Review: Blimey, if this isn't major meeting of musical Midas minds then we don't know what is. Alter Echo, E3 and Headland all collaborating with legendary dub flautist Diggory Kenrick. "Temple Duel" sets the scene in deep underground chambers, untouched by the sun. Reverb space is our only guide and ritual combat is the only way out as we make our way through subsonic 808 bass foundations, a near-industrial mid-range bass guitar groove, stiff snares, stick-fighting percussion and Diggory's torchlight melody. A truly fluid hypnotic narrative that arcs through the dark, if you're looking for an even foggier route flip for "Temple Dub" where the torch is extinguished and you have nothing but your sonic wits to take you home. Only Diggory knows if you make alive or not...
Review: German producer Bhed takes charge of the ninth EP on the vital Trusik label. His mastery of ambient, dub, techno depths and bass weight are all present and correct here, never more so than on the fantastic opener "Eighteenhundred". Taking up the whole of one side of wax, it is more than deserving of that indulgence as it slowly trips through floating pads, icy hi hats and supple rhythms that soothe the mind, body and soul. "Apatheia" is a more edgy track which is just as cavernous but has you looking over your shoulder, and closing cut "East" is a pure and dreamy dub beauty.
Review: Since launching in 2014, Portland's ZamZam Sounds imprint has offered up a string of beautifully packaged seven-inch singles from a mixture of big hitters and rising stars from the global bass music scene. Their latest missive comes from Dayzero, a Japanese dubstep producer best known for his outings on Wheel & Deal, Sentry and, most recently, Vomitspit. The two tracks here are weighty, intergalactic and otherworldly, mixing dub style rhythms with the kind of angular, razor-sharp sub-bass motifs more often associated with dancefloor dubstep. Both cuts are quality, though it's rolling A-side "Orbit Dub" - all lolloping dub beats, wobble bass, metallic effects and paranoid aural textures - that really stands out.
Review: Dubkasm's digi-dub roots dig deep into the early 90s. Boosted into the future by fellow Bristolians Pinch, Appleblim and Headhunter, here we find them declaring "Victory" with this instantly show-stopping horn-heavy skanker. Laced with space and complete with myriad versions, a fine balance of meditative bass and mind-blowing sonic creativity is at play throughout. Those with a penchant for the abyss-levels of dub science should jump straight on "Verse IV". Hear that stretched horn sound and you'll soon understand why it's been sub-titled "Raw Piece". Victory is yours!
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: Dub maestro Mala joins forces with prominent British writer, dub poet and Rastafarian Benjamin Zephaniah and Natty for this heavy hitting, hand-stamped 12". "I'm a bad man anyway, this is my sound" says Zephaniah with real passion as spaced out pads and delicate chords soften his battle cry, and his musings on the black man's struggle, righteousness and Rastafarianism play out in absorbing fashion. Best believe this one is going to become a real cult favourite, not least because of the exceptional sound design and sense of space inherent in any Mala tune.
Review: Versa on System; it's a match made in dub heaven. Slower than the usual club-ready output V.I.V.E.K's label has often been known for, these are perfect home listening for the current lockdown era as Versa goes in deep; "Temple Song" is all about the subtle loopy insistencies while "Breakthrough" sinks us even deeper into our chair with its minimal ingredients providing maximum immersion. Finally "Biosphere" ushers in the kicks for a warm and rolling dub techno escapade. Stunning.
Review: It's finally here... V.I.V.E.K launches a brand new label and, as the title suggests, it's something a little different to the deep 140 piledrivers his System Sound is known for. Two rootsical excursions and two killer versions, this is the sound of the System champion bringing things back to the source. The title track (featuring longstanding System MC Dego Rankin) is a warm dub jam, spaced for good measure. Flip for "Galactic" as V.I.V.E.K flings us further east on a ship powered by Oriental strings and another rolling dub groove that's designed to make rigs purr. Beautiful.