Review: Last spotted on Warp on the inaugural volume of their Cargaa series in 2015, Nigga Fox returns to the UK institution with his debut label EP "Cranio". As always with the Lisbon underground kingpin, fusion and ardent experimentalism characterise the project as we're shifted and beguiled in equal measure at the rising paranoid acid tendrils on "Sinistro", the thumping obese kicks on "Poder Do Vento", the jarring techno necksnap of "Maria Costa", the lucid dreaminess of "KRK", the obscenely tripped-out voodoo instrumentation on "Waaba-Jah" and accordion squeezing technoid sketch "Karma". Singular.
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (original mix) (5:23)
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (Appleblim remix) (6:29)
Review: As a follow-up to Will Saul's exclusive-packed - and generally well received - DJ Kicks set, !K7 has decided to reissue two of the most celebrated tracks, with fresh new remixes. On the A-side you'll find Jabru and Joel Culpepper's "Church" - a decidedly organic, soulful chunk of deep house/UK garage fusion - with accompanying Zed Bias rub. The UKG veteran gives it a bouncy, bassy two-step makeover, wisely retaining Culpepper's brilliant vocals. Flip for Will Saul and Komon's spacey "Two For One", where dreamy flourishes rub shoulders with throbbing electronics and delicate house beats. The remix is provided by Appleblim, who adds a new layer of percussive toughness - in a bruk-meets-two-step style - whilst retaining the warmth of the original.
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: It's been a little while since Kyle Hall dropped his album The Boat Party, but now the Detroit powerhouse is back on Hyperdub to indulge the freakier end of his studio output inline with his previous Kaychunk 12" for Kode 9's outpost. "Girl U So Strong" is a stirring beast of a track, starting in scattered fragments of bass patterns, vocal snippets and woodblock hits, gradually forming into a starlit stepper of the highest calibre. "Take Me Away" comes on like a Detroit take on the Purple phenomenon, all sticky synth lines and Mega Drive melodies but roughed up with ample grittiness.
Review: Hyperdub kick off the vinyl side to their ten-year celebrations with this weighty four-tracker from some of the leading lights from the label's story. Mala is in a strident mood with "Expected, Level 10" carrying through that extra touch of melody from the Mala In Cuba LP. DVA cuts loose with the leftfield scattershot groove of "Technical Difficulties", reveling in tonal experimentation and jagged rhythmic flair to a stunning end. Still locked into the sci-fi trap tangent that characterised Severant, Kuedo turns out the haunting "Mtzpn" and Helix pops up for a remix of Kode9's "Xingfu Lu" that strips down to bare essentials with a little starlit soul rubbed into the framework.
Review: Take a look at the artists to grace the A-side of Decadubs 4 and you'll find a collection of names that have released some of this year's most talked about albums: Lee Gamble, Inga Copeland, The Bug and Fatima Al Qadiri. The B-side, however, hosts Hyperdub regulars like Ikonika and DVA, and the boss Kode9 of course, to more intriguing names like footworker DJ Earl and Jeremy Greenspoon & Borys who have previously released music on Dan Snaith's Jiaolong label. Dean Blunt also appears with a jazzy ambient cut, while Cooly G does the same with the sombre, vocal-driven "Mind".
Review: Kode9's Hyperdub releases are always eagerly awaited and this one is no exception. The South African producer now based in London presents a series of sublime steppers featuring the gorgeous vocals of Manthe Ribane. "Dear Ribane" starts things off smoothly with its minimal arrangement but the 2-step garage influence on "Sizzr" gets on the more energetic vibe. "Fede" gets more of a house groove happening alongside some serious low end bass. "Glonet" ends things on a darker tip, but that rolling groove that he has a sense for gets stuck in again at justthe right spot.
Review: London's Dark Sky trio have come a long way over the last three years, first appearing on the mighty 50 Weapons, then jumping on to Mister Saturday Night's catalogue, and now landing most vertically on Germany's Monkeytown - quite impressive if you ask us! The NTS Radio residents serve up "Voyages", a wonky techno side-stepper complete with tribal percussion and a distinct UK feel. Remix duties are taken care of by Francis Inferno Orchestra, who deliver a hypnotic and floor-ready version of the original, and techno God Reshape with his slithering, ultra-stripped back version. Another class act from Monkeytown camp.
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: Naturally, there's been plenty of hype surrounding this new Hyperdub 10", which features Burial indulging his often-discussed ambient influences. It's a typically creepy and ghostly affair, with the lack of beats - if not rhythmic elements - only serving to amplify the shadowy producer's impeccable sound design and brilliant use of manipulated field recordings. A-side "Subtemple" is particularly paranoid in tone, featuring as it does chilling melody loops, curious vocal samples, looped vinyl crackle and all manner of layered background noise. Flipside "Beachfires" is, if anything, even more dystopian, with Burial basing the action around the kind of pulsing chords that gust back and forth like an autumnal breeze.
Review: Burial's first multiple-track release since "Rival Dealer" three years ago: "Young Death" takes the lead with weave of deep, scratchy and evocative human textures while soulful vocal shards yearn and flutter over soft faraway beats. "Nightmarket" takes an even more introspective meander through the shadowy unknown with fractured arpeggios, distant whispers and thick graininess that envelops almost overwhelmingly. As forward, unusual and unique as ever, Burial remains in a league of his own. Limited.
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: Ilian Tape fam: Stenny returns with some long-awaited fractured schematics. Last spotted on the previous V/A EPs, this is his first solo EP for over 18 months and he's making up for lost time... Opener "Stress Test" hits like a cross between Youngstar and Tim Wright circa 2001 while "ElasTCT" takes a much bumpier technoid approach in a way you could imagine Craig Richards playing at 5am. "Adequate Force" racks up the electro shock therapy with a blistering breakbeat whipslap which DJ Stingray would happily play, before closer "Fail Better (Bent Mix)" takes things back to the jungle foundations. All molten breaks and glacial pads. Keep it rolling.
Review: Sam Shackleton's "Deadman" was the surprise hit of his recent Fabric mix - a sought-after gem that took his particular take on techno and dubstep in a thrilling new direction. Now, it's finally available on vinyl, alongside an impressive King Midas Sound remix from Kevin Martin. "Deadman" itself is the one for club plays, an intoxicating fusion of conga-led percussion - influenced, one expects, by the tropical beats of UK funky's most forward-thinking practitioners - and his usual densely layered atmospherics. The King Midas Remix, meanwhile, offers a spaced-out, heavily ambient take that delights and confuses in equal measure.
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.
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: 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.
Review: Etch and Nico Lindsay make good musical bedfellows; the former's spacious left-footed soundscapes providing plenty of room for Nico's narrative, evolving lyrical style, they're kindred spirits linked by a glacial sense of adventure and refusal to compromise. Opener "Don't Wanna Know" kicks the doors down with force. Rough and switchy, there's a pulsing 2002 feel to both the step and flow while "Predator Vs Prey (Toxin)" takes us on a much swampier, weirded out trip that buns everything but survival. Finally, Tranq Sinatra joins the fray for an urgent finale where fast-tongue tales from Nico are backed from Tranq harmonies and another iced riddim from Etch. Cold.
Review: Sometime Arcola artist Basic Rhythm returns to action via a fine four-track missive on Hypercolour's rave-inspired little sister, Sneaker Social Club. As you might expect, he's hit the mark once again via a quartet of cuts that gleefully blur the boundaries between a myriad of bass-music styles. We're particularly enjoying the broken computer style electronics, scattergun drums and discordant sci-fi sounds of "Too Nuff" and the Actress style madness of "London Warehouse", though we could also make a case for the sludgy vocal samples, post-dubstep pulse and weighty sub of "Ready Again" and slightly more melodious "New Style". In other words, it's a very strong EP.
Review: Sneaker Social Club are not messing around! Following their previous outings from the legendary trio 2 Bad Mice comes remixes from two impeccably forward thinking break crafters; Sully takes "Gone Too Soon" into some fantastical places as the breaks scream jungle but the big breeze pads scream Alex Reece but both elements work together emotively. Falty DL, meanwhile, gives us a hardcore schooling on "Limit Of Paradise" with its heavily layered breaks, wall of sound pads and dynamic drops into spacious hooks. Bad to the (clear vinyl) bone!
Review: Sublime retro future breaks from Keysound affiliate Etch. As suggested in the title, none of these breaks have real titles; it's just all about the crisp drum work, vast roominess and old school dynamics from the brushed drum swing of the first slice and the rubber ball bass of the second, right the way through the ghostly vocal tones and MC commands on the fourth slice, this is the sound of a man who knows his foundations inside out. Sneaker Social Club don't release anywhere near as much as they should.... But when they do you should always pay attention.
Review: t's been a rapid rise for Paleman, conquering Swamp 81 in a short space of time and getting snapped up for remixes by all manner of respected entities, and here Calum Lee kicks up the dust on 81 with the anthemic parp of "Beezeldub". With those plastic horn blasts calling out, any dance worth its salt is going to lose its proverbials, and that's before the stripped and weighty core of the track kicks in. It's a cut perfectly toned and buffed for maximum club response, and it sits in a neat contrast to the more esoteric fare of "Newun". Where the lead track demands attention from the off, this second jam snakes in with a tricky rhythm and plenty of oddball, dubby effects for a more subtle and largely percussive effect.
Review: Callum "Paleman" Lee is one of Swamp 81's most decorated artists, having released a string of well-regarded 12" singles for the hyped, bass-obsessed imprint. Yrs Ago is his third EP for the label's 81 offshoot, and sees him joining the dots between techno, post-dubstep bass music, and angular electronica. The title track sets the tone, with robotic voices, creepy electronics and smooth sub-bass riding a metallic, broken techno groove. Flipside "Animus" is a marginally more melodic affair, with spacey chords and bubbling arpeggio lines riding a punchy electro rhythm. Both tracks are naturally rather heavy, and undoubtedly amongst the producer's strongest work to date.
Review: When Peggy Lee slinked around in the 50s to the sultry strains of "Fever", could she ever have imagined that half a century later, people like Romare would be turning her tune into a weed smokin', love makin' slo-mo RnB jam? Unlikely to say the least, but "Your Love (You Give Me Fever") is on the money and respectful, if different to the original's mood. Elsewhere on Romare's latest Black Acre release, "Jimi & Faye" is a warped take on blues, "Taste Of Honey" recalls the days of daisy age hip-hop and "Hey Now" is a weary and haunting piano lament.
Review: Hessle Audio's emergence from hibernation in 2012 really has seen the label release some of the most extraordinary music of its life, and this EP from Bandshell might top the lot. Tapping into the grainy, murky sound world of the like of STL, Shed and Actress, this record explores strange rhythms constantly on the verge of breaking out into a frenzy. The title track is comprised of little more than rattling percussion and dense, fizzy bass, while "Rise 'Em" places a jungle breakbeat atop a mucky hum. On the flip, "Metzger" takes the vibe of classic dubstep and fills it with subtle melodies and clipped snares, but "Dog Sweater" is the real killer - a homage to soundsystem culture whose threadbare rhythms are the only thing to stop you being dragged into the track's viscous centre. Make no mistake, this is a serious new talent.
Review: Grande designs from Ikonika as she unleashes her long coveted bootleg of Ariana's massive "Into U". Built around an industrial-strength 80s style track that Madonna would have swapped her full holiday entitlement for, it's less of a bootleg and more of a complete revision as the vocals cut through the mix and wrap around each element like they were meant to be. Your crowd don't want the full vox treatment? Flip for the equally sharp instrumental.