Review: The cavendish crusaders are at it again. And this time they're rolling out the barrels with full V/A power. Chad Dubz opens with the provocatively titled "Pricks", all sludgy, swampy and twisted while Karnage & Dayzero up the energy with a dramatic symphonic loopy nod to the far east on "No One" while Guesswerk close the show with the long awaited "Persian Dub". On dub for a good couple of years, this gravel throated swinger has been doing the business for a select amount of DJs for some time. Now it's finally yours. From Bristol with fruit. Tuck in and be quick about it.
Review: More inspired work form one of dubstep's most influential producers appears again on World Of Wonders - a label devoted almost entirely to the work of Gemmy since 2011. Gemmel Phillips is a producer and DJ from Bristol, UK who has released previously on tastemaker labels such as Punch Drunk, Pinch's Tectonic, Mike Paradinas' Planet Mu, Soul Jazz and Earwax before forming his own imprint in 2011. This new three-track EP here follows on from his Bamboozled EP for the label last year, and shows off Gemmy's keen talent for crafting 'purple wave' influenced bass music. From the wonky grime attitude of "Nah Tek Bk Chat" on the A side, to the booming speaker rattling B side cut "Stop Dat" - this whole release is a killer!
Review: Etch & Ilk's grid-hating stable heads west to Philly for some spiritual guidance Gohda-style. Wavey, trippy and breezily cosmic, each original sucks us deep into its textures; the ebb and flow background arpeggio and rolling processed breaks and subdued melancholy on "Cybercity", the far-out 22nd century hip-hop beats of "Corrupted Angels", the weirdo squelch-ghetto creeper "Graverobber" and the crisp-beat Atlanta-bound highlight "In Tha Trap". Remix-wise TMSV takes "Graverobber" deep inside the church crypts for amplified harmonics while Bulu adds more of a left-sided club bang to "Corrupted Angels". Bang for your bucks; bun this at your peril.
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: Recovering from the damage caused by Caspa's "Gutter Riddim" earlier this year, Youngsta's Sentry returns with a rightfully-hyped newcomer Gramz. Following a strong range of flips and self-releases, here we find the UK talent in full vinyl mode with two ridiculously on-point 140 jams. "Dip Dip Potato Chip" is every bit as tasty and filling as it sounds. Trippy, slurring and woozier than a disgraced celeb, this one sucks you right in and doesn't even bother to chew you up; it just swallows you whole. "Illa" takes the freakiness to even more refreshingly vital levels with its pitched ghetto vocals and drill-like snares. As with all previous Sentry releases, this is nothing short of essential.
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from Kerem Sevincli AKA Iskeletor, an Istanbul-based beat-maker and bass-loving experimentalist who last featured on Tektosag way back in 2013. His return to the imprint boasts a trio of tracks on one-side, with an attractive, etched illustration on the other. He begins with "Afromax", a two-minute flurry of chopped experimental hip-hop beats, mangled bicycle bell and nuts-and-bolts percussion and wonky, shape-shifting electronics. Gantz Seytan remixes, cannily emphasizing the wonkiness of the beats on an outer-space excursion that's near hallucinatory in its twisted, slow motion approach. To round things off, Sevincli offers up his rework of Grup Ses cut "Mimar", re-casting it as a dystopian, ever-changing experimental beatscape rich in redlined sounds and epileptic drumbeats.
Redders & Sam Binga & Hyroglifics - "Vintage" (feat MC DRS) (4:50)
Review: MC-focused EPs aren't particularly common in D&B. They're even less common on Critical. In fact this is the first. And it's a delight from the off as Redders teams up with mates old and new for a body of work that's more album than EP. "No Go" is all space-funk oddness with barely a bar in sight, "96 In One" is rapid fire storytelling over a dancehall version, "Dem Ones" is Redders' take on a dry-humping love song while "Sexy Or Sweet" sits somewhere between Toddla T and Barry White. Winding up "Aphasia" sees Redders and Sam flip Ruffhouse's dark tribal stamps into a carnival killer and "Vintage" sees the Bristol-based MC go toe-to-toe with the best MC in the game. One of a kind.
Review: Following a successful Pledge Music crowd fund, Route 1 Audio have put together another heavyweight wax slab with seven of their many talented affiliates. The yellow disc opens with the deeper, sub-rumbling axis of Route 1's remit with RNDM's "Soulfire" and C-Side's "Kingdom Dread" before dipping into the punky D&B energy of Ncomfortable's "One Love". Monkixx and Kevala take us back on deeper trip with dreamy fractured takes on UKG while Bigseuf and Galactic Steppa close the show with booty-busting juke and future-retro jungle respectively. No bass stone uncovered.
Review: Juicy jams galore: ZHA's White Peach return with their sixth "Bits" instalment where Peach pals old and new collide with their freshest, most vitamin-enriched cuts. First up label newcomers Neffa-T and Patrick Brian get rowdy with a space-aged grime stepper "Sabertooth". All staccato fire and rubber-ball bass it sets the tone for Gundam & Jook's grimey snare-smacking hybrid "Tactical Espionage" and some obese bass ripples from Modelle, who was last spotted on the label earlier this year with the awesome "Paladins" EP. Finally ZHA makes a rare appearance with the wonked out melter "Running VIP". Yum.