RDG: Tiger Style EP (Circle Vision)

“Moving in several directions at once”, as an old mate used to say.

The bass pulse on ‘Tiger Style‘ overtakes the step of the beat and the oscillating top wobbles and delicious spring reverbs on the claps blend it all into a bonkers tortoise and hare race to the finish. Totally hypnotic and unintelligibly tech, like taking the back off some electronic device and looking at a jumble of coloured wiring and solder – and then realising you know fuck all about technology!

Sky Pulse‘ explores similair territory but in a more airy and ethereal vein, nudging into suspect retro synth era flourishes.

ARtroniks: Run Dem


Something I used to love about old school hardcore was the use of heaven/hell, light/dark, silly/nasty juxtaposition. It always worked on a crowd under the influence. The cloying, nagging, diva sample, wailing some banality that in a fevered state might have seemed profound, the cheap piano vamp putting hands in the air – and then the drop straight into some hellish triple reversed filtered mentasm/dominator/hoover whatever. Who knows how many brain cells were lost to this nirvana?

“Mischieved” (no full clip out there?) took me straight back to that era; a repetitive, looped, falsetto female voice trills away in the upper reaches before a truly ugly and lumpen, prolo jackboot bass crushes it with its heel and locks into a juddering metronomic groove. Expert heaven and hell dynamics.

“Run Dem” is equally fine but with a slightly more generic beat (the snare cracks exactly where it should, a Ragga sample says “Run Dem!” before the drop…you get the drift) and to be be honest there’s hardly enough difference in the original and the Mershak remix; a bit gnarlier maybe but kind of a pointless exercise.

Ipman: Depatterning


In contrast to Rabit’s fart-in-the-wind of an album this just seems to get better on repeat listening and feels like a well researched, deeply knowledgeable journey through past and current genres.

I have to call him out though. His biggest, most shameful faux-pas is kicking off the whole thing with an utterly by-the-book old-school breakbeat ragga re-fit(shit). Absolute derivative nonsense. By this stage I think we all have to agree there’s nothing more to say or update on the matter. My advice: avoid, delete or fast forward. It’s a better listen without.

Skirting the edges of Deep House, Techno, and Bass the rest of the material proves a masterfully tech exploration of route finding. There’s no pointless probing or faffing around on the arrangements. They choose their line and go for it, taking in their influences without fuss and with almost casual confidence.

“Gravity” is a long slow builder; a subby, banger that kills it on the breakdown with a re-polished, wobbly, reese and vintage doomcore claps. “U” is most definitely the other stand out track. Sticking to his formula of slow development and filtering in the reese damage, it’s a fine, thick, dense stew of balanced flavours.

In the end the sense is you don’t really know what you are listening to? or what genre? The micro-referencing in the patterns and shuffle, the nods to various tropes: something’s been updated but you’re never ultimately sure what?

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


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)


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.

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.)