Review: Destination Dominowe: Gqom delve deep into the craft of the 23-strong collective TLC Fam with their first full-flavoured EP. Featuring their signature vocal rhythms, hard-rolling taxi kick signature and soul-stirring Zulu arrangements, even by Gqom's broad smorgasbord standards, this one pushes new buttons. The chanting hypnosis and sudden synth salvo of "Tribute To Nomfundo", the snare-rolling, heavily percussive militant stampede "Ndanda Yethu" and the slo-mo, unhurried trippiness and smoking subs of "Bridge Lase London" are just three of the highlights you'll find here.
Review: Following up great releases by EVA808, Epoch and V.I.V.E.K, American bass imprint Innamind returns with some deep dubstep - courtesy of Utrecht's Tomas Roels, better known to us as TMSV. Moody low-end pulsations permeate the powerful opener "No Sleep", while "Temple" gets off on a more uplifting vibe with its ethereal pads, creative rhythm arrangements and hypnotic melodies. Lastly on the flip, "Maniac Mansion" proudly wears its U.K. influence on its sleeve. Following up great releases for labels like Cosmic Bridge. Artikal Music and Black Box, Roels is, well - on a roll!
Review: One of the most prominent and on-point dubstep labels to emerge in recent years, Youngsta's Sentry hits new peaks with their first V/A album. The full set will include the likes of Argo, Taso, Sukh Knight, Mr K, LSN, Nomine, Opus and many more contemporary low end visionaries. And it kicks off right here with a truly international collective; Truth, Caspa, Bukez Finezt, Onhell. From New Zealand to Cali via Germany and UK, all vibes are explored here... Cosmic swagger on Truth's "Simulation Theory", paranoid gravity-defying deepness on Caspa's "Anyone Else" and proper Mozart-flavoured 808 mischief from Bukez Finezt. Onhell brings this remarkable syndication to a close with the wavey, poignant "Sun Ra". Bring on the whole album.
Review: Acid Waxa drew plenty of positive heat for carrying Roy Of The Ravers amongst many other respected braindancers, but now Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones is getting the remix treatment on the label for her Pillow Person project, with some wild results. It's great to see Bogdan Raczynski back in action and bringing some gently wonked, emotional acid meanderings to "On Your Way", while Lechuga Zafiro makes an art out of aping footwork, and more specifically "Footcrab" while making it sound like someone just stubbed their toe and got stuck in a loop. IYDES however turns "In My Game" into a deconstructed but utterly bloated pop beast, and then Oliver Coates whips "Go Ahead" into a woozy, highly strung daze with billowing synths underneath Jones' vocal.
Review: Madrid's man in London Vromm has already made some resounding moves on the likes of Critical and Doc Scott's seminal 31 imprint but this could be his boldest move to date on this Cosmic Bridge debut. "For The New Age" is a powerful future soul slicker, all shiny, hopeful and sprung with jazzy flourishes, "Restart" switches to a slimline, jittering cosmic jungle aesthetic while Cosmic Bridge builder Om Unit himself taps in for a beautiful collabo finale "Stargazing". Freeform in its feel and focus, it's a near 10 minute trip that's once again tinged with a jazz mindset thanks to its heavy layers and percussive variations. Beautiful.
Review: Busting open a brand new bottle of 2019 with his bare Mancunian hands, Walton returns to Pinch's Tectonic with his first fresh dispatch since his sophomore album Black Lotus. As always, it's a full-bodied assault as "Bullet 2" licks shots with technoid venom. "Inside" follows with a similar spirit but with even less layers of armour and a bouncier bassline, while "More Cowbell" does that toxic Pulse X style alien bass thing, gets all trippy with the percussion and seriously stampy with the kicks. Finally, we close with a bruked up G swagger on the spacious, foreboding "Gunshot Clap". Shots fired.
Review: If every record in The Weevil Neighbourhood acts as a location or hub within its community, this is the town hall. The nucleus from which all information and threads of consistency spread, it's where it began: 2011 with two robust, technoid dubby fusions that owe as much to Croydon as they do Detroit. The two came as a whole and have remained both in demand and breath-taking ever since. Still sounding contemporary and fresh, this is a timely reissue of a timeless release.
Review: YES! We'd been waiting on this collaboration from UK start vocalist Wiley and shadowy electronic pioneer Zomby for a long time now, and it's about time it's landed on our shelves. "Step 2001" is a straight-up grime piece, a clicking, twisted groove made up of darting hi-hats and pacman sounds; you know when they say "they don't make them like they used to!"? Well, this doesn't apply here, as it's a serious head-dive back into the early noughties scene. There's also an instrumental version for maximum damage.
Henry Wu - "Substance" (IG Culture & Alex Phountzi remix) (4:36)
Son Of Scientist - "Spartan Riddim" (4:52)
NameBrandSound & Sonar's Ghost - "Can't Hold It" (4:43)
Alex Phountzi - "2nd Intention" (feat IG Culture & Henry Wu) (4:39)
IG Culture & Seiji - "Gangz" (4:26)
Review: Bruk bastions, the CoOp collective were one of the brightest, most exciting musical movements in the early to mid 2000s with their barbed, broken soul take on bass music emanating from Plastic People playing a heavy role in the forms of contemporary house music, dubstep and all things in between. Freshly reformed since a Boiler Room comeback in 2015 and loaded with new affiliates, the ensemble, First Word proudly present their first collective EP. Ranging from the jittering soundclash bashment of "Spartan Riddim" to the sensual Bias-like harp heaven of "Can't Hold It" via the technoid stutters of "2nd Intention", this marks the start of a very exciting new chapter for the CoOp crew.
Review: Woof! Hyperdub bring together two of the most recognisable and enigmatic artists of recent times on this 10", as Zomby and Burial square down ahead of the former's new album for the label. Zomby's Ultra LP is undoubtedly one of this year's most anticipated albums and "Sweetz" suggests it may be a very moody affair indeed. Whilst rooted in UK dance, Zomby and Burial do look elsewhere for inspiration too. Just under seven minutes long, "Sweetz" veers through various sub-heavy soundscapes with intermittent rhythmic patters and a distinctive looped vocal sample whose pitch changes with dramatic effect.
Review: 50 Weapons indulge Tony Williams's expansive take on current dance culture as Addison Groove. Put simply, Transistor Rhythm looks gorgeous, with design heavily indebted to Williams' clear passion for the Roland 808 and the tracks spread gloriously across two slabs of thick vinyl (there's an even beefier 3xLP version out too!). Musically, Transistor Rhythm explores the same areas of crisp, finely sculpted rhythms that have graced Swamp 81 and 3024 in recent times, with the smart sample usage on tracks such as "Night To Remember" complemented by a clutch of guest spots.
Review: Stepping up with his second album for 50 Weapons, Addison Groove is once again mining the rhythmic excitement of juke and footwork and working it into his blue-hued melodic headspace. Standout vocal cut '"Just You" is a prime example of the upbeat flavour across the album, while "11th" matches the plush harmonies with moodier switch-ups, and "The Spirit Level" drops the tempo into a house bump that lends itself to the illustrious synth sweeps. Typically though the beats are in that twitchy middle ground between dubstep and footwork, leaving plenty of space for razor-sharp constructions and dazzling edits as best demonstrated on the dynamic acid roll of "Space Apples". Chaos abounds on the B Side where Developer's frantic side is shown via "Promiscuous" whilst the tightly wound "Pulstar" is quite hypnotic.
Shanzhai (For Shanzhai Biennial) (feat Helen Feng)
Review: Multidisciplinary artist Fatima Al Qadiri aligns with Hyperdub to release Asiatisch, a keenly anticipated debut album that's described as a "simulated road trip through an imagined China". First coming to prominence on the UNO label in 2011, Al Qadiri has subsequently provoked critical acclaim for the 2012 Desert Strike EP for Fade To Mind that played on her time spent living in Kuwait as a child, while her work under the Ayshay moniker for Tri Angle explored vocals in a unique manner. Asiatisch expands on the political themes of Desert Strike in a new and unexpected way, and acts as a homage to the style of grime known as "sinogrime". Asian motifs and melodies are prominent throughout whilst conceptually Al Qadiri runs through "the fantasies of east Asia as refracted through pulpy Western pop culture". If that wasn't enough to sell you on the concept, opening track "Shanzhai" is a "nonsensical Mandarin" language cover of Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U".
Review: It has been almost two years since the Fatima Al Qadiri's debut LP dropped on Hyperdub, and we're as excited now for her follow-up as when we'd heard the first one. This is because Qadiri provides us with everything to satisfy our need states; through an awry and granular sound, the artist is able to transmit a whole spectrum of moods and feelings. This makes Brute an album for anyone, and it can be enjoyed both by the party-goers and the moody corner-dwellers. The intro is a detached sort of skit that distances itself form any sort of shape, but so we're dropped in a post-futuristic world of pseudo grime, broken, detuned techno and tropical electronica. To be honest, there would be no other place for it than the mighty Hyperdub. Big release.
Review: Icelander-in-Berlin and card carrying member of the experimental shape-shifting oqko collective, Astvaldur's debut album enjoys the vinyl attention it deserves. A delicious web of splinters, shards and shadows, the whole body of work tessellates and twists in crazed games of contrasts - the eerie ambient and broken glass drum hits of "Flesh" the stuttering kicks and gurgling bass of "Locked On" and the warped reverse tones and textures of "Rotary Credo" are just three examples of the stark, futurist fusion at play here. Tip.
Review: Alex Banks has endured something of a stop-start career, first hitting record shelves in 2007 under the Munk 777 alias before finally returning - largely as a renowned DJ and remixer - a couple of years back. Here the Brighton producer finally fulfils his early promise with an excellent debut album for Modeselektor's Monkeytown Records. Illuminate sits somewhere between grandiose post-dubstep, sinewy string-laden deep house, jazz-flecked techno, murky glitch-hop and folksy electronica, with grandiose dancefloor moments (the gloriously rushing "Inititate") nestling side by side with woozier, more introspective pieces (the Bonobo-goes-electronic jazz of "Lights"). Immaculately produced and impressively atmospheric throughout, it's the sort of debut album that should propel Banks towards the upper echelons of electronic music.
Review: With a wealth of modular techno and experimental sounds to his name, Ralph Cumbers is a prolific producer by anyone's standards and he seems to be going through a particularly productive spell of late. As well as records on PAN and Public Information being announced recently, last year's excellent Acid Tracts cassette has now been reissued on vinyl thanks to the Alter label overseen by Luke 'Helm' Younger. Fans of Bass Clef's under rated Punch Drunk LP Reeling Skullways are encouraged to investigate here, as the potential shown on that album is opened up in glorious fashion across wider stylistic spectrum. Already an album filled with witty track titles, this vinyl edition comes packing an extra previously unreleased one in the shape of "Music Sounds Better Without You".
Review: Seven years have passed since Burial first stopped us dead in our tracks with this universally acclaimed second album.. Sounding so different, so removed and far away from anything else, it changed the game entirely - and created a whole school of imitators in its wake. Now repressed by Hyperdub, this is a rare opportunity to grab it on fresh wax. Even if you have this on other formats in your collection, the dusty weight and chasmic crackles sound so much better on vinyl.
Review: Little is still known about Butterfred besides the fact that their melting pot can withstand a lot of ingredients and influences. From lo-fi hip hop to grime to dancehall to UKG to bass to Detroit to bare naked experimentalism, the flavours are tangible. They also seem to be pretty prolific as this is the second album in less than a year. And, just like LP 1, it's a beguiling, far-reaching experience that spans from the broken b-boy grunts of "Make It Work" and "Now You Know" to the glacial slo-mo techno of "Magnesium" and the oceanic bliss of "Shove It". Vast and stark; we can believe it's Butterfred.