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ALBUM OF THE MONTH
The second album from Lazer Sword (aka Lando Kal and Low Limit) is a phenomenal interpretation of the intense cross-pollination that’s currently going on in bass music. It’s a neon mélange that bangs molten hunks of underground dance music into the blender, whizzing footwork, electronic hip hop, acid, techno, 808 electro, house and garage together. If you’re digging this strange new world where genres morph magically together, then get stuck into ‘Memory’. The aforementioned elements are bound seamlessly, Lazer Sword’s addiction to sleek melodies, skittering rhythms, jumpy basslines and sci-fi synths shaping the whole LP. Check this!
TUNE OF THE MONTH
Die & Mensah
Firing Line (Gutterfunk)
This one’s just ridiculous. Mensah has been doing damage in so many different styles lately, and here, with Bristol d’n’b veteran and Gutterfunk boss Die, he destroys it at 130bpm. Coundowns, dancehall clapping, big riffs, big bass, more big bass – it’s all there, and all deployed in the name of constant tension. The track never drops,
just keeps ramping the excitement up and up until... well, what happens next is a good DJ’s choice, right? One to set the night right off.
Mauve EP (Well Rounded Housing Project)
Leon Vynehall debuts with a treat of a triple-A side EP. The boy goes in deep with some bass-heavy house that’s indebted to the blissed-out spirit of Chicago and an unashamed love of analogue textures. These ones roll with the triumphant feeling of good times, piano chords falling like rays of sunshine and basslines laid down like fat feather-down duvets. Quality throughout.
The Transition EP (Donky Pitch)
More space jamz drop from Donky Pitch, the Brighton label releasing heavy cosmic hip hop. New to its family is Keyboard Kid, the Seattle producer best known for making beats for Lil B. His latest EP is a psychedelic waltzer ride of hyperactive synth work, all underpinned by lolloping, swagged-out beats that switch into sudden bursts of double time. Rocket- powered fluoro-crunk, anyone?
Credentials EP (Switched On Records)
Alex D££mnds joins a pool of producers currently knocking out stark 4/4 with a hefty low-end wallop. Alex Coulton and Beneath have recently released seismic cuts, and now D££mnds’ ‘Credentials’ EP adds to the dark mood creeping into bass music. His stripped-back brand of techno is piston-strong and ocean-deep, with an irresistible springiness that’ll really bang in the dance.
Lay Hollow (Tri Angle)
Here’s one for those of you looking to explore some dark arts. ‘Lay Hollow’ is a set of spooked-out sound sculptures, Howse slinging ice-cold footwork rhythms and brittle breaks through thick puffs of reverb, spectral voices and broken melodies that ghost in and out of each fuggy mix. Another creepy-cool release from Tri Angle,
a label specialising in weirdo hits.
Dirty Trainers Crew
The Entrance (Dirty Trainers)
Dirty Trainers Crew is a squadron of producers based across the UK. Its number includes Illmana, Kam Tru, Miikee Spice, Reaktor Sounds, Kadabrah, Filthy Vicars and Stuff and between them they’ve laid down a seven-track EP that hits all the right bass buttons. Check this for classy lights-down garage affair ‘I Was Here’, half-step thundercloud ‘Wobble Dat’ and rhythmic tribal ritual ‘The Bump’.
Moon Dub/Oracle/Gliese 581G (Space Cadets)
It’s a very simple conceit: “autonomic” d’n’b with the wafty hiss and crackle of Berlin dub techno and Burial. But crucially, it’s not been done before. Waves of gently trippy electronic sound wash around the 170bpm percussion in a way that’s somehow familiar yet unexpected; ‘Gliese...’ is practically ambient, but the others, on a decent system, should turn a club cosmically sexy.
Hackman & Bluto
What Matters (Deadplate)
If you haven’t caught on to Hackman then where’ve you been? Every beat he touches turns to pure gold, and this one is no different. A collaboration with Bluto, ‘What Matters’ is a fat slab of bass-heavy house that almost beats Bashmore at his own game. It bursts with thrusting low-end, bright steel drums, swooping strings and insatiable rhythms that’s perfect for peak time and the impending summer months. The James Fox rework is solid too, turning the original into
a tougher, much more streamlined beast.
The original track consists of military snares and a simple Dirty Dutch-style pitch-bent riff on UK funky bass and beats – all locked into some really odd stuttering claps. It’s immaculately produced and pretty mindwarping, but the real fun is in Chicago veteran Traxman speeding it up to a ludicrous speed and somehow making it work. 8/10
Margeaux Pt 1/ Margeux Pt 2 (Idle Hands)
Kahn takes a trip back to 2001, when underground garage was built out of dark basslines and woodblock beats. ‘Margeaux Pt 1’ and ‘Margeaux Pt 2’ are straight from the El-B school of two-step, so don’t be expecting any half-arsed revivalist crap. These beats are produced with precision in mind, and are so wonderfully well swung that you’ll be swivelling in no time. Pure fiyah!
South London Ordnance
Sanctuary/Roofy (2nd Drop)
It’s a sign of bass music’s current fertility that so many producers are dropping shockingly good debuts. South London Ordnance opens his account with two tracks on 2nd Drop, a label that’s ever ahead of the game. ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Roofy’ bump at house tempos and feature carnival-style rhythms that slink through succulent slabs of dubstep-style sub-bass. There’s a fair amount of techno dread too, making this an essential hybrid that you shouldn’t sleep on.