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ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Release (Hessle Audio)
OK, he may dip a little below 140bpm on this album, but the heart of Kevin McCauley’s music remains dubstep. This isn’t genre-hopping, all purpose bass vibes, it’s body shaking, heavyweight, absorbing soundsystem music that could only have come from someone schooled at DMZ. Whether it’s the whiplash half-step of ‘Middleman’, the beatless ‘High’ or the odd, zippy organ house of ‘Majestic12’, it’s all about rock-solid, grittily textured sounds and real bass weight. Put this next to Pearson Sound’s mental new grime-inspired ‘Clutch’ EP and it’s clear the Hessle boys don’t intend to turn bland or safe any time soon.
TUNE OF THE MONTH
Swindle (pictured above)
Forest Funk EP (Deep Medi Muzik)
We’re assuming you’ve got Quest & Silkie’s Dubstep Allstars 9 mix... you have, right? So you’ll already have an idea of how great the blaring electro riff of ‘Forest Funk’ is, and the way ‘Belfast’ slips between funky organ licks and absolutely furious retro jungle bass and breaks. But even that taster couldn’t prepare you for how superb they sound as standalone tracks; add cascading jazz samples and subtly rolling beats in ‘Mischief’ and you have yet another stone cold killer package from a serious UK talent.
Injunction EP (Crown Jules)
J Beatz is an extremely prolific producer, but he is as yet under-appreciated outside the grime world. Hopefully his own Crown Jules label will change that; certainly the scampering,
UK funky-tinged ‘RIP’ and ‘Foundation Riddim’ here should find favour with all kinds of DJs, and the orchestral enhanced title track plus its intense Mr Mitch remix are just downright rocking.
Troubles/Rugged Get Darker (Heavyweight cuts)
This is a huge release from Distance, who finally drops two long awaited tunes. Both are heavyweight riddims that stomp, snarl and bristle with tension that take no prisoners. ‘Troubles’ has been on YouTube for some time, teasing the heads who search out dubstep treasure online. They won’t be disappointed as it ripples with pressure. ‘Rugged’ doesn’t let up either, it’s fully charged and carries more of a skank, making it perfect for those peak time moments when everybody wants to let rip.
Morgan Zarate feat Stevie Neale
Broken Heart Collector (Hyperdub)
There’s been a glut of dubstep tunes featuring female vocalists lately. Many seem to be fickle attempts at breaking the Top 40, but there have been some seriously stylish hits (check Terror Danjah’s work with Ruby Lee Ryder, for instance). Now Morgan Zarate comes on strong with ‘Broken Heart Collector’, featuring the majestic voice of Stevie Neale. This is surely the closest Hyperdub has ever come in its quest for certified crossover success, a fizz of bass that swirls around Neale’s soaring flow. We’d raise a lighter to this, for sure.
Snitch/Heartbeat (New World Audio)
Squarewave’s ‘Heartbeat’ is the finest deep track we’ve got this week, its rolling congas and building/flattening subs creating a wild tribal atmosphere without having to compromise its subtlety. His brother Sukh Knight remixes ‘Snitch’ into a triplet roller that is far noisier and buzzier, but retains an amazing amount of finesse. Both will have them screaming for a reload.
Oxygen EP (BeatCamp)
A grime veteran, only recently widely appreciated thanks to a re-release on Terror Danjah’s label, P Jam is all about the dance. Lead track ‘Bubble Bum’ here has a pounding four-to-the-floor groove, while the more spacious ‘Quantum’ and ‘Skyboy’ have downright euphoric techno chords that any DJ playing at 140bpm would be a fool to ignore.
Formlessness (Deep Heads)
Warm, smooth, embracing, with hints of something sinister in the shadows: you know what you’re going to get with the Deep Heads label, and newcomer Anex delivers it with style and
great cavernous blooms of reverb. OK, so his bleep melodies are simplistic enough to skirt the edges of chillout cliché - that doesn’t mean there’s not real talent at work here.
Trinity/Against The Tide (Tectonic)
VIVEK resides in the deep end, that area of dubstep that’s filled with thunder and dread. He’s one of the only producers who gets it right, who manages to make his tunes feel like thick, dark shrouds that have the power to totally envelop dancefloors. And he always puts a twist on things. Take the pneumatic synth and wrecking ball sub bass combo in ‘Trinity’, which work together to achieve total domination. Or the ugly funk that wriggles around during ‘Against The Tide’, providing boogie music for people who like dancing inside electrical storms.
Footsie VS Fei-Fei
Torture (Braindead Entertainment)
Fei-Fei’s got guts. There’s no doubt about it. Booked for
a massive trance event in the States, she turned up and blasted dubstep at thousands of die-hard Armin van Buurin fans, some of who subsequently sent her death threats. With her mission statement made public, she’s now hooked up with Footsie and the pair have knocked out a collaboration that straddles grime and US dubstep. It’s brash and noisy, but Fei-Fei reigns things in to allow Footsie some space to spit, and a decent balance is achieved. One for the crew who like it heavy with a bit of UK attitude.
How You Feel/Know You Better (Freshmore)
Post dubstep has reached saturation point in the UK, with many of the hybrid sound’s pioneers turning their backs on it. Not so in the US and Canada, where a taste for the crossover between house, garage and dubstep is still strong. We could have featured HxdB’s new EP here but instead plumped for this single from Brooklyn’s Figgy, which is sumptuous and lush with just the right amount of bounce. It’s the kind of thing Oneman is still playing, so once you’re done digesting the dubstep and grime on this page, hit this up.