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: 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: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
Review: Following cuts on Gourmet and Trusik, Osaka's City1 makes his debut on Subaltern with three more reasons to keep him radar-locked. Hurling us into the mix with no warning, "Speak Out" takes the lead with Japanese steel licks and fire tongue truths from Rider Shafique before "Koroga" oozes its way in pursuit. All wet and wobbly, it's 2007 all over again but with a wily sense of direction that never sits still. "Zee" closes the EP in true pranged-out fashion. Off-key, warped and a grumpy bassline that harrumphs for days, if you need any more reasons to keep tabs on City1 just lift the needle and play again.
Review: Ooof. Denver darksmith Dalek One lashes out with more savage magic, this time on St Louis collective Dub Sector. The EP kicks off with "Can't Walk", a raw fusion of swaggering beats, cannon ball bass hits and sudden flurries of amenistic breaks that fly by before you even realise. "Skincrawler" follows but with even more edge and coldness. Pranged out, trippy and cold to the bone, it lives up to its name in every way. Finally, Dalek teams up with Max Mischief for the closing farewell "Sicim". Icy, haunted and laced with chilling guitar loops, things suddenly take a turn for the strange as the warped basses weep into the mix. Powerful; no one does it quite like Dalek.
Review: Boom: just days after his recent Oil Gang outing, the mighty D.O.K makes his debut on Mean Streets with some absolutely savage sounds that have already been doing the business this year. "Shine" is pure orchestra damagement while "Annihilate The World" lives up to its name with frank and disarming warp tactics. Flip for the steppier, Psycho-string-stab riffing "Frightening" and the more classic 2007 style 140 grumbler. One of grime's truest voices right here.
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: For the seventh salvo on Well Rounded Records' "Well Rounded Dubs" series, the hard-working Brighton crew has secured tracks from two hard-working and well-regarded producers. Bristol based Chad Dubz handles side A, reaching for the weirdo effects, psychedelic electronics, sub-heavy bass and head-nodding beats on bleeping post-dub head-nodder "FKD" (think Mad Professor after overdosing on LSD and you're close). Over on side B Manchester's JFO takes over and treats us to a particularly deep dubstep excursion where creepy effects, ricocheting percussion sounds and horror style spoken word samples cluster around crunchy beats and a suitably sustained sub-bass motif.
Review: Basic Rhythm man Anthoney J Hart has previously released a handful of fine albums and singles as East Man, most notably a couple of killer LPs on Planet Mu. In recent times he's decided to go it alone, pressing up 12" singles on the Hi Tek Sounds label he launched last year. This time round he's in full-on collaboration mode, with Hyperdub and Tectonic regular Walton joining him to lay down a pair of military strength club cuts. A-side "Horse Mouth" is a throbbing chunk of bass science, with the pair wrapping mind-altering analogue bass, creepy chords and occasional dub-wise vocal samples around a hard-wired staccato rhythm. This twisted take on dubstep is explored further on flipside "Gunshot", whose scattergun machine drums come bathed in oven-warm chords.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Chonk Mob familia Koma joins the gang at White Peach with this far-out four-piece that showcases his broadest and most considered range. "Arrival" sets the scene with big cinematic pads, arpeggiated pipes and a mood that gets deeper and darker the more you stride into it. "Missing Amsterdam", meanwhile, shows a calmer Koma as we mooch to poignant chimes in the most contemplative way. Finally, the bashy steel drum twister "Tasteful" plays the consummate pudding course as Koma and fellow Chonkster Rygby serve up the final course of this exceptional feast. Koma back soon.