Review: There seems to be a bit of a narrative here on Phrex's second Dubtopia release. Previously, Version bossman Orson had given us "Life Gamble". Now he's on his "Last Chance", and it's every bit as foreboding as you'd expect the final roll of the dice to be - menacing, pensive and lined with venomous acid. Bern's Phrex is experiencing a similar situation; while he previously told us about "Vectors In The Sky", he's now warning us of "Colliding Clouds" to the tune of quivering, tightly weaved top lines, trippy dub echoes and loose soft drums underpinned by a voluptuous rolling sub groove.
Review: Big bites as P Jam unite with Capo Lee for a beat hotter than Peri-Peri Vusa. Jam lays down a bouncy riddim full of character and cheeky trippy flurries while Capo gets down to business with a tale of a hectic schedule. Flip for an even spicier dish as the instrumental neck-snapper "Kumasi". Robotic, squelchy, bashy. It's the perfect side for the main banquet. Black card business.
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: Two massive Pinch classics taken on by the mighty Kromestar; need we say more? Pinch's 2010 speaker shredder "The Boxer" gets an absolute fouling with epic distortion on the bass and swaggering drums. It's so heavy it's been on dub for at least two years. Flip for Kromestar's take on Pinch's 2011 Deep Medi murker "Swish" as it's given a bullet proof suit of armour ready for any militant war scenario. Both absolutely destroy the dance.
Review: Newcomer Primer crash lands onto planet Rarefied with four beguiling fusions. "Tal" is an off-beat mystic brew that flexes in and out of an Indian vocal with mesmerising effect, "Signals" rolls off a slippery electroid drum arrangement with just the right levels of cosmicity while "Make Contact" is a cascade of chimes and a lush loosely hewn two-step. An untitled track closes the show with an overwhelming hurricane of reverse textures and sludgy drama. Connection made.
Review: Following their beguiling "Signals" EP, enigmatic Primer returns to Rarefied with four more trips. With its desert sand storm textures and staccato vocal clip, "Nowhere And Nothing" isn't quite as bleak as it sounds, it's actually super warm and intense. The same can be said for "Drowned"; while sombre and introspective, the dub sounds and elements are buoyant and eventually rise into something pretty hopeful after the second drop. "Tal (part 2)" provides closure for those of us who are still nursing sore minds from "Tal (part 1)" on Primer's debut release as it uses the same mystic elements to wind down the chaos into a subtle woozy brew. Speaking of woozy, "I Had A Faraway Dream" brings us back home with a beautifully sleepy harp, stumbling kicks and a vocal that seems to melt into itself. Singular. No one's doing it like Primer.
Review: In the words of Mystik himself... This has been a long time coming. The shimmering chords and heavy rolls of "Misty In Roots" were written between the two antipodean modern day dub dons years ago but it's remained on dub until now. It's back by two more heavy system testers; "Sabu" takes a deep breath before coiling up with percussion then springing into action when the kicks skip in. "2 Steps Backwards" takes more of a trad dub stance with swaggering spaced out beats and a delicious array of old school FX work in the mix. Misty in roots; clear in message.
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: Juicy jams galore: ZHA's White Peach return with their sixth "Bits" instalment where Peach pals old and new collide with their freshest, most vitamin-enriched cuts. First up label newcomers Neffa-T and Patrick Brian get rowdy with a space-aged grime stepper "Sabertooth". All staccato fire and rubber-ball bass it sets the tone for Gundam & Jook's grimey snare-smacking hybrid "Tactical Espionage" and some obese bass ripples from Modelle, who was last spotted on the label earlier this year with the awesome "Paladins" EP. Finally ZHA makes a rare appearance with the wonked out melter "Running VIP". Yum.