Review: More inspired work form one of dubstep's most influential producers appears again on World Of Wonders - a label devoted almost entirely to the work of Gemmy since 2011. Gemmel Phillips is a producer and DJ from Bristol, UK who has released previously on tastemaker labels such as Punch Drunk, Pinch's Tectonic, Mike Paradinas' Planet Mu, Soul Jazz and Earwax before forming his own imprint in 2011. This new three-track EP here follows on from his Bamboozled EP for the label last year, and shows off Gemmy's keen talent for crafting 'purple wave' influenced bass music. From the wonky grime attitude of "Nah Tek Bk Chat" on the A side, to the booming speaker rattling B side cut "Stop Dat" - this whole release is a killer!
Review: Etch & Ilk's grid-hating stable heads west to Philly for some spiritual guidance Gohda-style. Wavey, trippy and breezily cosmic, each original sucks us deep into its textures; the ebb and flow background arpeggio and rolling processed breaks and subdued melancholy on "Cybercity", the far-out 22nd century hip-hop beats of "Corrupted Angels", the weirdo squelch-ghetto creeper "Graverobber" and the crisp-beat Atlanta-bound highlight "In Tha Trap". Remix-wise TMSV takes "Graverobber" deep inside the church crypts for amplified harmonics while Bulu adds more of a left-sided club bang to "Corrupted Angels". Bang for your bucks; bun this at your peril.
Review: Kahn & Neek return to local hub Peng Sound for some self titled double plated dubplate action under their steppahs project Gorgon Sound, housed in a rather lovely stamped gatefold sleeve. Although primarily known for their incendiary grime bangers on their own Bandulu imprint, and the dancehall sounds of last year's Backchat single, Kahn & Neek's steppahs-influenced Gorgon Sound project is a chance for them to expand on Bristol's rich legacy of dub, reggae, and soundsystem culture. Since the pair decided to begin the project in 2010, Gorgon Sound has since evolved into a full dubplate DJ operation, with a show made up of entirely their own material. Last year saw the Gorgon Sound project see its first vinyl release, in the form of "Find Jah Way", which featured on the debut released from Bristol's Peng Sound; this double 12" release presents a more expansive take on their steppahs sound, featuring four cuts of West Country bassweight with guest vocalist spots from Brazil's Junior Dread and Bristol's Guy Calhoun.
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: Peng Sound revisit their highly sought after debut release. Just shy of two years old, it still rattles and hums with authentic dub warmth and drama. Gorgon Sound's original bubbles with bouncy heat as the bass modulations spring off the double-up kicks. Dubkasm's version is equally alluring as we're invited into a much wider space where guitar shots and other melodic elements are entwined into the mix. One timeless composition, two killer versions, if you weren't lucky enough to grab this first time round, you know what to do!
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: Following a couple of impressive collaborative releases last year, Bristol bass-head Halcyonic returns to action on debutant imprint Firmly Rooted. This time round, veteran roots-man Junior Dread handles mic duties, delivering a smoky vocal on "Can't Hide". The track itself is rolling, bass heavy and heady, with ricocheting electric piano notes and dub-wise horn lines rising above a riddim that sits somewhere between digi-dub and dubstep. On the flipside, Bristol stalwart Rob Smith dons his familiar RSD alias to deliver a dancefloor-focused deep dubstep revision that peppers a weighty groove with dubbed-out horn blasts, disconnected vocal snippets and mind-mangling angular electronic pulses.
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: Uncompromised 140 magic right here as Tokyo's Helktram returns with their first full single in over two years. This time coming on Trusik, each cut flexes into a different dimension. Opening track "Suggestive Effect" hits like a pneumatic techno drill, marching militantly into your cortex with its staccato drill. "Insecure" plays the consummate foil with its glacial textures and weeping, woozy chords while "Iron Box" brings things together with a classic Coki-style pinched wobble driving the groove both back and forth in time.
Review: Second time around for Hi5ghost's most famous and celebrated release, 2015 single "Nook Shot". A bombastic chunk of grime heaviness built around military strength drums, Melodica style hooks, scattergun percussion hits and weighty bass, the producer's original version remains one of his most potent and dancefloor-friendly outings. In fact, it's still something of an anthem within the bass community, a factor that no doubt inspired this re-press. Arguably even better is Commodo's flipside revision, an altogether creepier and more clandestine affair that re-imagines Hi5ghost's bustling original as a weighty slab of post-dubstep brilliance replete with scattergun drum fills and woozy electronics.
Review: It's about time! Berlin-based badman Ill K returns with his first release in two years, and the wait is most definitely worth it. Three stinking cuts ranging from dubstep to hardcore, "Warp 6" takes the lead and brings us all up to speed with its rolling breaks, cathedral-sized bassline and ethereal tones. Two hefty collaborations follow; "Ninja Technique" sees Chad Dubz joining the fray for a stern-and-spacious mechanical funk tear-up while "Walking Home" (feat. Koobas) flips the 140 feels into a savage breakbeat workout. Watch out for the classic GQ sample and be careful where you park your car next time.
Review: Uprising Sounds returns to Indica with a powerful original and even heavier version. "Militant Dub" leads heavily on the main synth line that's almost oriental in its allure and mysticism. As the title suggests, the rhythm is persistent and just on the right side of rigid to maintain the essential funk. "Dub The Bass" is a much deeper exploration of the low end as the warping bass is allowed to turn itself inside out as the track progresses. Standard Indica procedure: only 500 have been pressed.
Review: Given his recent form, it was probably only a matter of time before fast-rising Glaswegian Inkke made an appearance on LuckyMe. Variously informed by grime, heavy Memphis rap, Rustie and Hudson Mohawke, Inkke's productions slip effortlessly into the LuckyMe catalogue. There's much to admire amongst the six tracks that make up Secret Palace, including a pair of robust club instrumentals - "Chores" and "Simmer" - which have long been staples in the sets of Skepta and D Double E. Our pick, though, has to be heavyweight grime roller "Tales From The Quick", which peppers a weighty sub-bass line and machine-gun percussion with woozy synthesizer lines.
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: 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: It's been a while since we last heard from Kerem Sevincli AKA Iskeletor, an Istanbul-based beat-maker and bass-loving experimentalist who last featured on Tektosag way back in 2013. His return to the imprint boasts a trio of tracks on one-side, with an attractive, etched illustration on the other. He begins with "Afromax", a two-minute flurry of chopped experimental hip-hop beats, mangled bicycle bell and nuts-and-bolts percussion and wonky, shape-shifting electronics. Gantz Seytan remixes, cannily emphasizing the wonkiness of the beats on an outer-space excursion that's near hallucinatory in its twisted, slow motion approach. To round things off, Sevincli offers up his rework of Grup Ses cut "Mimar", re-casting it as a dystopian, ever-changing experimental beatscape rich in redlined sounds and epileptic drumbeats.
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: Having appeared on the likes of Nous Disques, Dream Eater and Collection Artaud, it was only a matter of time before London beat splicer J-Shadow's glacial, unnerving textures and sounds would find a home on Bun The Grid. With strong senses of techno and electro deep in the low-end mix, highlights include the nutty, almost breakcore style flippery of "No Gravity" the powerful technoid dirge of the title track "Embers". Loaded with remixes from none other than Etch and Danny Scrilla, once again BTG have spoilt us rotten.
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: Back in 2016, Leo James stepped up to deliver the debut 12" on J.Sparrow's Navy Cut imprint. Here he returns to the label for the first time since, and this time he's got soul-soaked reggae vocalist J Appiah in tow (an artist last spotted lending his honeyed tones to a house record by Damian Lazarus). The vibe here is slow, sensual and emotional, with atmosphere taking precedence over any notion of appeasing peak-time dancefloors. That's a good thing, though, because "Struggle" - a deep, smoky dub-soul cut rich in delay-laden reggae instrumentation, weighty bass and heart-aching vocals from Appiah - is sublime. There's more of a dancefloor feel to the similarly dubbed-out and heartfelt "Lost & Found", with a rhythmic shuffle that's slightly closer to house than stereotypical dubstep.
Review: Bristol bass stalwart and "purple" genre creator Joker is celebrating ten years of his Kapsize label with a trio of tasty new 12s. This two-tracker is the first of the trio to land. On side A you'll find "Anamorphic", a soft-burn concoction whose meaty, hot-stepping bottom-end pressure comes wrapped in darting, Daft Punk style synthesizer motifs, dreamy chords and - most surprisingly of all - some cheeky electric guitar. Even more surprising, perhaps, is flipside "Forever", a hugely atmospheric ambient number built around the kind of textured sounds more often found in the experimental dub techno work of Deepchord man Rod Modell.
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: Manchester's Kiel lays down some serious ice on brand new label Prism. "Range Road" takes us out to M16 with no way home. "Who You Hang With" is all about the abyssal bass plunges and symphonic stabs. Laced with an infectious vocal loop, it's a steamy blend of grime, trap and ghetto crying for some raw bars. Creeped-out, eerie and sprung with tension than to its smidgeon of wavy sci-fi, this is a fine statement for instrumental grime in 2018.
Review: Both an intriguing and very cool release on Hyperdub, Philly producer King Britt surfaces after a long absence with this new project that goes beyond his traditionally lush and funky nu-jazz and broken beat releases into a darker and chillier place. The Gary Numan-meets-Prince spank of "Chasing Rainbows" is a great starter, while the off-the-wall drum programming of "The Chase" and the filmic swathe of "Lilloo's Seduction" show a breadth of talent that can only come from being in the game for 15 years plus.
Review: Sukh Knight on White Peach. The stars really have aligned on this one. White Peach's penchant for innovative newness and Sukh's nose for rolling funk that's rooted in the late 2000s style while never looking nostalgic or like its covering old ground: you already know how good this is. "Beast" is the deeper roller of the pair with its pneumatic, well-oiled rhythm flowing like lava and the bass purring beneath. "Nightcrawler" is an instant banger with its ruffage sandpaper riff providing dry gully slaps and cheeky grime bass ping-pongs on the ones and fours. Classic Sukh. Classic White Peach.