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ALBUM OF THE MONTH
King Original (Braindead Entertainment)
Footsie – most widely known in his MC role as one half of Newham Generals – is also one of grime’s most revered producers, and one of the most important influences on dubstep’s finest, particularly Skream. He now joins Wiley, Terror Danjah, Ruff Sqwad and co in having his older dubplates collected in album form, and it is mighty. There are 23 tracks here, most previously unavailable except to select DJs, and every last one is refined, highly individual and funky as hell with real soundsystem wallop. Don’t hesitate: you need this.
TUNE OF THE MONTH
Over My Head System Music (The simmer zone)
When V.I.V.E.K. closed out the last System party, he played a series of tunes laced with icy tension and murky, psychedelic atmospherics. Hunched over the controls, he simmered the crowd into a swaying mass, casting a spell which culminated in ‘Over My Head’. It teems with subtle, refined bass pressure and is led by a beautiful, souful vocal that rises up and out of the deep. It’s truly bewitching, one of those rare beats that has a little black magic about it. The first release on V.I.V.E.K’s System Music, it’s backed by the instrumental and a decent Om Unity remix.
Coolie Joyride EP (Oil Gang)
Another good release from Oil Gang, the grime label that puts out solid releases every now and again. Like the label, this one is a labour of love, reaching right back to 2006 when the title track first came out. As you’d expect it’s stark and percussive, but with dancehall-style swagger and delicious booty bumps. ‘Electric Fence’ is as threatening and malicious as a flick knife in the wrong hands, and ‘Rhythm & Slags Pt 2’ delivers a much-needed dose of hype.
Echolocation (New Moon)
A super-cool new single from Perverse here that sounds like a well-oiled machine going through the motions. It’s all about forward momentum and precise production aesthetics; you can hear every click, shuffle and bump in high definition, coming together to pump like a piston. You’ll get ‘Echolocation’ and ‘Tempest’ on the 12”, with ‘Somber’ coming as a digital bonus. Dark and rolling, these are dubstep DJ tools to take you way into the night.
Compa kicks off a string of spring releases with this beguiling double-A for Kokeshi. It leads with ‘Kalindi’, a beatless piece of ambient drone that floats translucently, like a ghost. ‘Antact’ gets back to business, showcasing Compa’s signature style: boulder-heavy kick drums, end-of-days atmospherics, mangled melodies and whip-lash cracks of bass. A throbbing, techno-y pulse runs throughout, making it something of an exercise in future dub.
Pulse X Remixes (Liminal Sounds)
They say you should never fuck with a classic, but sometimes the temptation is just too much. Visionist, Blackwax, Slackk, Pedro 123 and Elsewhere line up to put their spin on Youngstar’s seminal grime riddim ‘Pulse X’. The reworks are suitably weird and forward facing, with eski schoolboy Pedro 123 and bass experimentalist Visionist providing stand-out jams, though all are worth a check.
Never Believe You/Hearts A Mess (In The Name Of Kill)
A debut 12” from new bootleg imprint In The Name Of Kill here. If you ignore the quite horrifying remix of Gotye’s ‘Hearts A Mess’, you’ll find a brilliant version of Mavado’s ‘Never Believe You’. The famed dancehall MC has got to be one of the most sampled singers in dubstep and here his honey-sweet ragga tone is slapped across a tidal bassline. Worth bagging for that alone – it’ll blow any party apart.
Super Hans EP (Durkle Disco)
Bristol’s Durkle Disco label deals in a wide variety of bass sounds, and even when they stick to 140bpm – as here – they keep that variety broader than broadway. This goes from smoked-out and garagey, through dungeon atmospherics, to straight-up rowdy Virus Syndicate style dubstep/grime. The quality is undeniable, though it’s hard to pick out an individual musical personality here.
Galvanize EP (H.E.N.C.H.)
More from Bristol; played by Hatcha, Coki, True Tiger, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, you know these three tracks will kill everyone and everything in the dance. It is, however, a DJ tool – a razor-sharp, brilliantly made one, but not something you’d necessarily want to listen to outside of peak-
time sets. Definitely an extraordinarily promising talent to watch, though.
We’ll Tear Your Soul Apart EP (Horror Boogie)
OK, there are tracks here called ‘Trippin’ Balls’ and ‘Spaz Rod’: do you reckon you’re going to get anything subtle? Not. A. Chance. These are vicious, distorted double-time fusions of northern bassline, electro, tear-out dubstep and warehouse techno, and they bang like a shithouse door in a gale. If you play hard sets, chuck these in and go one harder.
Suspect/KLGRM/ Suspicious Stench
Releasing Anger EP (Prime Audio)
These tracks have the kind of harsh, glossy production values that all too often drag dubstep away from its soundsystem roots. But Prime Audio boss Suspect, collaborating with KLGRM and Stenchman, understands those roots well – so the patience of the halfstep beats, the junglist undercurrents, and the mammoth subs here make sure that these horror-themed tunes hit viciously hard but don’t descend into EDM thrashing.
ONLYEVERFWD (The Konspiracy Group)
Vancouver producer Kuma was an early adopter of dubstep and has been making trippy twists on it for longer than anyone here cares to remember. Each of these five tracks is rhythmically and sonically unique, richly layered with ambient background sounds, shimmering strings, elegant drum programming and individual rhythms. Bangers they are not, but they’re full of beauty and derangement.