Review: The DDS label, short for Distort Decay Sustain, has given artists like Demdike Stare a platform on which to express themselves through over the years, but it was really Equiknoxx's LP from 2016, Bird Sound Power, which opened their doors to a whole new category of listener. In fact, it was that LP, with all its stunning, dub-wise experimentation, which has led to Mark Ernestus being called up for a pair of remixes. As you probably know, this is a rare case, so this 12" is sort of a special piece - "Congo Get Slap" is given the pure Ernestus rundown, with a charging, minimalistic percussion being swallowed whole by the raucous dub stabs caving in from all angles; the remix of "Flagged Up" is a much slower, more brooding affair in the same vein as the mythical cuts residing on imprints like Basic Channel and Chain Reaction - nothing but deep, meditative dub flexing for the mind. BIG!
Review: ZamZam 72 comes from one of our favorite producers for the last few years, the elusive Andy Mac. Known in particular for his "Diving Bird" series, a buy-on-sight trilogy of 12"s on Bristol's Idle Hands, the idiosyncratic producer also has releases on No Corner (in collaboration with Ossia), and the seminal Punch Drunk label. His unique style of chopped, techy, warm, pastoralist dubwise had us from the first, and the tunes he sent us flew through our A&R gauntlet with ease. His are records we return to again and again, revealing more subtlety with each listen, free from genre or tempo constraints.
Review: Muscut's second EP in September is as hot as the first, and comes from Polina Matskevich, who is part of the Chillera band behind the label's other offering this month. Her trippy electric guitar rings out at the heart of each of these cuts while an experimental approach to sound collage, studio effects, field recordings and dub all colour the spaces around. "Gryaznly Sled" is a mysterious cut awash with warm southern guitars, then things get heavenly and soul soothing thanks to the gentle chords of "Avgust Na Zakate Dnya". "Toyota" is a more traditional but superbly slow and cavernous dub, and the flips explores more harmonic melodies and fatter rhythms. It all adds up to a rather refreshing EP.
Review: Following on from the impressive opening statement from Modern Manners, the second installment from the hitherto unknown outfit sees the sonic remit reaching out to other influences while retaining that poised lounge attitude that made the first record so instantly endearing. "Research" is a dub track in essence, sporting ample space in the mix, the odd conga roll and sparse chords calling out into a field of reverb and delay. "Can Maneras" is a more shuffling kind of smooth jazz that aligns with the classy licks of St Germain and the like. "Serate Cosmiche" finishes the EP off on a melancholic tip that puts the synths at the front of the mix for the first time.
Review: Mr Cloudy has a sizable back catalogue on labels like Entropy, Dubwax and Millions Of Moments, and now he's been snapped up by Local Traffic to impart his sumptuous dubby wares across four tracks. "Memoria I" and "Memoria II" let the A-side simmer in a bubbling broth of dub techno ambience, all shimmering chords undergoing heavyweight processing. "Sprayer I" is still immensely mellow, although a little rhythmic pulse creeps its way into earshot via the movement of the gravelly chords, and then "Sprayer II" rounds the EP off with something approaching a beat-oriented excursion through the same billowing clouds of dub techno finery.
Review: Silent Season have carried the music of Submersion and Mon0 independently before, but now the dub techno producers have teamed up to take their sound onto new plains of exploration. The sound palette is consistent with both their music and that of the label, but the familiar dancefloor tropes have been jettisoned in favour of a more meditative end result, leading in with the achingly beautiful tundra excursion of "Beginning Of The End". From there the album drifts with glacial motion through a range of finely crafted soundscapes, wielding a world of rumbling, harmonious noise in the middle distance without ever losing that seductive dub techno ambience.
Review: Given Massive Attack's background, it was almost inevitable that they'd release a dub overhaul of one of their albums at one point. That time came in 1995, when British sound system legend Mad Professor - responsible for some of the greatest UK-made dub records of all time - put his distinctive twist on Protection. 21 years on, the set still sounds sublime: a radical translation that frequently bares only a passing resemblance to the Bristol band's original. It's packed with highlights, from the spaced-out, dub-house rework of "Spying Glass" ("I Spy"), to the ricocheting percussion hits and twinkling pianos of "Weather Storm (Cool Monsoon)", and creepy, delay-laden string surges of "Eternal Feedback (Sly)".
Review: Way back in 1998 when Massive Attack's career-defining "Mezzanine" was first released, legendary dub technician Mad Professor cooked up some radical reworking. They now get their first official release alongside dubs of two tracks that never actually made it onto the album - Metal Banshee: a dub version of "Superpredators" which was a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Metal Postcard", and "Wire", which was actually recorded for the film "Welcome to Sarajevo". Wild effects, plenty of knob twiddling and oodles of reverb define this freaky late night collection and mark another essential release in the catalogue of the already legendary Mad Professor.