Audio and comments on new tunes

V/A – Scientist Launches Dubstep Into Outer Space (Reviewed)

Scientist Launches Dubstep Into Outer Space

“This project has taken over a year to put together from its conception late last summer. The final results are worth every minute of effort that’s gone into this – this is definitely my proudest moment for Tectonic to date. The influence of dub swings round full circle!” -Pinch

I know I am not the only one who was drawn to dubstep by spending formative years of my youth listening to reggae albums, especially dub. Honestly, Scientist has always been a personal favorite; no disrespect to King Tubby for being the originator and no disrespect to Mad Professor for embracing new technologies in an old sound however Scientist seemed to always sit perfectly in the middle of the proto, and the present. His “Vampires” and “World Cup” releases having left the biggest impression on me, even still today. Obviously, I’m absolutely enthralled that this release exists and even more having an opportunity to listen to these tracks and relay some early impressions on them back to readers.

Attempting my hardest to stay away from clichéd idioms when writing this review, it is difficult to approach speaking about specific tracks on this release without emphasizing “the sum is greater than the parts.” Honestly, this is something that I hope listeners appreciate start-to-finish as much as selectors and dancers will appreciate hearing singles played in DJ sets, or even more excitingly the upcoming UK tour with Scientist to support the album’s release.

Click here to read my complete review


Dubs Alive 006 with The Spit Brothers, Luthor, Djunya and a free DL

The latest out on the San Francisco imprint Dubs Alive is this diverse 5 track EP with originals from The Spit Brothers and Luthor, and with Bakir, Djunya and 6blocc on remix duties.  The original “No Curfew” is a spooky, basswise tune that’s like a soundtrack to a new Dick Tracy film. Eerie keys create a brooding mood that the ultradeep bassline strongly reinforces. If you’re listening to this on headphones trust you’re missing out on half the song on the low end. Things get hectic in the second half, getting hyper with a 4×4 beat making this a strong transition song between sounds.

Djunya steps up next to tackle a remix of “No Curfew”, adding more swagger to the beat but maintaining the eerie feel of the original with keys and brass. When the main bit drops in this becomes an incredible remix with doubled up kicks and added synths overtop. Guaranteed to light up a dance.

Out of the five songs on the release the only one that doesn’t work is the 6blocc remix where the vibe of the original is entirely lost in an attempt to reproduce Bombaman-esque bass sounds that falls way short. Feels far too cookie cutter.

Luthor brings the next original with his emotive, bass heavy sound. Complex beats and a nice atmosphere built by Luthor make this one a quality late night or Sunday morning tune, matching elements of the jazzy sound found in many Dubs Alive releases.  On the remix of this one Bakir comes with a funky/soca styled beat under the keys and vocals of the original. The original mix is pretty mellow, this one is purely hyper. Intensity.

Along with these, Dubs Alive have put out another tune for free download, this one called “Done Gone There.” Download this one using the player below, then check the full DAV006 release using the second player.

The Spit Brothers – Done Gone There (Dubsworth ft. Bakir)(FREE DOWNLOAD) by Dubs Alive Records

Dubs Alive 006 by Dubs Alive Records

Pick this one up now @ Juno or other music retailers:


Dubblestandart – Chrome Optimism (free DL, show tonight!)

Dubblestandart, Subatomic Sound and a gang of remix artists team up on “Chrome Optimism” with legends David Lynch and Lee Scratch Perry (both pictured smoking various dried leaves to the right).  The original Dubblestandart mix is robotic roots reggae with somewhat random interjections from Lynch overtop. The remix action is where this gets serious, with very strong work from Kush Arora, Antiserum & Bakir, Subatomic Sound and more. Check below for a nice video of the Subatomic Sound remix exploring the desert overtop the beat, fits quite well.

The Subatomic Sound and original radio mix are available for free download via the player below thanks to Emch & Subatomic Sound. If you’re in the Bay Area, both Dubblestandard and Subatomic Sound are headlining the weekly Dub Mission down at Elbo Room, so get yourself down there.

Dubblestandart meets David Lynch & Lee Scratch Perry “Chrome Optimism” remixes – out now! by SubatomicSound


Review: Tunnidge 7Breaths/Fear (CHST010)

Distance’s Chestplate label has never let me down. the label is clearly an extension of the crunchy bass sounds he made his own on his myriad releases; always gritty but always extremely mindful of the heavyweight sub-bass tones that are essential to any classical dubstep tune.

The tenth release from Chestplate taps the production talents of London-based Tunnidge, for two extremely heavy cuts. Both tunes are heavily cinematic with long builds and employ the use of deep bass with the color of the distorted basslines that have established Distance and the Chestplate’s legacy in the modern bass music movement.

Fear is the highlight of this release for me, with it’s long build, cinematic vocals, and floorboard rumbling subtones that have me eager to hear it out on larger soundsystems. An essential pickup as the weather begins to turn cold and melodic percussion makes it’s way out of the dance to make room for the cold, heavy tunes. This is the first Chestplate release without an original from Distance, and Tunnidge served the label and all listeners well with this release.

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Review: Jack Sparrow – Circadian (TECCD009)

Yesterday, the much awaited full length release  from Leeds based producer Jack Sparrow, on the always high-quality Tectonic label. As true with most Tectonic releases, On ‘Circadian,’ Sparrow delivers a sharp and deep full length, with one foot heavily planted in classic dubstep vibes, and sound-design that is a clear nod to influences from techno and minimal production elements.

The release starts off with ‘Loveless,’ a smooth tune that is a clear indication from the beginning that ‘Circadian’ intends to be much more than a run-off-the-mill dubstep full length release, with an aesthetic that reminds me of early Ramadanman releases such as ‘The Woon.’ Continuing, the release features a VIP remix of his previous release ‘The Chase’ and an exciting and deep collaboration with Ruckspin, the tempo speeds up and the mood approaches autonomic as you hear the syncopated rhythms of tracks like ‘Relapse’

Many many highlights on this exciting and well deserved full length release from Sparrow on Pinch’s Tectonic label, a full length that is equally well served on the headphones as it is in the club. Although releases from Jack Sparrow do seem few-and-far-between at times the sheer volume of keepers on this release and growth in the depth of sound has made this release worth the wait.

Circadian is available for purchase as of this week, and Fact Magazine is currently running a week long free preview of the release via Soundcloud for those looking to stream the tunes in their entirety.

Be sure to check out this remix of good friends’ of mine Subreachers that Jack Sparrow and they recently posted online, deep vibes from both of them each and every.
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Preview: SBTRKT – Step In Shadows (Young Turks)

The latest from the Young Turks camp comes from SBTRKT, on the heels of his recent release Soundboy Shift / Rundown release on the same label. Shuffly kicks drive this one with a bell or chime that’s reminiscent of the organic sounds of Konono No. 1 overtop. Melodic strings take over during the breakdown that then yield to the beat in the second half. This tune’s uplifting for both your soul and your feet. Quality production as usual from the man in an African mask.

Step in Shadows by Young Turks


Darkstar – Gold (Video)

The single Gold taken off Darkstar’s “North” album due out this October has been received favorably all over the place including NPR. This is a bit of a departure soundwise for the Hyperdub label but retains the high quality of all its releases.  The video, directed by Evan Boehm, is extraordinarily well done and fits the song exquisitely.  Images inside include brain MRI scans, 3D models of Darkstar, and abstract deconstructions of their heads. Really though you just need to watch it:

For those wanting a bit more details about the video itself, get some behind the scenes info from the director.


Review: KiloWatts – The Right Words EP (KW013)

Sometimes you get broadsided by surprise when listening to new music, and this was definitely the case with the latest EP from KiloWatts out of Philadelphia (Soundcloud, Facebook). The five-track release spans genres with ease and tightrope walks between complexity and danceability to great effect.  BPM, style, beat structure and nearly every other aspect of music vary throughout, the constant is extremely high quality production and an appreciation for melody rarely found in dance music. Personal highlights are first and foremost the 7 minute long voyage in sound “Evolving Revolving Door“, the stuttery, blissful opener “Deliriously” that reminds me of a higher quality Royksopp, and the driving “Black Ink“. This one’s self-released via bandcamp, check the player below for samples and a link to pick this up. Highest recommendation.


DJG – Voids One and Two (free DL)

Dean DJG has decided to follow up his pair of excellent recent releases with two EPs of free material entitled Voids One and Voids Two. Voids One is built for the raving crew and club DJs, expect standard massive DJG bass, quality percussion, sounds to make you move your body.  Voids Two is for the more introspective out there, deeper sounds built to be a bit more emotional and closer to the heart of DJG. A brief summary of these tunes:

These are songs that I’ve never really been able to let go of, nearly all of them I pulled from scheduled releases or turned away offers from labels for various reasons. They are songs that I really believe in and feel connected to. Some were written as far back as 2007 and as recently as a month ago and they’ve been supported by an endless list of big name djs and requested by friends and listeners for release.

The full EPs will be available Wednesday the 15th over at DJG’s site.

Until then, grab Lichen here. This one’s a personal favorite.

DJG – Lichen

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Review: Scuba – Three Sided Shape / Latch Rmx (TRI002)

Scuba expounds on this years ‘Triangulation’ release with a forthcoming 12″ on his own HotFlush label.

Side A of the release is ‘Three Sided Shape,’ originally released as the third track of ‘Triangulation.’ A deeply melodic tune featuring a slowly sweeping atmosphere over filtered drums before dropping into hefty and ringed-out kick that marks what is easily one of my favorite drops of the year. Marked with dense vocal layers and panning rhythmic effects. As to be expected by anything coming from Scuba’s studio, ‘Three Sided Shape’ pays strict attention to detail creating a tune that is deep both for the soundsystem and the psyché alike.

The flip side of the release sees a remix of ‘Latch’, the preceding tune to ‘Three Sided Shape’ on the ‘Triangulation’ release. Scuba has tapped the efforts of Aus Music label head Will Saul, and house/techno producer Mike Monday who describes his sound as ‘a bit like Prince getting drunk with Mr Scruff in Royksopps house.’ While devoid of Prince’s trademark blistering guitar speed, Saul and Monday combine to give ‘Latch’ a fresh rework, preserving the smooth pads that marked the selection’s ambience while reworking the percussion and arrangement to give the tune an upbeat house vibe one expects from the Aus Music family of releases. A completely new aesthetic is given to the track, while still feeling distant at times like the original, the strong emphasis on booming house percussion here keep the track high-energy throughout the entire track.

Markedly less minimal than what most critics give credit for, this release re-emphasizes the producer’s current explorations of melody in modern bass music under his the ‘Scuba’ moniker. This release is slated for release both vinyl and digital on Sept 27.