Pugilist: Raindance EP

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Pugilist smashes it again on Kenzo’s Artikal. He’s going to be one to watch if he keeps this up. ‘Raindance’ drops dessicated, concrete block beats and such hugely compressed bass weight you feel like you’re levitating a few inches off the floor on a magic carpet of low frequencies. No idea how the kid does it? but it’s special!
‘Murmur’ is the other standout for me, with a quirky stagger and lolloping swing to the groove; more slimey, rolling, more organic and wastelandish.

King Ayisoba: Africa Needs Africa

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New meets traditional, “uproots” music from Ghana. I dip my toe into African music now and then, but it’s often hard to know where to begin (or end…), but feeling this one big time. “We wanted the drums leading and upfront all the time, not as exotic additions“. Good call, and that’s what gives it its drive. Big bass and totally infectious harsh-edged vocals that would tear up any foward thinking party no matter what genre the set.

Pugilist: Astral Plane

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This is more like it. If you’re going to slavishly emulate and/or reference an all out Dub aesthetic you may as well come correct and get heavy with the business, rather than faff around with all this tasteful, fussy, calibration and twee restraint. Here we have the convincing, unforgiving smack, thud and pummel of a running-it-red, booming rig at peak witching hour, absolutely wiping the floor with the tepid likes of aforementioned Karma and other lightweight wannabes. I mean it’s not hard to do, if you set your dial to it, so better cut it professional with thick and oily ganja fug, and not fuck around, knowhaddmean?

To be honest I think this is a raw nerve within the Dubstep ‘community’. This blog has more tumbleweeds rolling through it than an abandoned desert western film set most of the time, ya get me? so when I posted some knocked off, rambling thoughts about Digidub v Dubstep last year, I was more than a little surprised to have more reads/visitors in a few hours/days than I get in a couple of months!? Go figure. I should re-write that piece properly and flesh out my argument coherently (if and when I can be bothered) because I was clearly on to something?

Umwelt: Density

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A faultless 4 tracker of gritty, sweeping, panoramic, industrial electro that somehow manages to successfully combine ultra warm, low end fuzz with frigid, Carpenteresque, dystopian rave shiver – like sweating and tripping hard on a warehouse dance floor in your bomber jacket, watching your own breath exhale, not sure if your fingers are going numb or if it’s the drugs? ‘Density 3’ is my personal fave – a claustrophobically hard-jacking acidic dirge with cold siren calls of toxic melody that strafe the metronomic beatbox pulse and glide. Dance into oblivion my friends! (His ‘Days of Dissent’ LP from last year is also definitely worth checking too).

dBridge: Digital Dread/Fashion Dread

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First release on Youngsta’s “new” Sentry label. Although why he should decide to enter the label fray now with such a bland offering is anyone’s guess? When you’re talking about Youngsta (DJ sets or co-productions etc.) it doesn’t really matter who the artist is really. Whether it’s dBridge, or whoever, is kind of beside the point; it all has to sound, with barely any deviation over the years, the same old = plod. Carrying on my train of thought from Karma’s release, this is surely a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes; dry and by-the-book generics; all psuedo-academic chill and irritatingly prim and precise, with a final squirt of mandatory rasta foolishness/sauce to mask the denuded taste. No tweaking or risk taking of anything whatsoever (over a decade now and counting!?!) Unbelievable that he’s actually lauded for this, as a kind of ‘focused’, no-sell-out, aesthete. Their scene, their little duck pond, not mine, thanks be.

Karma: Cha/Vacant Mind

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I won’t even go into ‘Terrorist’… but the other two slices are bong session, doomy, dub chamber hoodoo, shaved down to the barest plod-stepper framework (all pitched down, clanking, temple gong snares and hissing reverb schtick). Firmly stuck-in-a-rut generics without a single element daring to be different or out of place, which bizarrely seems to get the youth frothing ‘n’ fighting over copies??
‘Vacant Mind’ says it all really, drifting on the edges of consciousness, teasing images from the carefully calibrated layers and detailed construction but never letting anything off the lead. Expertly and obsessively (and pointlessly) crafted for sure, but so self-consciously ‘dubwise’ and tastefully minimal you just want to kick it, hard.