J Rose: Discover this producer!

J Rose

You don’t see too many ladies repping this heavyweight in the production department so I thought she warranted a post of her own. Definitely got a very unique, cold, meticulous, heads-down, huge bass weight vibe of her own. Barely a duff track on her Soundcloud….Killing it!

The other stand out track on Under Surveillance Vol 1 is definitely her “5 AM” – all demonic sighing, burbles and bass wobble; almost as good as her horror dub “Hidden Walls” from back in March, again on USV Recordings, with the unforgettable “What did your Mother do to you?!?” sample.

Rabit: Straps

Rabit_-_Baptizm_-_Tri_Angle

A surprisingly straight structured (for Rabit) and somewhat elusive 4th track on the mixed bag Baptizm EP on Tri Angle. Stripped bare to the essentials once again, but a spatially vast, jack hammering, soundsystem tool to crush the dancefloor with. (Shades of Centuria’s ’96 leveller ‘Kelotrene’ perhaps?) Hints of distortion surface through the wall of bass, enough to give it grit and edge but not resort to Gabber solutions. And the short lived sonar bleeps are so good they’re almost criminal. One of my favourites of the last few months. Deceptively simple but so finely crafted.

DMVU: Tough (dub)

DMVU_-_10_Gram_Zoot_-_Abyssal_Audio

My previous moan about MCs segues nicely into my further irritation over the “deep dubstep” cliches and fetishisation of spliff aesthetics and general Rasta nonsense (“Jah Man Rastafari!” and any variant thereof). It’s a worn out sonic trope as played out as a Camden Market Bob Marley t-shirt (and yes, one that I myself, unfortunately, dabbled with liberally in the past). So what is the continuing appeal of allegiance to the the Rasta tricolore and so-called “roots”? Discuss in less than 3,000 words using academic referencing, but certainly not here….

Needless to say the cover provokes a deep groan, but this new producer from Denver squeezes more sub out of his bass than I’ve heard in a long time. On proper headphones (not iPhone buds) this batters the eardrums, so I can only imagine what this sounds like over a fat rig. Probably floor quaking and lank heavy? This second cut off the EP is finely sculpted stuff too; all staggering, lurching groove, ambient texture, indeterminate skittish wooden/metallic percussion and pitching, tape echoed soundbwoy (yes…) babbling. Worthy of the track title for sure.

J Kenzo: Straight Defeat (instrumental mix)

J_Kenzo_-_Straight_Defeat_(remixes)_-_Artikal_Music_UK

I just don’t have time anymore for ANY tracks feat bloody MCs, “spitting” or chatting their shit about “murking” their rivals/”bwoys” better-not-testing/running tings/smoking marijuana blah blah blah. Over it. I find it utterly tedious, lumpen and steeped in testosterone cliches. For sure there’s a time and place for it in the live context (pirate radio sessions and for working certain crowds) but laying it down in the studio for repeat listening….no thanks. I just don’t get why producers feel they have to succumb to the temptation or trend? It never improves the beats. It’s invariably just Rent-a-Ragga nonsense. I haven’t heard a convincing or vital MC track for years (decades possibly, not since Prizna’s “Fire” feat Demolition Man!) which is why I always go straight for the instrumentals.

Case in point, this is a fine slice of slow burning, creeping dread Trap, replete with enough late night urban paranoia to forgo any generic MC shite spoiling the vibe. It builds precisely and scientifically and then the bleep riff rachets it up into a truly hypnotic, head banging, masked-up curb crawl, locking you in for the ride.

Gramrcy: Ruffian

Ruffian

This came out in the summer on Ancient Monarchy. Absolutely no info on the artist and no leads on discogs either? Whoah! A proper howling, dank, cavernous, 131bpm slice of breakbeat ruffage dripping with funky old skool vibes, from the bowling bass to the scratchy hiss of bit reduced samples. The pitched down gunshots seal the deal. Nothing new, but a total dancefloor vibe controller to stick in the bag and drop at peak hour with the strobes going and everyone with their gurn on.

Bloom: Hydraulics EP (Crazylegs)

Cold Grip

Difficult to decide who to discuss here. I could equally have chosen, but would also file in a similair vein, the Deke Soto ‘Black Ice’ track & Rabit’s ‘Thug Rotorvator’ off the San Pellegrino compilation Raw Club Material Vol.3, but Bloom wins the day for sheer looney mechanoid construction and polished chrome sound.

This is proper headphone listening as well as soundsystem intent; the layering and spectrum ranging from super tight, straight down the middle kicks and bass hits, to reverbed sweeps and panning that stretch far into the distance on tight elastic recoil to bounce straight back in your face. ‘Dark Light’ is probably the finest example on the EP and not without its own slow building groove buried within; it still retains enough to not descend into total funkless abstraction. The old dynamics of tension and release get dissected to shards and small statements pasted together with volumes of silence, echoes and pauses, almost as if Bloom has simply muted or discarded his drum tracks.

(Note: I would say Aphasic (Ambush Records) was possibly attempting a not disimilair, disjointed, deconstructive approach with his “moving in several directions at once” production ethos??).

Rabit: Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider

Off the Double Dragon EP on the aptly named Glacial Sound label. If you start exploring the Pinch/Mumdance/Logos Bass spectrum it won’t be long before you run into this Houston producer. A tremeloed chip/c64 intro takes a massive free-fall on the drop into nothing more than relentless floor shuddering bass and the barest suggestion of a snare/blip, the only further movement directed by skittering, bubbling percussion and a pitched down Mover-esque “Yeeeah”. Maximum standstill out on the dancefloor as brains try to compute their own imaginary beats where none are given.

It’s an astoundingly bold statement in stripped-to-the-bone mechanics.

(As a postscript, I’m a touch dubious about his The Great Game: Freedom From Mental Poisoning mix. I get the sentiment but any talk (or sonic claim) of ‘purification’ and ‘violent repentance’ is nothing more than hackneyed old bunk to me and rarely “devastating”. Could just be the journo over-milking the pudding though? Then when I saw the name NON I was confused (but it would equally have tallied with the language) Eh? Boyd Rice back from the dead peddling his schtick again? But no, not that NON but “a collective of African artists”, one hailing from Cape Town no less? Read on.)

Untold: Strange Dreams

Strange Dreams

When I started checking Mumdance (his FACT mix 417 in particular) and Logos mixes on Rinse around the end of 2013 this tune off the Black Light Spiral album seemed to be a staple in their bags and something of a weird cross-over beast. It seemed so damn unusual and just plain FRESH to hear guys from an Eski/Grime background rinsing such full on distorted frequencies and washes of wailing voices. I don’t know much about Untold; he gets classified as Techno in the main (not that I would know? or care particularly?) but it almost reminded me of the first Lo Recordings EP back in 1995 – Slack Dog: New York Dawg? Scuzzed out, free-running, bubbling bass. Whereas I remember that tune (and many others of its ilk) letting the warm analogue fuzz smear out the audio spectrum, this seems to make maximum use of shredding, cystalline, razor-sharp digital distortion while letting the sub rumble away clean(ish) beneath. Bass science right there. We have the technology these days after all. Oh, and apparently this tune always makes the resident soundman in the club run for the desk thinking the speakers have gone!