Review: Destination San Francisco: Artikal snap-up Saule for his debut EP release. Long-time selector but an emerging producer, he's pushing all the right buttons here. Opener "Zeroes" is all flabby moving subs and shimmering theremin harmonics, "Baro" hits with more of an industrial twang in the percussive textures without losing any sense of warmth, trippiness or weirdness (watch out for the danked-out breakdown, though). The final shots are fired on "Pistola" as things take an even stranger turn; tones melt, drums turn into pistons and the sub wobble is off the chain. From "Zeroes" to heroes - this one is a keeper.
Review: Callum "Paleman" Lee is one of Swamp 81's most decorated artists, having released a string of well-regarded 12" singles for the hyped, bass-obsessed imprint. Yrs Ago is his third EP for the label's 81 offshoot, and sees him joining the dots between techno, post-dubstep bass music, and angular electronica. The title track sets the tone, with robotic voices, creepy electronics and smooth sub-bass riding a metallic, broken techno groove. Flipside "Animus" is a marginally more melodic affair, with spacey chords and bubbling arpeggio lines riding a punchy electro rhythm. Both tracks are naturally rather heavy, and undoubtedly amongst the producer's strongest work to date.
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: Gnischrew's label hits its third outing with Bristol's Chad Dubz. Maintaining the meditative theme from previous Sub Audio outings, Dubz opens with "Wisdom" wherein a whole barrel of space funk is ripped open and the skanks are so textured you feel you get lost inside them. "Stuck In The Loop" plays the consummate foil as the Bristol producer takes us on a much more paranoid, tunnelling trip. And if that's not enough, man of the moment Hebbe provides a killer remix for good measure. Be wise.
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: These are tracks designed to rattle ribs and loosen the foundations of any building. They mark another step up for the esteemed bass talents of Samba after releases on the likes of System and Encrypted. "Winona" has a floaty light flute and devastating drums that makes for a nice juxtaposition. "Worms" is darker and more writhing with industrial sound designs and prowling beats, while "King Kan" is a wobbling, shimmering bit of bass gold. "Snakes. Egos" is creepy and unsettling thanks to the freaky synth motifs and closes out a well formed EP.
Review: Longstanding Innamind representative Mikael sparks up our inner freaks once more with two system-primed sub smashers. "Wildfire" see-saws on a pivot-like atonal riff over a lolloping sub/kick flow and big splash rimshots while "Lintumies" is a spacier jam where stretched outer-space aesthetics play games with your head and the bass keeps kicking you out of orbit.
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: 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: Earlier in the year, South African rising star Escapism Refuge delivered a debut album laden with deep sub-bass, heady aural textures and killer dancefloor rhythms. There's plenty more atmospheric, rumbling fare on offer on the producer's latest three-track EP, too, with the focus is naturally on "Wet Wipes". While the original version, featured on the B-side, delivers an attractive fusion of drifting, Arabic-sounding vocal samples, undulating music box melodies and crispy dubstep rhythms, it's Biome's cinematic, synth-laden A-side revision that's really getting us hot under the collar. Also impressive is bonus cut "Don't Mind Me", where ambient chords and head-in-the-clouds melodies rise above a skewed-but-punchy rhythm track.
Review: Schockglatze is a long standing collaboration between artists working across several disciplines. With audio-visual performances, band projects and international exhibitions thus far, they have been causing a stir within the art and music worlds. Spank has already collaborated with a range of acclaimed vocalists, including Warrior Queen, Sensational and Christoph Waltz. As a competent producer, he forms the solid basis for the studio productions of Schockglatze. Nik Nowak has attracted international attention with his mobile sound sculptures and worked with Chicago footwork pioneers like (the late) DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn as well as Kevin Martin aka The Bug. Graphic artist, VJ and video director Moritz Stumm aka Ultramoodem brings to the project an 'inimitable rhythmicity' while creating a singular technique of audio-visual effects: the aesthetic of which has become a signature style of the collective.
Review: Dubkasm's digi-dub roots dig deep into the early 90s. Boosted into the future by fellow Bristolians Pinch, Appleblim and Headhunter, here we find them declaring "Victory" with this instantly show-stopping horn-heavy skanker. Laced with space and complete with myriad versions, a fine balance of meditative bass and mind-blowing sonic creativity is at play throughout. Those with a penchant for the abyss-levels of dub science should jump straight on "Verse IV". Hear that stretched horn sound and you'll soon understand why it's been sub-titled "Raw Piece". Victory is yours!
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: Epoch returns! And he's packing some of his rarest steez since "Soundboy Abduction". All air raid sirens, trippy widescreen basses and a scientific spoken word all comprise to form a brutal wall of sound slo-mo drama on "V1" while "Roacher" bubbles with a technoid sense of playfulness and unpredictability. Finally "Rib Cage" takes the surreal sensations to even higher levels with a melting intro, nagging hi-end percussion and the strangest harmonic strings ever to grace an Innamind release. Truly singular.
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: Fragrant frequencies from New Zealand: newcomer Scent makes his official 12" debut on soundsystem celebrating Aussie imprint Modern Hypnosis with two beguiling modern dub cuts. First up is the pneumatic stamper "Trax" where the prominent beat patterns are offset by a slightly off beat warped stab to create a fun but focused marching sensation. "Just A Dream" plays the consummate foil as Scent takes us much deeper into his psyche by way of slo-mo sci-fi drums and swooning, star gazing chords. Beautiful.
Review: Ol' Pushy's getting freaky on the Omega 3 oils again. "Too Much Tuna" is the sound of satiation, all woozy and satisfied with dreamy arpeggios, otherworldly clicks and pops and a gentle but stern bassline heartbeat. Dig deeper into the feast for a wonked out tripletty chat with little green men on "Martians", a bleepy bewilderment on the strange slides and glides of "Reptoid" and an unapologetic kick in the circuits with the grunting, frazzled "Computer Takeover". Turn on, tuna in, do not drop out.
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: 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: 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: Scottish artist Aether emerges from the ether with some of his most spell-binding material to date. Twinkling, evocative and hazy, there's a dreamlike theme as the narrative runs throughout and we're taken down lullaby lane with woozy and wondrous results. From the startling sunrise soul of the first encounter to the poignant, lingering final goodbye, Aether's sonic imagery and consistency makes this more of a mini album than an EP. Utterly beautiful.