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Last months have seen the emergence of a new trend in drum and bass music. Not combining dub influenced elements with fast paced beats or dirty basslines, which have be done for years already, but just modern dub music at 170 bpm. As the rhythm is in half speed, it’s not that obvious the tempo is that of traditional Drum ‘n’ Bass…
Key players in the scene helped the exposure of this new sound like dBridge through releases on his label Exit (Digital & Morphy EP, Genotype album) or Loxy with his acclaimed CX podcasts series. CX digital, which is one of Loxy’s imprint, welcome the following four tracks for the True Dub EP.
Kicking off with Morphy’s Backpack, a deep and atmospheric piece of music. The melodies give, somehow, a moody/melancholic feel while the beat is clearly a tribute to the early roots music. Lovely.
Genotype with ‘Ball Drop’ goes to a more minimal and hypnotic approach of the sound. Expect lots of delayed/reverbed sound there, the sensation of space is amazing. ’Ramadan Dub’ by Flatliners is pure dub bizness. Tight drums, guitar skanks, reggae/dub vocal snippets, dub sirens…Everything is here. Maybe the most uplifted tune of the fours.
Reza closes the EP with his ‘David Can Still Beat Goliath’. A deep and dark track combining heavy sub, militant beat and droney elements. The vocals help adding a more twisted feeling.
Fans of the dubwise and forward thinking music won’t miss that release. The digital version is available on the usual outlets since last week. Also, some limited 7″ vinyls will be available soon, watch out for these.
Words: Jeremy Girard
Listen to and purchase this release at Juno Records.
Hailing from Vienna, the man himself (real name Oliver Johnson) has released many EPs on labels such as Affine and Kindred Sprits, perhaps best-known of which boasts the inspired name of Trilingual Dance Sexperience (2009)…
He has also put his superb keyboard skills to use in a live context (performing in Jacob’s Salty and Bamboozling Ladder [JSBL] and Flying Lotus’s band), and has remixed a host of artists including Jamie Lidell. You’re beginning to like this chap, aren’t you?
Her Tears Taste Like Pears marks a mild departure from Dorian Concept’s earlier material in its slightly maturer tone. His trademark filtered synth chords have been replaced with more refined, less overt sounds, and one can also detect heavier influences from dubstep (especially in Toe Games Made Her Giggle), a genre which always lends a darker timbre. From the greying symmetry of the minimalist front cover to the hazy calmness of closing track Thank You All The Time Forever, this EP seems to be a more thoughtful affair.
That is definitely not to say that he has lost his sense of fun. Many of the songs feature almost Nintendo-like melodies that dart between pitches in decidedly kooky phrases, particularly the title track. My Face Needs Food also has a manic, rackety, computer game quality (reminiscent of Flying Lotus’s Cosmogramma album) and a pompous, minor-key melody which is bound raise a smile, or at least an eyebrow.
While Her Tears Taste Like Pears lacks some of the immediacy of his previous work, Dorian Concept takes his finest qualities (a jazzy vocabulary, a totally unique sound and a sense of humour) and tells them to stop smoking weed and get a job. Ultra-quality electronica for sardonic adolescents.
Words: Rob Lamont
With various remixes over the past few years and a collaboration with Ramadanman, Midland is one of the stronger producers of the post-dubstep-house-future-techno-garage genre. Yeah, a firm genre name really needs to be decided on, but it goes to show the broad range of styles that Midland’s production draws from.
Released on This Is Music, Midland serves up a more uplifting 12″. ‘Bring Joy’, the A-side of this release, features chopped up UK garage style vocals with sub-heavy sustained bass gliding under a nicely produced retro-house-style breakbeat. This is a really refreshing tune to hear, Midland has managed to really capture a variety of vibes from adjacent genres of music and stuffed them into a carefully structured and extremely well produced track.
‘Dead eyes’ takes a more house and techno approach. Filtered synths do their job of complimenting what is a straight up deep-house bass line groove. Classic house claps and tribal percussion make this tune a reference to the old skool. Not much is modernised but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intention – what Midland has written is an authentic house track with hints of techno influence.
Finally we get on to the remixes of Bring Joy. First up is the Radio Slave Joy & Pain remix. This remix uses squelchy and highly processed percussion, which juxtaposes the spaced-out re-pitched vocals. The remix takes an interesting approach as Radio Slave has really f*cked with the samples, but I feel the whole tune lacks progression somewhat…
People who purchase the digital release can also download the Youandewan Warehouse dub remix. This mammoth remix, which lasts approximately 11 minutes and 21 seconds, sees Youandewan transform ‘Bring Joy’ into a deep bass-drenched techno stomper. Subtle inclusions of FX and textural vocal layers inject the much needed elements to justify the 11minute length of this remix – keeping each drop fresh and the listener wanting more.
The layers in this remix build perfectly, with synths floating around the subsonic kicks and the gradual introduction of off-beat slow pulses. Shame this didn’t make it to vinyl.
Words: Guy Andrews
This straight up dubstep smasher vertical suplexes the sh*t out of the original – remember Bam Bam Bigelow? It’s like him, with more bass and less redneck facial hair…
Let’s start with the B-side. Trianglez is a dubby-wobbler co-produced with Dark Tantrums. Featuring 50cent crowd-hyping samples, the momentum of this rather sparse sounding track is kept at a high without going over the top. A flabby metallic bass line gyrates over the top of a minimal and spaced-out dubstep beat. Subtle changes in layers keep the simple elements flowing, without ever sounding repetitive. It’s nothing new, but does the dubstep genre’s formula very well – without sounding too commercial.
Mental Universe takes a much more minimal approach. The track’s bassline is reminiscent of songs such as Lurka – The Phrophet (VIP), with a smooth sonic concoction of whiney melodies, sci-fi samples and reverb-soaked FX splashed on top. It’s chilled yet has a slightly less sinister approach with its demeanour, compared to other tracks of this style.
A promising first release from one of Dubstep’s biggest brands, Get Darker. It will be interesting to see what direction they take the label next…
Compiled speedily after the catastrophic events in Japan, Nihon Kizuna (in English, ‘bond of friendship with Japan’) is the work of a small group of creators in Tokyo and a host of artists worldwide who donated their tracks to the project. The album costs £10 from its BandCamp site (or more if you elect to make a larger donation), with all funds going directly to the Japanese Red Cross.
I thought that to review the album would be to rather miss the point, so this is really more of a plug for Nihon Kizuna, although it certainly is a superb collection of electronica – the team (including the ‘spiritually Japanese’ Laurent Fintoni, a music connoisseur and journo), should be commended for their taste as well as their initiative.
The album is a whopping 49 tracks long, its tone ranging from dark downtempo (Himuro Yoshiteru, Mus.sck) to vocal folktronica (Fink, Jono McCleery) to wonky hip hop (Darkhouse Family, Onra) to atmospheric dubstep (Kode 9, Slugabed, Doshy). But the sheer breadth of the genres and nationalities on board never overshadows the very specific cause – there are many Japanese artists involved, many tracks with titles referencing the country, and many that are exclusive to or recorded especially for this release.
For these reasons N.K. is an expertly and sensitively compiled album, especially considering how quickly it was arranged. Passionate and compassionate.
The project raised $15000 in the first four days of its release, and if donations reach a total of $20000, a second album of bonus tracks will compiled and given away for free. Go to www.nihonkizuna.com for more information.
Words: Rob Lamont
Cloud 11 is a compilation album featuring various downtempo electronica producers, many from the roster of the label helming the release, Cartesian Binary. This Portland, Oregon-based label is the offspring of producer/multi-instrumentalist Rena Jones, who collaborates on several of the tracks here.
The selection is largely US-centric but also boasts a European clutch of artists, from the Netherlands’ Funckarma to Germany’s Field Rotation to Phuture Frequency’s very own Guy Andrews, under his Moving Dawn Orchestra guise.
With pretty much all of these names being new to me, and without a specific knowledge of the sub-genre, there are a few immediate points that spring to mind upon introduction: Firstly, the downtempo style has its advantages and disadvantages – whilst allowing for space and inventiveness (and rocking a welcome disregard for commerciality), it is also rather soporific in large doses, making it hard to concentrate on or discern different tracks over the course of an album. Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the music is consistently good, with all the artists contributing solid mixes to a cohesive, gratifying whole. But I ended up focusing mainly on a handful of stand-out tracks, the remainders blending into an enjoyable but fairly unremarkable haze of ambience.
Opener Spirit Platypus Guide by Disonaur definitely comes under the former category, with its slow-building structure, gradually unveiling chord sequence, and the embarrassingly deep rhodes sound that melts and vibrates its way through the song’s middle section.
Komposit’s Pma Pnku is also a favourite (and perhaps the most upbeat track on the album), featuring a quirky, robotic stop-start groove that, combined with the harmony and glitchy background noise, instantly perks up the ears – there are some serious production chops on display here. Gasp’s Ubique also deserves a mention for its growling sub-bass filter, one of the harder sounds on offer on Cloud 11.
As the album progresses there are some nice stylistic diversions – fans of post-rock outfits such as Jeniferever are likely to have a bit of an ‘episode’ over the Helios and Hands Upon Black Earth tunes. Pregnant with delayed guitars and infested with beautiful swelling chords, they provide a welcome digression from largely programmed sounds.
Moving Dawn Orchestra’s Your Light also contains plenty of live elements, as well as a devastating vocal sample – one whose understated treatment and repetition give the track a profound, melancholic quality. Head honcho Rena Jones’s expressive strings can also be heard at various points across the album, yet another effective injection of sonic diversity that helps makes the compilation more accessible.
So allowing for some moments of sleepy mediocrity, there is a wide enough palette of timbres on Cloud 11 to keep the untrained downtempo listener (myself included) engaged. An enlightening introduction to a label and a genre that, whilst not for everybody, is endowed with some serious talent in an environment that seems to encourage creativity. Refreshing.
Words: Rob Lamont
The long-running collaboration between Seba and Paradox continues with the release of ‘The Light’ on Critical Music, a lighter vocal-based track that casts back to a similar ilk as ‘Move On’, which was released on Hospital Records in 2005.
These are two producers that have firmly stuck to their guns in terms of sound and production style. It’s still nice to hear musicians not getting influenced from what’s currently trending in their scene, rather being influenced from different aspects of old skool dance music.
The Light features Kirsty Hawkshaw, who brings her melodic and almost ethereal vocals to what is a breakbeat-liquid drum ‘n’ bass tune. The Old Skool elements shine through on this, with the piano striking melodies that bear resemblance to house music from the early 90′s.
I have to say that the drum programming and basslines do remind me a bit too much of Move On, which featured the strikingly heartfelt vocals from Robert Manos. However, the vocals on The Light are distinctive and unique for the style. It’s a very accessible tune and a prime example of the cross-genre appeal Drum ‘n’ Bass has, as this is bound to appeal to people into house and trance.
The B-Side ‘As If’ is a typical Paradox amen killer. It’s quite obvious that Paradox had a slightly stronger influence on the creation of this tune, however Seba’s elements that often make up his own productions are neatly slipped in there.
Critical was the perfect label for this release, as both sides embrace the sounds that Critical has pushed through other artists such as Breakage and Icicle. This will be a strong release from the production duo often referred to as Sebadox by their fans, and definitely one to pick up on your next record shop!
Words: Guy Andrews
MJ Cole is a producer who has been around for a while now, enjoying perhaps his most mainstream success in 2001 with the Mercury Music Prize-nominated garage album Sincere. The new Satellite EP could be described as a culmination of his achievements since – stylistically independent, released on his own appropriately-titled Prolifc label, and boasting some of his most experimental music to date.
To compare it with his previous solo release, 2010′s Riddim EP, what is most noticeable about these tracks is their softer dynamics and melodic motifs. While Riddim EP was explicitly lacking in these elements (being as it was a collection of infectious, hard, dance floor-friendly… well, rhythms), here we see Cole’s trademark syncopation augmented by synth-heavy chord sequences, punchy string lines and lush, swelling production.
Opener TGV is the most commercial whilst again, slightly resisting categorisation – its tempo would sit nicely alongside a fast house or garage tune, but it features an offbeat snare pattern that defies both genres. A highly danceable track, it also features a satisfying two-chord progression that continuously revolves and creates a brilliant, euphoric vibe.
Closing track Manta is the other outstanding piece of work on Satellite, with its dark, lazy dubstep groove and gorgeous white noise – a device that bathes the thing in ambience and makes the bass drop where it’s introduced sound absolutely massive.
The songs in between are perhaps slightly less remarkable but still contain hooks that beg revisiting. Hawaii (another dubstep-style track), for its chiming background melody and the glimmering, spaced-out swells that climax beautifully during its breakdown; and Bordeaux for its string samples and deep bass drone, where the notes flow and shift into one another.
It’s very pleasing to hear MJ Cole move into new, perhaps more thoughtful territory, while still retaining that rhythmic, dance-savvy sensibility that has served him so well in the past. A fantastic EP.
Words: Rob Lamont
Those who follow dubstep and especially the deep and experimental niche may have heard of Kahn lately. This guy is going strength to strength with remixes for Floetry, M.I.K and also his digital release, ‘Altar’ which came out last year on A Future Without.
2011 is starting well for him as he kicks off the year with a debut EP on one of the most respected label, Peverelist’s own Punch Drunk.
The A side, ‘Like We Used To’, combines filtered and sidechained chords with soulful/rnb-ish vocal edits which, at the end, create an absolutely lush vibe. The work on vocals is very reminescent of Akufen experiments on vocals. The beat on this track is slow, compared to the standard dubstep/garage one making this track much enjoyable for home listening.
Garagey beat structure, heavy sub and electro sounds are the main ingredients of the flip, ‘Helter Skelter’. Despite the track’s length (3:50), this synth driven one is more aimed for dancefloors. Again the work on the edits has to be mentioned. Briliant !
Keep an eye of this guy, he’s gonna be big. Also, you can catch him playing live (dates available on his soundcloud : http://soundcloud.com/kahn)
A: Like We Used To
B: Helter Skelter
Icicle’s first releases started to surface around 2007 and it didn’t take long for the dutch based producer to establish his name in the neuro/tech drum and bass scene. The second single entitled ‘Dreadnaught’, taken from his debut LP ‘Under The Ice’, features the respected SP:MC laying down verses to compliment this track.
Unfortunately, this is an A-side that doesn’t really break any boundaries or do anything new for the style – it’s still a decent tune, but lacks innovation and is clearly aimed for the trained neuro/tech raver. Maybe it’s a personal thing for me, but I’m getting bored of the same compositional-formulas in Drum ‘n’ Bass that have sprung up in the last 6 years or so.
Flip the 12″, however, and behold Icicle’s skill for writing stunning Drum ‘n’ Bass.
Arrows, the B-side to this release, is a semi-melodic ambient influenced tech step tune. Perfectly blended sounds get infused to the growling bass – this is modernised classic Drum ‘n’ Bass. The song isn’t so much aimed for the club as the a-side is, but due to Icicle’s knowledge of simply what works, it will still go down well. On this tune Icicle also demonstrates his talent in creating soundscapes with deep sonic textures. This is brilliant and a perfect choice for showcasing what’s to possibly come on the LP.
Words: Guy Andrews
Brighton’s ever trustworthy Tru Thoughts has just released Cookie Dough, the intriguing debut album from Wildcookie – a fortuitous collaboration between existing signee Freddie Cruger (AKA Red Astaire) and American session singer Anthony Mills. And what an album it is – a varied but reliably soulful experience, combining elements of hip hop, R&B and occasional latin and afro beats.
It’s important to note that both producer and vocalist are on top of their game here. Cruger crafts infectious grooves throughout, from the airy, grin-inducing bossa novas of Flashy Flashy and Touchy Touchy (a brilliantly cheeky pair of tunes) to the deep rhodes and heavy swagger of Heroine and Something About Those Days.
Meanwhile, Mills’s range, tone and lyrics inject the whole thing with bags of personality and soul. This is a man who understands a vocal hook and Blimey Charlie, he has the chops to pull it off – apparently most of his vocals were composed spontaneously and recorded in one take. The scoundrel.
Significantly, drugs are a prominent theme on Cookie Dough, perhaps most explicitly on current single Heroine. The ambiguous spelling of the title does little to obscure the lyrics’ real subject matter, and while initially dubious (“Heroine made my favourite jazz, Each and every one of them smoked some heroin…”) it’s soon very clear that Mills is not concerned with condonation. It just seems to be a fascinating subject to him, and one which gives the album a very distinctive, tripped-out vibe to compliment its musicianship.
Cookie Dough’s release is a welcome breath of sunshine at the tail-end of a murky winter – a melodically rich, grooving, funny, loose, psychedelic belter of a soul record. I hope that its surrounding hype will endure for a few months as it could easily be our album of the summer.
Words: Rob Lamont
British Drum and Bass producer Amit is one of the leading pioneers of half-step, or should that be dark-step…? Whilst people may argue over the exact genre of his work, there is no denying that what Amit does is simply exquisite.
For this review we revisit this classic and now re-printed release, Never Ending, out on Commercial Suicide. Amit is able to bring haunting, moody soundscapes to a whole new level drawing on a number of influences from Joy Division through to his Indian roots whilst never forgetting his love for D&B.
Opening track Unholy is a ghost-like introduction with chiming atmospherics, strong drum beats and industrial sounds that draw you directly in to Amit’s dark and heavy world. It is these elements combined with strong Indian influences that see him succeed in creating something truly original.
Amit’s work counters the new ‘Drum and Bass’ scene that we’re seeing grow with the likes of Chase and Status and Pendulum laying claim, along with the ever-growing Dubstep crowd, to the radio airwaves in recent times. Amit’s focus on half-step makes the album extremely listenable and far more pleasing than the glossy, pop-D&B anthems we’re hearing so frequently today.
That is not to say that Amit’s music is not chart-worthy, many of the tracks wouldn’t be out of place on a movie soundtrack, (see A.R Rahman’s work on 127 Hours and you’ll notice the similarities) as his mammoth basslines and vocal samples work together to create mysterious film-like tales.
Political references are also littered throughout Never Ending as Amit doesn’t shy away from expressing his beliefs. This is never more noticeable than on Swastika, with a vocal sample of “Facist people, facist government” repeated over a slightly more dubstep oriented beat that will undoubtedly be a crowd pleaser.
There is no denying that Amit is one of the most exciting and original Drum and Bass producers around. Never Ending is yet another example of his great work that truly encapsulates his unique sound. I strongly recommend that you immerse yourselves in the sound of Amit’s dark universe.
Never Ending is now back in stock at Juno Records.
Words: Rosie Blackwell-Sutton
Meltdown is Ill Blu’s debut EP for the Numbers imprint. The 3-track dubstep influenced release is aimed straight at the dance floor. These are upfront tracks that combine sneaky atmospherics with interesting synth sounds, creating busy sounding rhythms with melodies directly influenced from more dancehall based music.
The title track “Meltdown” dishes out plenty of squelchy bass with nice variations in melody. The tune has a lot going on, and is quite far away from the more minimal approach producers often adopt when writing this type of dubstep, but this does not distract the listener. The fluid percussion makes this track a dance floor killer, with the shaker providing that aural-glue to get those limbs shakin’.
“Overdose” and “Chelt” back up this EP with strength. Overdose taking the more traditional club-hit route with a high pitched lead synth line complimenting the throbbing bassline rolling underneath. The ragga dancehall influence shines through on this – Ill Blu even included the infamous ragga siren sound.
Out of the two b-side tracks, “Chelt” brings the real twist to the release. With stepped up tech influenced snares running over what is a simply storming bass rhythm.
On the whole this is a very strong release from Ill Blu. Although the drums patterns are fairly samey across all the tunes, the impact and individuality of each track is not lost. Ill Blu has found a strong formula and, for now, is working with it – that’s cool by me!
Words: Guy Andrews
Anyone who has ever attended the Minimal Kids night at Brighton’s Audio will be familiar with the tone of Enzo Siffredi’s fun, minimal and distinctly European brand of house.
This release features two remixes of his track G Swing, (the original mix released back in November ’10) which was a typical Siffredian affair – a bouncy, revolving groove coupled with a warm, ancient-sounding horn sample to provide the quirky melody and gypsy jazz vibe.
Payme’s opening House Dub remix does not mess with this formula, almost to its detriment. It does what it promises on the tin – the bass is dubbier, the groove is cleaner and the whole sound more modern, but it doesn’t really distinguish itself from the original. Well-executed, but I would have liked to hear something a bit more creative to warrant its A-side status on a dedicated remix release.
The real treat comes with the second track, the glorious Basement Freaks remix – a perfect example of paying homage to an original mix whilst completely transforming it. It begins with Siffredi’s distinctive horns and off-beat chops but doesn’t waste time before unleashing its prime feature – the enormous, gibbering bassline. The production is deep, wobbly and hard-grooving, while the riff itself has that great simplicity and sparseness of rhythm that audiences are always going to respond to. I for one can’t wait to share this version with a dance floor!
Words: Rob Lamont
Mosaic is the last project from Drum and Bass legend, dBridge, pushing the autonomic sound a step further by making it available to a wider audience as it’s the first various artists release entirely dedicated to this genre.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, the main keys are depth, space, atmospheres and, this release, is a perfect introduction…even if you’re not into Drum and Bass.
It is made of 2 cds (11 tracks each, the vinyl version has 8 tracks) with music from genres pioneers ASC, dBridge and Instra:mental, newcomers in the scene Mode, Skeptical and Stray, and recognised dubstep producers such as Distance, Indigo and Skream who experiment in the 170 bpm field.
If you’re a mix/podcast aficionado, you’ll realize that some of these tracks sound familiar as most of them have been featured on the so called Autonomic shows and also on the excellent Loxy’s CX podcast series.
As each producers have a different vision, the whole spectrum of sounds is represented, from the lush vibes of ‘Time’ or ‘City Section’, the 80′s tainted ones of ‘Invisible Cities’ or ‘Rendezvous’, to the more noir and grimey of ‘Essence Of Time’ or ‘Another World’. Such diverse takes are more a symptom of a burgeoning genre instead of one of those temporary trends Drum and Bass has known in the past.
Even if the release is focusing on the more experimental edge of d’n'b, some of the tracks (Loxy/Resound, System or Code 3 ones) definately work in club context. Those who’ve caught dBridge, Loxy or Doc Scott recently are aware of that !
To sum up, it’s a well recommended purchase for those who likes their dnb well crafted and forward thinking.
Vinyl version :
1. Commix – City Section
2. Skeptical – Another World
3. Skream – Motorway
4. Loxy & Resound – Vertigo
5. Indigo – Time
6. Genotype – Further Searching
7. Code 3 – Chasm
8. Abstract Elements – Essence Of Time
CD version :
1-1. Scuba – In 2
1-2. Stray – Pushed
1-3. Distance – Fading
1-4. dBridge – Forgot What I Needed To Forget
1-5. Synkro – Open Arms
1-6. dBridge – “Rendezvous
1-7. Dan HabarNam – Nu Este Roz
1-8. dBridge – Decayed
1-9. Consequence – Splinter
1-10. ASC – Modular Concepts
1-11. Croms – Invisible Cities
2-1. Commix – City Section
2-2. Indigo – Time
2-3. Mode – Stepping Stones
2-4. Instra:mental – Scene 3
2-5. Skeptical – Another World
2-6. Skream – Motorway
2-7. Genotype – Further Searching
2-8. Code 3 – Chasm
2-9. Abstract Elements – Essence Of Time
2-10. System – Observation Point
Words: Jeremy Girard
It is unlikely nowadays that an album will be released without several amateur dubstep or remixed versions popping up over the internet. The majority are not worth listening to, however occasionally you stumble across something special.
Jamie Smith, of The xx fame, has remixed the whole of Gil Scott-Heron’s critically acclaimed 2010 come-back album, I’m New Here. Smith’s previous releases have seen him build up a name for himself having success with Florence and the Machines – You Got The Love and Adele’s – Rolling In The Deep…
However, a complete album is a new challenge entirely.
Gil is the first voice we hear on the album and he proclaims that “I did not become someone different/ that I did not want to be/ but I’m new here/ will you show me around?” which is the perfect way to essentially bring the old and new together and gives Jamie xx the scope to show us something new and exciting.
In opening track “I’m new here”, Smith introduces a dual dialogue through some haunting female vocals whilst still honouring the excellence of Scott-Heron’s original spoken-word.
However, it is in second track, “Home” that Jamie xx begins to impose his own style on the album with sounds reminiscent of his Mercury Prize winning band. The vocals are worked in perfectly and what is created is a beautiful moody, ambient and slightly threatening atmosphere that weaves its way throughout the CD.
What is clear is that Smith had free reigns over the album and as a result there are elements of dubstep, garage and drum and bass which at times gives the album an incoherent feel. However all loose-ends are tied together with the ever-powerful voice of Gil Scott-Heron. It is his spoken-word interludes that in some ways contribute the most to the album as without them it is just Smith showcasing his varied skills.
That’s not to detract from the album, as I’m sure that dubstep, The xx and Gil Scott-Heron fans will all enjoy this release. Standout track NY Is Killing Me is the first to knowingly reference The xx taking well known guitar samples from their successful 2010 debut and this continues on to the closing track I’ll Take Care Of You. It is moments like these, when Jamie xx seems in his element, that make the album well worth listening to.
What Smith does excellently is to complement the haunting, gruff vocals of Scott-Heron with a wide range of beats drawn from all corners of his previous musical outputs. Whilst at times the continuity is lacking there are sublime stand-out moments which make this well worth a listen.
Words: Rosie Blackwell-Sutton
Julio Bashmore is one of the most exciting house producers at the moment. Bashmore has managed to etch himself a groove in the scene by writing tunes that take strong influence from classic electronica, garage and in some cases even his bass lines make one think back to old skool Drum ‘n’ Bass.
Everyone Needs a Theme Tune is his latest 3-track EP released on PMR Records and encompasses the unique approach he’s taken to writing house music.
The EP kicks off with ‘Battle For Middle You’. This one is for the fans of his previous release on Soul Motive entitled ‘Batak Groove’. His use of a sine wave bassline, similar to early Drum ‘n’ Bass, almost carries the tune into the realms of tribal rhythms. With a classic dance vocal sample, future-garage style synths and sprinkles of 808-goodness, it’s one for fans of modern – but respectful to its roots – house music.
The EP then pushes on to ‘Ask Yourself’, a downtempo vocal house tune that fuses more classic synth action with bassline-driven grooves to create what can only be described as a “lush” house vibe.
The title track of the EP ‘Everyone Needs A Theme Tune’ is simply a fun feel-good house song. You can almost picture it being a soundtrack to some corny 1970′s sleaze-bag actor, with its tongue-in-cheek cheesiness. That’s not to say it’s bad though – not by any means. In all of Bashmore’s productions he manages to create such a danceable vibe, with a distinct level of musicality that isn’t necessarily always original – but most definitely unique to this style of dance music.
Overall this EP is another strong release from Bashmore and sets a firm statement as to what is coming on PMR Records. What’s impressive is that this EP works both on the headphones as it does in a club full of people – if that isn’t a sign of a good EP then I’m not too sure what is…
Words: Guy Andrews
Current Value has been a firm fixture in a lot of DJs record boxes for the past few years. His style is darker than the average tech producer – much darker – and in most cases verges on Breakcore. His latest 12″ release ‘Hitman’ and ‘Target’ gives us more of his signature style – which although is nothing new, is still a brutal pleasure to listen to.
Being Subviolenz’s 6th vinyl release, Current Value adds to the label’s ever growing roster of “techno-dnb” releases. ‘Hitman’ combines pseudo-demonic hardcore style kicks, with snare rolls that will make most tech-influenced ravers go nuts. Like the majority of his releases, the track hits hard and will most certainly tick all the boxes for fans of that style – but there’s a severe lack of variation in the tune making it (dare I say it) slightly repetitive. That’s for a home listener though – drop it in a club and people really won’t care!
‘Target’ is a true tech-stepper. Distorted kicks and sparse snares drives this barrage of militant Drum ‘n’ Bass. It reminds me of earlier tunes by Technical Itch. Unlike Hitman, this side of the 12″ is nicely varied – catching onto the vibe of a classic tech roller. This is dark tech-step to the rawest and will certainly satisfy both old and new skool D’n'B heads alike.
Words: Guy Andrews
Following their debut EP entitled ‘Love Pressure’ that came out last year, Sepalcure’s new EP entitled ‘Fleur’ is now available in all good record shops and digital download platforms. The new yorkers grace us with 4 well produced tracks influenced by the garage, house and dub genres.
The opening title, ‘Fleur’, puts you in a uplifted mood with vocal snippets, warm positive chords/strings and that cute little chime melody. The whole thing coupled with a warm sub bass and a subtly loose but detailed beat is very reminescent of mount kimbie works, or even flying lotus ones in some way.
‘Your Love’ spices things up with it garage-like rythm structure, moody athmosphere and various both male and female voices.
I’m really into the direction the track takes from the breakdown till the end… I could easily see this one as a soundtrack for our coming summer evenings.
The EP then moves us on to a darker affair with ‘No think’; where more dominant drums goes along filtered pad and a hipnotic shifting arpegiated synth. This crossover between techno and dubstep will be in your head for a while.
‘Inside’ closes this EP, a short beatless outro combining breathtaking ambient elements and intriguing echoed vocal cuts, leaving you with a smile on your face and wishing that the trip could have lasted longer.
Definately a not to miss record that suits for both home listening and dancefloor appreciation. Artwork is lovely aswell.
2. Your Love
3. No Think
Words: Jeremy Girard