Review: After a relatively quiet 2013 release-wise Ross Tones offers up a fresh proposition for his ardent followers on regular haunt Local Action, switching up his usual Throwing Snow moniker for the spanking new pseudonym Alight. With a full four tracks to showcase this new sound on, there are definite similarities to be drawn from his more prevalent output but in the minimal atmospherics and molten bass undulations of "Darqa" there is definitely a new beast at work. The title track too takes a distinct stance with haunting Eastern vocals hovering over malevolent bass growl and a curveball drum & bass excursion in the climax of the track.
Review: Having already marked himself out as a producer to keep an eye on with his EP for Deadplate early this year, Artifact moves to Local Action for another EP of swung UKG influenced techno. Two of these tracks are refined versions of tracks that have been in Local Action sets for the past few years; "Worn" combines a strong but lean rhythm with a wonky acid-tinged bassline, building up the drama with its rising strings to create a unique hybrid of techno and UKG, in the vein of Mosca's killer cuts for 3024, while "Turtle Fight" takes the acid theme full throttle with its combination of fierce squelch and rapidfire vocals. Finally, new track "Drain" combines the atmospherics and vocal trickery of early Joy Orbison with metallic, industrial percussion and warbling sub-bass.
Review: After a string of releases for Numbers, the intermittently active Deadboy makes a welcome return with some plush, emotive tones for Local Action that show him to be in a thoughtful mood, not least on EP opener "White Moon Garden". Cascading, glossy synth lines are the order of the day, with a strong dose of magic and mystery woven in for good measure. "Rye Angel" meanwhile melts Burial-tones down to a hushed murmur and "Sad Sniper" equally calls out a spacious lament peppered with momentary flurries of rhythm. It's "Copwar" that shakes the EP up at the final hurdle with a more energised construction that keeps the synths intact but works a greater sense of urgency into the drum lines.
Review: Earlier this year Tom Lea's Local Action secured one of the most logical label debuts of recent times in London producer Deadboy, best known for his club ready output on Numbers and perhaps the best Drake remix of all time. White Magick was a fine way to herald Deadboy's arrival on the label, veering off into a plush and emotive style of new age club music that hit the same sort of spot as Mr Mitch's recent output. As you might expect, this new Black Magick 12" from Deadboy sees the producer turn in "club-focused edits" of three tracks from his prior Local Action 12" along with a VIP version of his Crazylegs banger "Did Not Feel Right". Few do it like Deadboy, as this 12" attests.
Review: The instantly palatable grime and garage of DJ Q has been satisfying bassline lovers for many a year, not least with his appearances on Local Talk. Now Shollen Quarshie follows up on the mixtape showcase he did for Unknown To The Unknown with a full length album proper, and its packed full of the plush production and catchy hooks you would expect. There's a whiff of techno about the dreamy synths that open the album, not least with the spiralling notes that hover over the trap-rave stylings of "Two Faced", but elsewhere there's a wholesome dose of sugar-coated jungle with the pop vocal stylings of Kassandra and Louise Williams. It's a diverse album with a broad appeal to those who like their beats immediate and colourful, and might just be one of the unlikeliest pop albums of the year.
Review: With the long-awaited DJ Q album finally available, Local Action use the opportunity to sneak out this limited white label 12" featuring four exclusive reworks of the bassline don's "Trust Again" single. First up on the A-side is Texan grime producer Rabit, who overlays some punishing bass and fractured rhythms on top of a scrambled version of the original's pop melodies, and Glasgow-based Inkke, who offers a more dancefloor friendly grime-inspired re-rub which bodes very well for future Local Action Material from the producer later in the year. On the flip side, talented up and coming dubstep producer Compa provides a killer dubstep version which makes incredible use of the full vocal to create the kind of pop-dubstep track Magnetic Man wished they could have made, while Major Grave rounds things off with another killer grime flavoured version which combines a steppers rhythm with some seriously heavy bass. Although most remix EPs can be beset with duff moments, there isn't a single dud on here.
Review: Not to be confused with the Strength Music boss, or Glasgow's infamous house producer, this DJ Q is known as Shollen Quarshie to his friends, and has been heavily associated to the UK garage sound since the early 2000's. He's finally back to grace us with some of his magic, and it's London's Local Action that picks him back up from the depths of the underground. Thankfully, he's still very much in the mood to make garage these days, except that "Rocky" contains a thick layer of UK grime wobble, something which was subtler in his past tunes. "Poison" is on the same kind of tip, but its drop contains broken vocal samples that add to that killer drop feeling in the club. Bangahs!
Review: It's fair to there's currently nobody in the business making proper garage with the same flair that DJ Q currently does, and his new single, entitled "Trust Again", featuring the vocal talents of Brit School alumnus Louise Williams, is possibly his most classicist piece of 90s-leaning garage to date. Those who heard the producer's excellent vinyl-only track "Brandy & Coke" last year will know what to expect - strong vocals, clipped 2-step rhythms and razor-sharp production. Serious remixes are included too, with the first remix in some time from Karl 'Tuff Enuff' Brown, member of the old school garage outfit Tuff Jam, a bassline remix from DJ Q collaborator TS7, and a 4×4 mix from DJ Q himself.
Review: Woof! Local Action home in one the end of 2015 and the hotness doesn't look like stopping any time soon. Tom Lea has only gone and sweet talked T Williams into returning to his grime alias Dread D for the first time in almost a decade. As Dread D, Tesafa Williams pushed buttons on numerous grime classics for the Black Ops label including "Invasion". He has of course gone onto house music greatness as T Williams, but a return to this grime sound as Dread D seems perfectly timed, and superbly executed on the 4 track Siege 12" which brandishes three new cuts and an alternate take on the classic "Time Command". Powerful business.
Review: It's still early days for Inkke but this release for Local Action should find the emergent grime-influenced producer reaching a wider audience with his distinctive synth rich take on bass music. With six originals to choose from, this EP is a perfect primer for those wanting to get a feel for the artist, ranging from the uptempo thrust of "Thinkk Star (Club Mix)" with its 4/4 stylings through to the exotic slow-motion funk of "Paradise" featuring the soulful croon of Julia Jaban. There is diversity at every turn that points to a multitude of fates awaiting Inkke as his star rises in the multifaceted work of electronic music.
Review: Welcome to the world of Lil Jabba. This US footworker belongs outside the established Chicago based network of current artists dealing in the frenetic rhythmics of the genre such as DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn and RP Boo, apparently spending his time between Baltimore and Brooklyn, "exhibiting his visual art" and "riding around with his bike gang". Having dropped a number of self released EPs that clearly marked him as something of a precocious talent, Lil Jabba is afforded the chance to demonstrate his production chops in more expansive fashion with Scales, a ten track debut LP for the Local Action label. The finely placed strings that permeate opening cut "Red Current" hint Lil Jabba is well schooled in dirty south hip hop and there's a definite complex musicality that unfolds over the subsequent nine tracks with the weirdness steadily ramping up as the album progresses.
Review: Remember Guy Gerber's seminal "Hate/Love" tune that was out on his own Supplemental Facts in the deep house hey-day? And remember the vocals on top of it? Yes, that was Dawn Richard, and she's back with her own show and tell for Local Action. Not Above that is far from house music, and instead takes more from juke, dubstep and London's genreless 'bass'. Put it this way, its pop music with a heavy electronic edge...but really heavy. Local Action favourite Deadboy turns in a wonderful beatless remix on the B side!
Review: Following a dalliance with Unknown To The Unknown in April, outspoken grime producer Slackk returns to Local Action on which he released the excellent Raw Missions EP last year. The Failed Gods EP is described by the label as delivering six tracks that cover the breadth of "ninjaman club destroyers to beatless synth pieces, with a healthy dose of weed and Twin Peaks in the mix," and easily stands as his strongest release to date; the melancholic video game vibes of "Empty Bottles", stripped-back square waves of "Algiers" and Eastern percussive tones of "Room Made Vague" all stand out as particularly brilliant. If you've not been keeping up with the recent grime resurgence, this is as good a place to start as any.
Review: There has been no shortage of bright and bold crossover styles from Slackk over the past four years, with impressive bouts for Numbers, Unknown To The Unknown and Diskotopia providing a platform for the London-based producer to become something of a figurehead in the current instrumental grime scene. Now, having spent some time getting cosy with Local Action, he offers the label his long anticipated debut album and takes the chance to drop no less than 16 new takes on his grime-infused musicality with barely a filler or interlude in sight. While the tempos and rhythms may shift, the atmosphere remains consistently in that alien space somewhere out ahead of us, part video game fantasy and part urban uncertainty.
Review: From the opening bars of opener "Blue Sleet", the influence of grime in Slackk's latest missive for the excellent Local Action is obvious - a precise matrix of thin eski synths, composed into interlocking parallelograms of luminous green, accompanied by salvos of rattling claps. "Fat City" takes a similar formula and inverts it, creating a particularly mournful instrumental with a sluggish beat, inspiring images of a rain soaked sink estate. "Almost Transparent" meanwhile, positively swims with melodic charm, and despite going heavy on the Eastern synth flutes and thin marimba stabs it has enough gravitational pull in the thick low end to keep the whole thing grounded. But the real gut punch is "90 Years", the only track that eschews any kind of melody for sheer dancefloor power - utilising industrial snares alongside some thick cylinders of laser bass that feel like they've been fired by an orbiting death ray. Fantastic stuff - and shows the trad house bass wannabes how it's done.
Review: Deep Teknologi chief T Williams is back on Local Action after his blinding "Getting Mine" release on Enchufada. This is in fact a revisit of last year's epic "Heartbeat" single, with a new mix from Paul Woolford that absolutely smashes it thanks to a climbing synth bass pattern and some UKF vs 808 drums arranged to perfection. With razor sharp cuts from Terri Walker's vocals dropped in for good measure, this is an essential tune for house and funky fans alike.
Review: The Yaroze Dream Suite project was first initiated in the spring of 2015, when grime experimentalists Mr Mitch and Yamaneko got together in Local Action's London studio for the first time. It was clearly time well spent, because this eponymous debut EP is packed with ear-pleasing highlights. As you might expect, there are nods to grime's eight-bit roots throughout, alongside sparse but solid, hip-hop influenced beats and synth sounds more in keeping with IDM. The undoubted standout as to be "In The Moonlight", where Hannah Mack's sweet, soulful, R&B-informed vocals ride minimalist beats, bleeping electronic melodies, and impeccably programmed synthesizer sax solos.