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: Version co-bossman Orson seems to only drop a release once a year. But when he does, it's always worth paying close attention to. As with all things Version, it's a full trip that joins dots well beyond the assumed or conventional dub continuum. "Agadir" is a hazy Latin mooch into dub disco territory while "Delivero" is positively Balearic with its 105BPM plod, delicate arpeggiated weaves and sudden drop into soulful vocals. Flip for "Toxic Waste" as Orson goes all percussive and broken beat (think Tyrant) while "Garzweiler" closes on an stormy ambient note. Batten down the hatches.
Review: Bandulu strike again! This time with fellow kindred system spirit Bengal Sound. Two more totally disarming, otherworldly experiments, if you've just returned from Outlook then you'll already know what damage these are causing. "Never Mind" warms up with graveyard stroll before opening up into a strange shimmering organ riff that doesn't quite sound as if it's made on this planet. "Short Stay" meanwhile twists up the percussion and drum arrangements, making them almost breathe with trippy toxicity and a wooziness you just can't find in any other style of music. One of a kind and already teased out a few months ago. This new batch won't last long.
Review: Last year Burial and the Bug joined forces as Flame 1, delivering an in-demand EP on the latter's Pressure label featuring two sizable slabs of industrial strength soundsystem science. Here they return as Flame 2, once again offering up a pair of weighty dancefloor excursions. A-side "Dive" is a loud and claustrophobic affair, as the duo wraps dystopian dub bass and sparse, mutilated post-drill rhythms in layers of apocalyptic aural textures and mind-altering dub techno style processed noise. Flipside "Rain" is arguably more suitable for dancefloor plays and sees the esteemed twosome combine pulverizing sub-bass heaviness with dancehall style drums that come smothered in mind-melting effects and paranoia-inducing aural smoke.
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: Fresh Sector 7, Bristol's Drone makes his debut on V.I.V.E.K's System Sound with two smoking slabs of bass weight. "Amphibious" funks up the radar for a bleep excursion through the swampiest of textures with only a trippy riser and noir spoken word. Flip for "Lucid Dreams" where things take a creepier undertone thanks to the cavernous space, waterdrops, roomy switchy kicks, pranged out reverse manoeuvres and a sub as thick as marmite. Immense.
Review: Chonkster Rygby comes correct once again on one of his earliest stomping grounds, Encrypted. Opener "Jansky" doesn't so much as make you swoon but will have you swiping right all night long with its emotional chords and affable off-side bass bubbles. "Twinkle Toez", however, isn't quite the lover's lullaby. Creepy Halloween feels a-go-go, this explores a much darker side of Rygby's bounce athletics. "Deadliest Force" closes us off on more of a grime instrumental vibe but with a wry filmic edge. Emotions remain high. As they always do with this Bristol basssmith.
Review: It's been a long time since the dank and dirty one last appeared on DUPLOC. 2015 to be precise. During that time DUPLOC have gone from strength to strength as a platform and Enigma Dubz has honed his sound to incredible levels. Warm, wet, trippy and loaded with a funk that seems to come out from nowhere, his signature and style is here in all its glory across four tracks. Highlights include the spooked-out desert charm of "ET" and the classic samples and barrelling sub swagger of "Lurkin". Don't take our word for it, the whole EP needs your attention.
Review: Oof! It's finally here; two east London mic dons link up over a heavy Chimpo beat on Jamakabi's Rhythm Rollers for a name that truly lives up to its name. Doing the rounds in various forms since last year, "Wickedest Ting" touches wax in two perfect version; the body-slamming original and a bashing jungle twist from the Ghosty Men. Wicked.
Review: Mean Gene Headland returns to the perennial dub stable Innamind with three more bone-shaking beauties. "The Judge" slams the hammer of justice down and declares us all innocent as an accordion chord weaves around middle eastern strings, "Camino" puts its foot down and drives us into the horizon on a road made of naked drums under a sky of dreamy harpsicord arpeggios while "Strays" summons us all back to the courtroom and declares us guilty in one fell moody, groaning bassline swoop. Court dismissed.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Given that his sound has now been referenced, copied and bastardised by countless imitators, is testament to Burial's enduring appeal that the announcement of a new EP on a Sunday in Febuary was enough to shake the online music press out of their collective stupors. As an EP it more than stands up to his previous work, and it may even be better than last year's Street Halo EP - where the brilliance of the title track left the EP quite top-heavy, there's no such complaints on Kindred. If UK garage was the touchpoint for his earlier releases, this EP sees Burial further developing a sound that has few obvious points of comparison, whether it's the savage, gnarled bassline of the title track, or the shambling house of "Loner", characterized by its hollowed out arpeggio and ambient crackle. But it's "Ashtray Wasp" that provides the most breathtaking moment, seeing the producer using the distinct musical language he's created and bringing confident melodic elements into play. Of course such descriptions seem trivial when trying to describe this EP - even for Burial it's far beyond what his peers and imitators could ever imagine making.
Review: Nine years deep and still sounding as future as ever, Kode9 and The Spaceape's first album is historic in so many different directions... It's the first ever Hyperdub album, Kode9's sonic scope and barbed soundscapes and Spaceape's paranoid poetry and rhythmic narratives complement and tailor each other in a way no other dubstep-related producer and MC have ever sounded (before and since), the beats remain a unique, diverse, creative dynamic almost a decade later... And, sadly, the late Spaceape's stories now come laden with added portent poignancy. All proceeds from this reissue go to Stephen Samuel Gordon's family; if you haven't got this on vinyl you know what to do.
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: Torsten Profrock’s T++ project has continually spread its wings since conception in 2005. Championed by fans of techno, dubstep, experimental and drum & bass alike, his latest EP for Honest Jons (and rumoured to be his last under this monkier) showcases the amalgamation of styles and sounds that has earnt the German such a far reaching fanbase.
If it does prove to be the final T++ release ever, then the alias will have left us with the most expressive and energetic of his works. Adding a real sense of personality, Profrock unearthed a handful of samples of the singer and ndingidi player Ssekinomu, recorded in East Africa in the 1930s and 40s in the label’s vaults for this release. Skilfully, the producer works these snippets into the complex rhythm structures, giving his music a human touch that has never been seen before. Profrock looks to the radical fringe of UK garage for the snapping 2 step vibe in these rhythms that remain central to all four tracks on the EP. This results in a clutch of tracks that take on an immensely tribal and subconsciously innate feel. They morph new structures from the forms of 2 step, techno and drum & bass around which Profrock wraps twisted FX and weighty sub bass to create one whole, throbbing organism. So with quite possibly his final release, T++ leaves us, rather fittingly, with a record that sounds at once both ancient and modern. It has a totally unique tone, like a form of tribal language that can only speak to and be understood by today’s culture through these sub-heavy, atmospheric sounds.
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: 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: Bristol label Peng Sound return to Rise, the Gorgon Sound EP released earlier this year with a fresh dose of versions from the Dubkasm crew that will satisfy every self respecting soundsystem operator out there. All four cuts from Kahn and Neek's release have been reworked and renamed by Dubkasm, who utilise their legendary soundtrac CM440 mixing console, carefully channelling the track's signals through chains of spring reverb, tape delays and specially crafted effects modulators. Dubkasm's DJ Stryda and Digistep have done an excellent job of plunging the Gorgon Sound even deeper into the realms of dub culture and the version theme extends to the artwork too with Tape Echo reworking the cover from the Gorgon Sound EP with equally impressive results
Review: He's back... Riding on the crest of his near-majestic collaboration with Subscape for UKF's UKF10 series this spring The Others flips the switch once again with two dark designs on the consistently on-point Sentry. Revealing much ruff corners of his underbelly, we kick off with "Shaolin", a track that's powered by agruff sandpaper funk bassline and warped, skewed Japanese strings. It's followed by "Feedback" where every shade of The Others we love is whipped up in a blender; an epic intro, a gritty bassline, off-beat funk and sudden shards of light breaking through as the track progresses. After a few release-light years, it seems The Others has really and truly got the bug again. More please.
Review: Three releases deep, each one an absolute peach: Youngsta's Sentry label has been total fire so far. Kicking off with dBridge, then Nomine, now the label take us to New Zealand for its third outing as Akcept takes the controls and proceeds to drive on both sides of the road; "Dreader Than Dread" is an epic bounce back 10 years with its brazenly funk horns and rolling chubby bass groove while "Howl" is a lot more spaced out, starker, late night jam with a fatty sub line that should come with a health warning. Stay alert.
Review: Have a word... Youngsta's launched a brand new vinyl-only label and DBridge launches it. Need we say more? Both "Fashion Dread" and "Digital Dread" are Darren White at his darkest and most stately - elephantine production, moody and misty and ultimately soaked in beautifully warm bass, both cuts have been doing the rounds on dubs for almost two years and have been in demand since Youngsta debuted them. Simply massive. Get on these quickly.
Review: Having soared us through the dense black marsh earlier this year, Portuguese deepsmith 3WA takes us through even swampier, intense territories with this Crucial debut. "Viagem" is like stepping into a deep boggy cave where the drips from the stalactites get heavier and the ground swallows you like quicksand. "Encanto" then hauls your keister out of there with insistent hang drum percussion and rolling kicks before blowing you dry with powerful flutes and pipes. Charmed.
Review: J:Kenzo strikes us down with pure bass weight once again, this time on Infernal Sounds with an almighty remix of San Francisco's Saule's ploughman stepper "Cure Dem". Adding an orchestral twist to those murderous stabs, this remix doesn't so much as cure but completely blazes every possible inch of your skin. Flip for an escapade of more ominous proportions as "Shijima's Revenge" takes us deep into Japanese legend with a powerful droning bass and a march-like groove that will have you trooping into the shadiest of graveyards. Absolute murderation.
Review: We're not sure who Leftlow is/are but anything with the System stamp of approval passes all necessary filters. Especially when the lead track whisks you straight back to 2006 with the squelchiest hook this side of "Cluedub"'s dub dungeon and a sub grumpier than thunder. "Boa" is a little more contemporary in its minimal Rotterdam style. Strange, stripped back and sprung with a peculiar bounce that's as addictive as it is trippy, with its soft, subtle kick it's a genuinely unique piece of 140 craft. For good measure Skeptical swings by for a knock out remix of "Cluedub" where even more flabby low end gets baked in the mix. Don't get left out.
Review: Rarefied bring Sibla & Zygos together on this positively stinking piece of wax. Neither party a stranger to the label, and both armed with a particularly prominent sense of wonk and grit, the result is a triptych of grizzlers that will melt the pants of every member in the dance. "The Path" is pure electricity whomping back and forth, oozing over the kicks. "Haunted" is pure static, rusty chimes and occasional screams before the toxic bassline bites its way into the blend a little later than usual. "Sigil" closes the show with more of a rolling groove, hypnotic vocals and more beautifully pranged out textures. Rarefied bang on the money once again.
Review: It's the release that recently moved Skream to tweet he'll make 140 music again, Rarefied dig deep back over the vaults for their first remix release. First up is the Skream co-signed remix of T. A. R.'s "Amplivagant" in which Navy Cut captain J.Sparrow flips the bassline into a steamroller of a mix where the groove has a technoid mind of its own and the demolished results speak for themselves. Flip for Crypticz twist on Primer's "Signals". Switching out the skittering two-steps for ghostly amen echoes while keeping the tone and vibe just as eerie and haunted, it's another remarkable remix. Absolute solid gold.