Review: Rising 140 sculptor Samba proudly presents his own label 26.RAIN. Following a whole string of heavily supported releases on the likes of System Music, Deep, Dark & Dangerous and Encrypted, the label is a new outlet for a fresh synth-led fusion style he's been developing gradually. Deep, musical, not shy of an 808 or a two-step or two, there's a touch of UKG, wave and trap deep across both sides. "Acecloud" is the big neon dreamer of the duo while "Cookies" crumbles a little more delicately and introspectively. An excellent launch release, we're saving our rainy day money for 002.
Review: Not to be confused with Young Echo associates Jabu, the unrelated Lord Jabu is a 20-something producer with one previous release to his name. According to Albion Collective, his latest EP "synthesizes solid state trap with 64-bit dream-ware". We're not quite sure what that means, but opener "Treehead" is a distorted and mind-altering blend of lo-fi chip-tune melodies, mangled ice cream van chimes, bowel-bothering bass and rumbling post-grime dubstep beats. His passion for Sinclair Spectrum synth sounds is further explored on the flip, first on the trap style shuffle of "Folklore" and then via the pleasingly tuneful - if cracked and twisted - closing cut "Yagoda".
Review: Reso returns to his 140 roots with this obscene four track stack of uncut sludgy gully on Albion. Three originals, one killer remix, it all kicks off with the treacle-like dollops of bass on "Focus Inwards" before we slide woozily into the thick prang soup of "Smashed Up" and get fast tracked to Hades HQ on an industrial lift called "The Essence". Throw in a divine rolling refix from TMSV and you've got one of Albion's strongest plates right here (and considering the earthquakes levels of Taiko's release last year, that's saying something!) Time for some deep focus.
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: Previously spotted on Boomarm Nation, Turkish bass experimentalists make their debut on Innamind's Blacklist imprint with four of the nuttiest, most far-out tracks you'll hear this season. Sitting somewhere between Modeselektor and Squarepusher but with dubbier roots, highlights include the tripped out harmonic headiness of "Heavy Machyn Gun" and "Phix", the slo-mo white knuckle ride with fellow Turk Gantz. Off the planetary hook.
Review: Last spotted on Boka shotting "22 Ounces", Chad Dubz now returns to find us all fully fledged "Addicts" awaiting our next Bristol fix. The lead track is at once bouncy and subdued with a heavy pressure and filter on the riff fluctuations. "Out Of Here" gets us on the first train to rehab city, its tricky percussive rolls and deep space slowly cleansing our souls before "Teachings In Wub" diverts us with scholarly wobble-whipped subterfuge. The final stage of our program takes us deep into the wilderness to find ourselves; "Iggy's Castle" leaves us on a mystic finale, all cobweb sonics and strange shadows. Moreish.
Review: It's 2019 and Chestplate bossman Distance is well and truly woke. Dropping his first officials since his outing on J:Kenzo's Artikal last spring, the whole four tracker is a pungent trip back to the stinker golden age. Rough funk, distorted and tailored strictly to kick the living peanuts out of the crowd, each cut is Distance doing what he does best. From the psychedelic dirge of "Awaken" right through to the orchestral darkness of "Settling Scores", Distance isn't mucking around here. Neither should you.
Review: Following last summer's scorching anonymous first CV white label "War / Fan Dem Off", RDG's label returns with another mysterious never-to-be-repressed doublet. Fittingly cold and wintry for this time of year, both "Sly" and the much-coveted "Teardrop" are taken to glacial places. Deep, smoky, spacious and foggy, both cuts burn long smouldering fires both at home and in the dance. Grab them while they're ice cold.
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: Toronto's Distinct Motive returns to Truth's triple D stable with four more outright stinkers. Opener "Radar" has been huge for those lucky enough to have it on dub; all infectious and bleepy but not overly so while "Itchy Fingers" grizzles and grunts with a loose but savage groove. Deeper (and darker) into the EP we hit the 2007 feels of "Loose Pimp" while "Crazy" closes with a little nod towards to the instrumental grime motifs; all string plucks, glacial feels and smoking 808s. One for the radar.
Review: Up there with Swindle and Joker, dubstep's funkiest OG Silkie returns to Deep Medi with three more sublime grooves. Broken, cheery, just a little cheeky and swooning with switches, each of these cuts rattles and bashes with Silkie's signature west- coast-meets-UKG-in-a-long-dark-Croydon-tunnel melting pot: "Impervious" flips from orchestral epic to dreamy flutters before dropping into 80s horn funk with mischief while "Reevea" is Silkie in classic "Poltergeist" mode. Finally "Egyptian March" is straight out of Indiana Jones. A jittering snake charmer that has you going from nought to rolling under stone doors and grabbing your hat in 10 seconds. Silkie you absolute don.
Review: Like a many Britons, Chad Dubz doesn't have much time for Prime Minister Theresa May, who was, at the time of writing, still just about clinging on to her job. He's not only included a demonic painting of the "Maybot" as a "Reptilian Bitch" (his words, not ours) on the record's centre labels, but also made a thrillingly angular and heavy dubstep smasher as a kind of artistic two-fingered salute. LSN's flipside remix of the title track ratchets up the distorted analogue bass and mind-altering electronics, while also adding some suitably exasperated and sweary vocal samples. Elsewhere, "Wob" is a deep stepper powered by a gargantuan wobble bassline, while "Rollin'" not only does exactly what it says on the tin, but also includes the EP's deepest, heaviest bassline.
Review: There seems to be a bit of a narrative here on Phrex's second Dubtopia release. Previously, Version bossman Orson had given us "Life Gamble". Now he's on his "Last Chance", and it's every bit as foreboding as you'd expect the final roll of the dice to be - menacing, pensive and lined with venomous acid. Bern's Phrex is experiencing a similar situation; while he previously told us about "Vectors In The Sky", he's now warning us of "Colliding Clouds" to the tune of quivering, tightly weaved top lines, trippy dub echoes and loose soft drums underpinned by a voluptuous rolling sub groove.
Review: There's no stopping this American trio right now; after a massive year of ugly thumpers on the likes of Dank & Dirty Dubz, Chestplate and Artikal, they return to DUPLOC for another EP, this time fully vinylised and loaded with two VIPs of their label debut last year. "Forest Temple" is a real foundation shaker where the subs do all the talking and the eerie textures ripple through the spaces while "Up Up" is just a straight up stinker with full wobbles and teeth gnashing filth. Flip for two crucial VIPs as "Verify Me" and "Yellow & Grey" are given the most dapper go-gullier-stripes you ever did hear. Sound as a pound.
Review: Japanese junglist Ishio Dai presses up another Effective96 heavyweight handstamped white. Harnessing the magic of Skatalite's Jonny Moore on both sides, "Mirage" takes us deep into his own cloudy atmospheric universe upon a rolling jazz-minded drum arrangement while "Island Dub" strips everything right back to the crucial constituent parts to allow each rhythmic and dubbed element to sing. Singular.
Review: Keeping it loose as we wade into a new year, Encrypted Audio ask Japan's Karnage back for more faraway jams. As with previous outings together, it's an enveloping sea of shades ranging from the woozily bent and cascading tones of "Leaper" that almost slime off the beats to the bleary flute loop that's mangled with precision levels of uplift on "Mysticism". In between we have the industrial strength "SOL" which sounds like a steel foundry melted into a waveform. Powerful.
Review: Although Dalek One has been exterminating dancefloors (sorry) for some time, it was only last summer that the deep dubstep don made his long-awaited vinyl debut. Here he keeps up the pressure via a weighty EP on Encrypted Audio. Check first the mangled, electronically scrambled rap vocals and sci-fi riddims of "Eyes Red", before getting your ears around the elongated sub-bass tones, tribal percussion and paranoid electronics of "Wire Tap". If that's not enough to set the pulse racing - and it should be - we'd recommend whacking on the crackling, sub-heavy roller that is time-travelling dancefloor treat "Man Sees Alien". In summary: pleasingly far-out.
Review: Last spotted on Encrypted's Codedinsound V/A album in 2017, Denver's Malleus returns with his first full EP for the label. If you've been following his sounds on the likes of Gourmet Beats and Foundation Audio, you'll know exactly what's up here; swampy, otherworldly textures, trippy aesthetics, warped and weirded out sound designs. "Damien" takes the lead with demonic graveyard arpeggios and pressurised kicks while "Dragging The Lake" is swampy, grotty and gloopy in consistency but poignant and barbed in emotional energy. For maximum wonk jump on "Grinn" while militant nightmare heads should jump straight onto the finale "To Kiss The Witch's Flesh". Filth.
Review: Following his recent collaboration with Sepia on Wheel & Deal, Chonkmob's Koma gets busy on Encrypted with three dastardly originals. "Moonlight" is murky and all fogged out with devilish tendencies while "Uncle Sullivan" takes a trappist approach with its lavish lead strikes creating drama on every up and down. "Deep In The Crease" (with Dalek One) is all about the hip hop breaks, gritty sleaze, off beat samples and sweary cockney. Need a more trippiness? Jump on Murk's remix.
Review: Don't be fooled by the title; this ain't no sampler from Skeppy's fantastic debut album Enjoy This Trip, these are two fresh new tracks that remind us the Exit artist depths and versatility. His first 140 jams in a while, "Paper House" shudders under the weight of DRS's crystaline poetry while "Nebula" shoots us to the edge of the sub bass cosmos on a rocket made of spacious, skippy beats and shows us no way of returning home. It's the trip that keeps on giving...
Dark Harmonics & Otz - "Voidwalker" (J Kenzo remix) (5:05)
Track 4 (4:14)
Review: Vinyl-only business from the FKOF crew: Sheffield's Dark Harmonics and Subaltern's Otz team up for the incendiary "Voidwalker". Creepier than a graveyard picnic, it's all in the strange misty textures and powerful sense of tension before the flabbiest of subs kick in and the fun begins. Remix wise J:Kenzo does them proud with a similarly tense twist that's based around hard swaggering kicks and more eerie and bad dream textures. Elsewhere Dark Harmonics throws down a crucial solo. Brilliantly entitled "Fucking Spiders", it's an outstanding piece of 23rd century funk with all the right room and gloom we've come to expect from him. Creepy crawly.