke and Four Tet arrived on record shelves across the UK and promptly sold out amidst a frenzy of hype. There are three new tracks on offer here, namely "Street Halo", "NYC" and "Stolen Dog". First up "Street Halo" showcases the classic Burial sound; subterranean bass gurgles, trademark clicking beats and barely-there vocal snatches. A sweet childlike vocal pervades the sonic mist on "NYC" while "Stolen Dog" closes out with ethereal vocal harmonies buried deep beneath vinyl crackle. Stunning.
Review: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
Review: After a decidedly silent 2013 Burial is back on Hyperdub with a new single that points to pastures new for the stealthy producer. "Rival Dealer" is sure to polarize opinion as it takes a positively unexpected route into hardcore breaks, static interference, all manner of oddball speech samples, diversions and switches in dynamics, and a willfully grainy production finish that borders on punk. Depending on where you choose to dive into the ten-minute track the experience could be very different; experiencing it in full is nothing short of a rollercoaster. "Hiders" too is full of surprises, more indebted to pop balladry than anything remotely garage related, and the emotive croon and swooning piano is only magnified by a Yazoo-esque drum stomp at the midway point. "Come Down To Us" is equally heartfelt, all slow release vocals and languid chords yet constantly fractured at the edges, with yet more surprising turns of bombast waiting in the wings over thirteen minutes.
Review: The mysterious Dreadz white label returns for a follow up to their self-titled 001 in 2017. Once again one-sided, no info or credits, just a good old-fashioned system shaker with a sub line that melts through the scoops like ice cream on a hot day. Deep, spacious and, quite possibly, a head nod to Ras Nyto's release from 2008, this is proper contemporary 140 / dub business and it's not likely to hang around.
Review: Get out of the shower scene and onto our decks. Drone follows up his Circadian Rhythms release with a ruthless jam that's straight out of the Norman Bates guidebook to life. Stark staccato strings, booming bass and spacious beats; this is pure Bristol Psycho business and it's backed by another west country horror Boofy on the remix. Chopping up the original within an inch of its life, he adds a little ghetto-twist in the beats for added murderation. Heavy.
Review: For the seventh salvo on Well Rounded Records' "Well Rounded Dubs" series, the hard-working Brighton crew has secured tracks from two hard-working and well-regarded producers. Bristol based Chad Dubz handles side A, reaching for the weirdo effects, psychedelic electronics, sub-heavy bass and head-nodding beats on bleeping post-dub head-nodder "FKD" (think Mad Professor after overdosing on LSD and you're close). Over on side B Manchester's JFO takes over and treats us to a particularly deep dubstep excursion where creepy effects, ricocheting percussion sounds and horror style spoken word samples cluster around crunchy beats and a suitably sustained sub-bass motif.
Review: Basic Rhythm man Anthoney J Hart has previously released a handful of fine albums and singles as East Man, most notably a couple of killer LPs on Planet Mu. In recent times he's decided to go it alone, pressing up 12" singles on the Hi Tek Sounds label he launched last year. This time round he's in full-on collaboration mode, with Hyperdub and Tectonic regular Walton joining him to lay down a pair of military strength club cuts. A-side "Horse Mouth" is a throbbing chunk of bass science, with the pair wrapping mind-altering analogue bass, creepy chords and occasional dub-wise vocal samples around a hard-wired staccato rhythm. This twisted take on dubstep is explored further on flipside "Gunshot", whose scattergun machine drums come bathed in oven-warm chords.
Review: Earlier in the year, South African rising star Escapism Refuge delivered a debut album laden with deep sub-bass, heady aural textures and killer dancefloor rhythms. There's plenty more atmospheric, rumbling fare on offer on the producer's latest three-track EP, too, with the focus is naturally on "Wet Wipes". While the original version, featured on the B-side, delivers an attractive fusion of drifting, Arabic-sounding vocal samples, undulating music box melodies and crispy dubstep rhythms, it's Biome's cinematic, synth-laden A-side revision that's really getting us hot under the collar. Also impressive is bonus cut "Don't Mind Me", where ambient chords and head-in-the-clouds melodies rise above a skewed-but-punchy rhythm track.
Review: Peng Sound revisit their highly sought after debut release. Just shy of two years old, it still rattles and hums with authentic dub warmth and drama. Gorgon Sound's original bubbles with bouncy heat as the bass modulations spring off the double-up kicks. Dubkasm's version is equally alluring as we're invited into a much wider space where guitar shots and other melodic elements are entwined into the mix. One timeless composition, two killer versions, if you weren't lucky enough to grab this first time round, you know what to do!
Review: Sleeper man Alex Fox debuted the GRAMZ alias earlier in the year via a two-track 12" on Sentry Records built around paranoid sonic textures, serious bass-weight and rolling 140 BPM beats. For this 10" outing on Crucial, Fox has taken a deeper approach, ratcheting up the smoky atmosphere while retaining sizeable low-end pressure. "Joken" and flipside "Get Them Bags" are hazy, ultra-deep dubstep workouts, with both doffing a cap towards hip-hop and grime (check out the manipulated MC vocal samples on the latter, in particular), as well as the crackling sonic textures of Burial. "Joken" rolls along nicely while remaining pleasingly subdued, while "Get Them Bags" has a little more sonic strut. Both, though, are excellent.
Review: Uncompromised 140 magic right here as Tokyo's Helktram returns with their first full single in over two years. This time coming on Trusik, each cut flexes into a different dimension. Opening track "Suggestive Effect" hits like a pneumatic techno drill, marching militantly into your cortex with its staccato drill. "Insecure" plays the consummate foil with its glacial textures and weeping, woozy chords while "Iron Box" brings things together with a classic Coki-style pinched wobble driving the groove both back and forth in time.
Review: Second time around for Hi5ghost's most famous and celebrated release, 2015 single "Nook Shot". A bombastic chunk of grime heaviness built around military strength drums, Melodica style hooks, scattergun percussion hits and weighty bass, the producer's original version remains one of his most potent and dancefloor-friendly outings. In fact, it's still something of an anthem within the bass community, a factor that no doubt inspired this re-press. Arguably even better is Commodo's flipside revision, an altogether creepier and more clandestine affair that re-imagines Hi5ghost's bustling original as a weighty slab of post-dubstep brilliance replete with scattergun drum fills and woozy electronics.
Review: Having recently notched up 100 releases, Tectonic begins a new era by offering up a suitably weighty collaborative release from Peng Sound regular Ishan Sound. On side A, the Young Echo member joins forces with Hodge - owner of the nicest hair in techno - for the deep and dreamy dubstep shuffle of "C5", where fluid riffs dance above a blazed but powerful beat. Muttley lends a hand on flipside cut "Still Smoking", an altogether livelier and more aggressive - if still suitably deep and hazy - 140 BPM workout that comes complete with stabbing, grime style riffs and some serious subsonic bass.