ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Seven Lies (2nd Drop)
‘Seven Lies’ is a love letter to the music that Djrum so obviously holds dear. It’s written from the heart, and he puts a soulful spin on every one of the tracks on this, his debut LP. ‘Como Los Cerdos’ is a sunny, smoked-out hip hop beat while the skitter and slide of jungle is evoked on ‘Thankyou’. There’s also the sparse r’n’b of ‘Honey’, which comes drenched in magic. Those are great, but Djrum really comes alive on the five UK garage tracks included here, which really go deep. Try ‘Arcana (Do I Need You)’, an affecting example of just how great true love can sound.
TUNE OF THE MONTH
Helter Skelter (Poly Kicks)
A graduate of the mighty 2nd Drop (see Album Of The Month and Cheekies, below), Bristol’s Tessela has previously excelled in percussive bass-house styles – but his ‘Hackney Parrot’ and ‘Helter Skelter’ are pure early 90s hard-
core in source material. Quite a few ‘future jungle’ releases are lazy exercises in nostalgic button-pushing, but these treat the breaks and samples roughly and are all the better for it. ‘Hackney Parrot’ is the anthem, but it’s the flip we love best, with its crunchy pitched snares, ‘Mentasm’ noises and deep, dark energy.
Arkist & Komon
Kitchen Monks EP (HypeLTD)
Something is afoot in Bristol... again! Following recent releases from Behling & Simpson and the new Applepips Komon & Appleblim 12”, a sound of sub-120bpm bassy, discoey house you could imagine in an Andrew Weatherall or Justin Robertson set is kicking off. ‘Brookfield’ is the one here, slow motion narcosis that works as effectively at 3am or after sunrise when things are getting romantic...
Illowhead EP (Saturate)
We weren’t familiar with this Hamburg producer before checking this seven-track EP, but now we need to know more. The fusions of almost Autechre levels of razor-edged sound design with footwork, house, grime, vintage Detroit and other indefinable rhythms make for some of the most brilliantly produced music we’ve heard this month – yet still aims directly for the hips rather than the head. A mega talent.
Hopscotch/Space Jam (Car Crash Set)
This indietronica duo’s heartstring-plucking LP made Mixmag’s album of the month earlier in the year, and this lovely EP complements it wonderfully. It’s all about the amazing ‘Masseymix’ by no less than 808 State’s Graham Massey, which surprised us no end by winding elegantly zippy juke/footworking programming around Luca Santucci’s resonant voice and despairing lyrics. Absolutely gorgeous.
Hawaii EP (Eat Concrete)
If you’re not familiar with the Eat Concrete label, get to know ASAP! Their take on wonked out electronic funk puts them up there with some of the best labels out there. This six-tracker ranges from skittery electronica (‘Spped Up’) through tough electro (‘Lobsters’, ‘Hawaii’) and ultra-funky trip-hop (‘Magic Oak’) to Brainfeeder-style intergalactic drift (‘Lord Of Death’), and it’s all seriously high quality stuff.
Nick Hook & Vin Sol & Matrixxman
I Can Feel It EP (Classicworks)
The ginger ninja Nick Hook (best known, perhaps, as Cubic Zirconia) drops into high speed hyperfunk mode in for this three-track team effort. The core sound is late 90s Chicago ghetto house – made famous by the Dance Mania label and a precursor to the more complex footworking beats – all looped-up samples, zippy four-to-the-floor and ridiculously funky riffs. It’s a simple formula, but super-hard to get right. They pull it off though - these are straight-up party starters.
Gun Ho (Crystal Culture)
One of our favourite new producers, Pedro 123, has started a label. Not such a surprise in the entrepreneurial times of 2013, but this is one imprint you should keep an eye on. For the first release he’s signed up Stuff, who whacks out Addison Groove-
style 808 booty bass on ‘Gun Ho’ and chewed-up UK funky on ‘Spider’, which wouldn’t sound out of place in a Champion or Redlight set. Remixes of ‘Gun Ho’ come from bossman Pedro, who puts a playful 135bpm spin on things, and Elsewhere, who turns in a bastardised version reminiscent of the warped genius of early Untold records.
Hollowed EP (Sonic Router)
Sonic Router continues its run of form (check Hav Lyfe’s awesome LP from the other month) with this EP from Bambooman. Label boss Oli has a knack of unearthing quality beatmakers, and ‘Hollowed’ brings to light a producer with a burning ability to put together dusty hip hop flecked with funk, a little gangsta boogie and weird world atmospherics. Worth a check for sure. 7/10
Khing Kang King
IAO (Sullen Tone)
Khing Kang King is Old Apparatus member LTO and vocalist Mowgli (last seen together on the band’s fantastic ‘Hammerhand’). It’s a great name for the project, an onomatopoeia for the way Mowgli’s lyrics tumble down and click together like Tetris blocks, but also for the sounds LTO builds beats out of, which include lift doors, shivers of white noise, scrunched paper and antique piano notes. During the four tracks on ‘IAO’ Mowgli spits poetry as dense and intricate as Saul Bellow, but with a more suave tone of voice, accompanied perfectly by LTO, who weaves instrumentation and samples much like a sorcerer. Would go well next to the Kahn EP we mentioned last month.
Siamese Burn (King Deluxe)
This is how we like our bass music: full of lush basslines, alien clicks and bleeps, sweeps of soft melody and juddering, off kilter drum programming. Alphabet’s Heaven continues to impress on ‘Siamese Burn’, a six-track EP that should be a must-
buy for fans of Com Truise, Lapalux and Slugabed – though he ups their tempos in order to create tripped-out treats you can easily slide into dancefloor-friendly sets. Good stuff.
One year ago Church was at the center of the post-dubstep explosion. Since then the club night and label has repositioned its focus toward 4/4 territory, picking up on a new generation of producers who’ve dived into the murky world of techno. Rumah makes the kind of clean, skippy, thundering tracks that Skream and Scuba are currently playing out, the type that put devoted club kids into states of rapture. ‘Stutter’ and ‘Murmur’ are ridiculously weighty, and remixes from James Fox and Church founders Seb Wildblood and Apes round things off nicely.