Sam KDC: Auxiliary/Horo label

Been getting deep into this all this Grey Area business lately.

Plenty to explore if you haven’t already. And note the new rules of the game; a lot of it in 3/4 time signature, all phasing polyrhythms, long slow release pressure builds, some of it keyed in precisely to 127.51bpm (don’t ask me why?), most at 85/170bpm.

Sadly for me, most of my music listening these days is done in my single cab pick-up on long boring commutes, but having a new monster sub-woofer put in recently (under my seat, the only space for it) has totally transformed the experience. It’s now a monstrous, enclosed bass chamber! and all this Grey Area stuff seems made for it. Actually turns my drives into a full on psychedelic trips, where I float at high speed on this magic carpet of sub bass while the tracks undulate and progress like the contours and camber of the motorway. Probably more dangerous than drink driving heh, but it’s even better driving home at night.

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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.

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?

Monsters of Doomcore

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One of those accidental finds where I was simply attracted by the name of the label; ‘Monsters of Doomcore’ (yeeeah!) and had to investigate…

Although when I looked up TPROE on Discogs and saw that he’s already supposedly released 25 albums(!?!) in the last 16 years I had to laugh. It’s surely impossible, for multiple reasons, to take any artist who makes that claim seriously (unless they’re maybe The Fall or the Melvins…and even then…ya get me?) That discussion aside (and unfairly perhaps? having little or no interest in exploring his back-catalogue as a result) there are definitely a couple of stand out warehouse-sized crowd smashers here.

I don’t really want to know or speculate what “Densely Packed Hitlers” is about? (especially with the label press-release touting over-population and that a “great culling is coming”…) however, the production does have expertly crafted, massive, crushing low end, clearly built to level huge space arenas in a cold rush vibe.

Wevaman: Death Dealer Subfiltronik: Vortex

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Hench tunes always make me feel tired and old (and I mean that in a good way). I find it strangely reassuring that there are young men out there wasting their youth on this thoroughly unpleasant, bleak sonic battering ramage. It takes a certain mettle of character to stay unwavering on this particular path and there’s scant reward at the end of the day, let’s face it. Certainly in technicality it’s far superior to the idolised non-entities of “craft” (the Jeff Mills, the Hawtins, and any other cretin variation thereof). So I find and hear hope in it.

‘Death Dealer’ is ultra tech, crisp, choppy stop-start, gnarled wobble business. Functional to the point of pitiless and everything tight and right in the mix. ‘Vortex’ is little more than an angry, mechanistic loop running on and on, filtering nastier as the track progresses. Again expert tech construction. There’s some respite in a sticky, false Trance nirvana halfway before it boshes back into the machine hell.

Dead Noise System: Bulkhead EP

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A superb new EP of pitiless, dystopian bleakness from the blasted, no-man’s land specialists DNS.

Far from evoking an underwater glide as the titles suggests (it just sounds too jagged, too ploughed up and ruptured to evoke the cold liquidity of the atlantic trench? A grim hunt, sure, but) ‘Radar’ feels rooted in a cold and lifeless landscape: Sea or land metaphors aside, this is probably their finest black ops, deep insertion yet. A rusty metallic beat clanks hard through the sinister creep of mustard gas FX and drone, while the bass saws and belches are so smeared out by reverb they merely fizzle limply above the wasteland like desperate flares put up in panic by wired sentries – highly unnerving and original.

There are possibly some comparisons to the likes of ARtroniks et al. to be made here. There’s a definite sub-cadre (away from from the big name dubstep ‘dons’ and labels) expertly crafting away in grim defiance who mercifully don’t seem to give a shit about producing according to the whims of the times, who don’t want their sound to be decorative, but true. There’s no false musical consciousness, just a kind of stoical grunt work that hits harder – DNS are dug in deep to their territory in this respect. Just don’t try a frontal assault on their position!

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Boylan: Ghosts in the Machine

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Footwork/Juke producer and former DJ Rashad collaborator comes correct with this monster Grime/Bass banger.

I heard  ‘Ghosts in the Machine’  on a recent Mumdance/Rinse FM show and while it’s a totally polished, bolt-action DJ tool (with an almost vintage Slimzee/Youngstar/P-Jam bounce) to rinse out at peak slot witching hour,  ‘Where do you go at Night?’  is the heavyweight capo di tutti capi. A superb rumbling avalanche of doom bass, all paranoid reverse loops and cavernous claps, taking it into a different arena altogether. Guaranteed to be a huge tune over sound systems.

Big ups too for keeping business faultlessly short and sweet. No padding or bull.