ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Joining Dots (LAB BEAT)
Slick and elegant sub-bass bleep-hop. Definitely not dubstep as such, but given the current liquification of tempo, adventurous DJs should be all over these beautifully crisp, bass-heavy electronic hip hop beats. As Point B on Combat Recordings, Richard Bultitude has previously delivered amazing dark and emotive fusions of dubstep and garage rhythms, and he applies all the production finesse of those releases – and a little wobble too – to something with a bit more of a lazy swing here. Not as thickly layered nor as off-beam as Brainfeeder/Hoya:Hoya-type mutant hip hop, its geometric patterns are fresh, clean and meditational.
TUNE OF THE MONTH
Deadly weapons from the dark side. Tunnidge has been coming into his own more and more as a producer, and this might well be his most complete release yet. ‘Control’ is hard as hell but steers clear of any clichés or over-dramatic big drops as it steps relentlessly forward, its one-note riff like a heavyweight boxer’s punch. ‘Decay’ does have dramatic chords and drops, but its spine=tingling cymbals and filmic atmosphere making it as emotive as it is scary.
Fibre Optic (DISFIGURED DUBZ)
Something for everyone from Chile’s funkateer. The main track here is a wild diversion for Skream’s label, being 80s funk-soul through and through – unsurprising, though, if you know of Skream’s love of Chromeo and vintage boogie. But there’s a blaring 12th Planet mix for tough dubsteppers, and a brilliant techno version by Jon Convex of Instra:Mental for Swamp 81/Scuba fans too.
King Midas Sound:
Goodbye Girl/Earth A Kill You (remixes) (HYPERDUB)
Dramatic contrasts from master mixers. You’d expect none but the best remixers for Kevin Martin and Hyperdub, and they don’t disappoint here. Kuedo (aka Jamie Vex’d) delivers thickly layered synths around the fragile vocals of ‘Goodbye Girl’, making a moody sci-fi epic. Mala is as mighty as ever in the apocalyptic stepper’s dub of ‘Earth A Kill You’. Essential.
More Tracks By King Midas Sound Here
Reverie EP (MUTI MUSIC)
Mutant funk-step British Columbia, Canada is renowned for its hydroponic weed, and this six-track EP would seem to reflect that. Ill-Esha’s productions bubble with P-funk synth splurts and space cadet squiggles, even as she gives them real dubstep weight and body-pushing pace. Some tracks have fewer ideas than others, but it’s massively promising.
All You Ever Knew (VIPER)
Fizzy, sugary, caffeinated popstep silliness. Somewhere in here there’s a great song, but among all the trance, fidgets and electro-house synths, twiddles and vocal cut-ups it’s very hard to pick it out. Like a mate who’s constantly bouncing off the walls, it’s a bit tiring, but after six blue Aftershocks it’s probably brilliant fun.
Telophase EP (STEADFAST)
Going in deep and slowwww... Four tracks of uncategorisable, cosmic, high-tech goodness here. Rhythms are syncopated, tempos vary from a techno throb to an elegant glide, but always there’s sub bass, space and crisp, hyper-real production. These are definitely tracks for heads.
More Tracks By Incyde Here
West Norwood Cassette Library:
Get Lifted (WEST NORWOOD CASSETTE LIBRARY)
Quirky retro-rave/house WNCL have always gone their own way, and their sixth release is no exception. It’s bassy, breakbeat house with the same trippy monologue as DJ Shadow’s ‘Lost & Found’, and could almost have come from 20 years ago – while a remix by Karenn (Pariah & Blawann) turns it into relentless techno hypnosis.
Terror Danjah & Ruby Lee Ryder:
Full Attention (HARDRIVE)
Grimey soul anthem. Some will baulk at the full-tilt r’n’b vocal here – but those people are fools. Terror Danjah has long tried to bring soul to grime, and this is one of his best attempts yet, its rolling breaks, buzzing bass, rave synths and jaggedy rhythms playing perfectly off the shmoooooove vocals. Not hurt by a straightforward UK funky rework from Roska, too.
Love Pressure (remixes) (HOT FLUSH)
The US can do experimentalism too Sepalcure’s tracks on Hot Flush have been some of the lushest of the last year; here they turn them over to FaltyDL, XI, Daedelus, Jimmy Edgar and Lando Kal for freaky tweaking and total overhauls. All are extremely diverting, but XI’s ecstatic intensity takes it by a whisker over Falty’s absorbing sparseness.
Double Oh No:
We Dance/I Got It (PHANTOM HERTZ)
Straightforward party tunes It is, surprisingly, possible to do buzzing, mid-range dubstep without all the ludicrous edits that usually accompany it, and Double Oh No makes a good heft of it here. There are some nice Daft Punk touches in the lead synths, though at times it feels like it’s playing it a bit safe. Jaunty, though.
Ruffneck (Full Flex) (ASYLUM/BIG BEAT)
Why bother hating? Yes, it’s cheesy as all get-out. Yes, it’s supported by Fearne Cotton. Yes, Skrillex looks like a nerdy goth chick. But the “death of dubstep”? Is it fuck. The piano melodies, quack-step bass and electro buzz are all ludicrous – but they’re brilliantly rendered and FUN, too. Like the rave- and trance-pop of the 90s, people will look back on this fondly.
Rowdy Limbo/Cool Talker (SUBFINITY RECORDINGS)
Try and categorise THIS! It’s great when an unknown release takes you unawares. ‘Rowdy Limbo’ is a joyful slice of calypso dubstep, perfect for those last rays of summer sun. But ‘Cool Talker’ is the killer: a mid-tempo, funky piece with a cut-up jazzy trumpet that defies genres. Very cool indeed.