Acting Damage: Possessor (Punishment remix)

Very occasionally “Dirty” Dubstep (or is it still “Brostep” I wouldn’t know? or care) throws a curve ball and delivers something have decent, whether by accident or choice is another discussion altogether. Unlike its cousins (“Dungeon”, “Deep”, “Wobble”, whatever) this particular field of production suffers more “problems” than any other – one of which is it shares much with the Hip-Hop world: either the tracks SUCK! – and I mean criminally, or they bang! There’s rarely any grey area, getting away with it, or in-between redemption or interest. Ultra (adolescent) masculine, testosterone laced and more often than not bordering on the clownish, in the producers attempts to “out-goon” each other in the ludicrous bass/midline/pseudo-boombastic wankery, it often seems about as appealing as a sweaty rugby club changing room and dodgy, post match drinking games.

This one’s an industrial banger though. Reined in and stripped back, with quality cybernetic, metallic hammering, drilling beats, cock backs etc and a big underpinning sublow pressure.

John Matrix: Telekinetic / Lambs to the Slaughter / Depth Gauge


Speaking of shattering and bleak. Just been checking John Matrix’s catalogue and feeling a lot of his tunes. If you’ve had enough of all the reggae/rasta shenanigans clogging up the bassbins this will definitely blow away the cobwebs and bring back your headbanger’s neck ache.

This is very tightly wound, aggressive, amphetamine fuelled, grinding teeth business. On the 140bpm mark but with thuggish trap vibes and hints of gnarly d’n’b filtering. Sounding like a wine snob here…Cha! If that’s beginning to sound too much like Brostep, fear not, it’s on another level. (Inadvertent nods perhaps, especially on ‘Yactus’, to the criminally sidelined Search & Destroy/Toasty breakstep crew circa 2004?). ‘Telekinetic’ is the smasher here for me.

‘Lambs to the Slaughter’ dropped on Copenhagen based dubstep label Cue Line Records last September. It reminded me a little of Dylan‘s in your face Freak/Outbreak output when he was cranking them out at a rate and stirring up trouble in d&b circles (a decade ago now, can you believe!?). I could do without the recurring voice/movie sample snippets to be honest and my own opinion is that all his tunes would be colder and heavier for their omission but hey, whatever. His choice. Tunes is tunes, not economic crisis. Where ‘LttS’ succeeds is in creating a far more frenetic momentum than its 140bpm pulse would normally dictate. Locking into pile driving 4/4 sections it thrashes around the room like a bunch of aggressive straight edge kids at a Black Flag gig, almost hinting at brittle, run-it-red breakcore dynamics in places. Definitely for the squat rave DJs.

My personal favourite though is one of his older tunes ‘Depth Gauge’ off the Head Off EP (again on Cue Line). Once you get past the trite Hip-hop MC/poet schooling, it drops into a sparse, clanking, cavernous, A.I. driven slice of heavy industry manufacturing, thick oiled pistons and synched, hissing stampers beating and shaping the form down the length of the line. No deviation or human interference in the process (except that f**king idiot MC sample ruining it).

J Kenzo: Straight Defeat (instrumental mix)


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.