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ALBUM OF THE MONTH:
Yöt: Bitch Bender (Raha & Tunteet)
Scandinavian Skweee music has long been the kooky cousin of the bass music family, all nerdy analogue synth setups, wibbly noises and juddering beats. But hear it ramped up on a proper system and it reveals serious club power – this mini-album being a case in point. The six tracks range from super-dubby to crunked-up r’n’b, and the synths are closer to the power of modern hip hop than to any kind of geeky electronica. OK, there are plenty of oddball moments, but DJs with guts should find this is powerful stuff.
TUNE OF THE MONTH:
One Spliff (Braindead Entertainment)
Take a super-dubby classic by Zomby, let True Tiger’s Sukh Knight remix it with his unique walloping force, then get grime veteran and half of Newham Generals to give it some on top... It’s a failsafe recipe, right? Right! You’ve probably heard this all over already, and you will for weeks to come as it’s one of those anthems that never seems to get tired. Add a Footsie-produced instrumental in the reggae-heavy ‘Duppy Mekka’ and you’ve got a true killer package.
Distinction/ Distinction & Chimpo
Only The Ghost Will Listen/No Reason (Music Of Distinction)
Manchester is bubbling over with production talent, and Distinction looks like he could be the next one to blow up big. ‘Only...’ is a big beast, with trancey arpeggios and bolshy bass, while ‘No Reason’ with Chimpo is more menacing, with razor-edged ultrafunk lead synths. Both are super distinctive and big in the dance.
Up Da Levs EP (Sum Ting New)
Four amazing tracks from Mixmag favourite Cotti and friends here. Cotti’s own ‘Black Out’ and Euby’s ‘Bright Side of the Dark’ are fierce, buzzing bangers, while DJ Enme and Slin come with the dubbiest, spaciest, but heaviest tracks of the month. In particular, Slin’s clattering ‘Baixo’ has an intense, involving atmosphere all of its own.
Orson & Hops
Kraut/Dread Drumz (Version)
OK, so we’ve slept on this spacious gem a little, but we had to mention it none-theless. Both the 808-led ‘Kraut’ and the rolling congas of ‘Dread...’ go straight for the spirit of early DMZ releases, but with a particular production finesse and trippy weirdness that stops them being straight tribute. True-school dubstep made with real finesse. A must-have.
TTKK 002 EP (TTKK)
An odd one, this: eight tracks that span garage, techno, dub and kooky weirdtronica, never quite settling into a coherent musical personality. Still, there’s plenty to like here, and we are definitely feeling the appropriately-titled take on bassline house that is ‘Shameless’.
Security/Cold Weather Area Recordings
Two classic bits of ‘dungeon sound’, ultra sparse and full of horror movie detail as they creep and crawl forward. But both these tracks have something distinctive going on, too, a fizzy tickle in the high end that sparkles like jewels in the shadows. Extremely promising stuff.
Dustyhead Modulations EP (Darker Than Wax)
If you’re feeling the trend for bassy sub-120bpm house rhythms, but find much of it too smooth, the lead track ‘Electric Plates’ answers your prayers. It’s rough and rugged, and its riffs and bassline are very memorable. ‘Plates’ is a lovely bit of gutsy boogie, too.
The Way I See You (Smudge)
Leeds is another city whose bass-driven scene is under-appreciated – but maybe not for long. This track, with its sensuous, Middle Eastern- tinged female vocal, recalls vintage Portishead or the best bits of Lamb, but with a very definite sharpness to the production. An Autonomic-style J Sparrow remix helps, too.
Bass For Your Face (Roska Kicks & Snares)
The title – and the track names – say it all: this is not subtle space-out music, it’s aimed squarely at the floor. ‘Louder’ and ‘Unstoppable’ both have big, buzzing, almost acidy synths, but the more spacious ‘Dangerzone’ is the one, its UK funky gallop bouncing perfectly off big, ballooning subs.
Distance vs Tunnidge
You know exactly what you’re getting with Distance and his Chestplate label: big, dark and heavy tunes without an ounce of fat. ‘Aftershock’ is a straight-forward buzzing pummel of a track, but the Tunnidge collab ‘Blame’ is the one, its glassy percussion and desolate, sci-fi ambience bleakly memorable.
OurWay 3 (Io.Lab)
Eight bits of hefty, riotous wobble from the Czech Republic, and every one is a belter. There’s none of the lazy production trickery that blights this style sometimes, just big fat beats and bass, and – on ‘Pes Kterej Kouše’, some brilliant thugged-out Slavic rapping just to boost the mood a little more.
Guachingua EP (Dubporn)
Out of Miami come four tracks of intense electronica over dubstep rhythms. The tracks range from near ambient to noisy and technofied, but all have melodic elements and lead synths so overwhelmingly upfront they make your teeth tingle. Some real talent at work here, but a little light and shade would be nice.
Illuminated EP (Mind On Fire)
An eight-piece band straight out of Wolverhampton, Paper Tiger manage to put together all that’s best about current electronic music together in one package. Dubstep DJs should look to lead track ‘Delight Dub’, but the title track’s a jazzy roller not to be ignored. Intricate but punchy, weird but very wonderful, this is really lush stuff.