Posts Tagged ‘review’

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


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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Review: Kidkut – ILove04/Lilt (PIPS013)

In the brief period of time following the dissolution of Skull Disco, I was curious to see how Appleblim would follow suit. After combining with Shackleton to establish label that undoubtably bridged the gap between dubstep and it’s minimal / techno influences it seemed impossible that the work was done after a mere fifteen or so releases. Fortunately for bass music fans everywhere, Apple Pips emerged. Similar to the expectations set by Appleblim’s previous label, the emphasis here is in blending sounds from dubstep’s myriad influences to create a new sound greater than the sum of it’s parts. With a clear focus on house and classic garage sounds, Appleblim has curated selections from numerous formidable label heads such as Ramadanman, Brackles, and Instra:Mental. This latest release is no break from the high standards already set with a release from Immerse Recordings label chief anf fellow Bristol native Adam Jackson, aka ‘Kidkut.’

‘ILove04′ starts the release with a hard soul-infused rhythm that channels Melvin Bliss more than it does any current drum programming technique, and short vocal cuts sharply carry the vibe along to a heavy wobbly-bass. It is unfortunate to use that word to describe the feeling achieved by Kidkut; it is safe to assume between the obvious ear for quality of Immerse and Applepips alike, it is safe to assume this is no obnoxious onslaught of bro-bass, but instead a rich dynamic technique set to excite ears and bassbins alike. While more jarring than the so called ‘micro’ or ‘tech’ house releases, but not nearly as abrasive as the ‘jacking’ or electro’ house, Jackson touches on a vibe that happily sits somewhere in the middle, in no doubt thanks to creative use of the anthemic sounds of the classic Pacific State by 808 State. Enough energy to keep the young ones moving on the floor, and just enough nostalgia to keep the attention span of the chin-stroking club music historians as well.

‘Lilt’ carries the flip side of this release with a very summertime dance tune, replete with pitched percussion, latin whistles, cuica, and 808 cowbells (always a personal favorite,) amidst a driving bassline completely unlike the one displayed from ‘ILove04.’ With a long break and build for a relatively short track, ‘Lilt’ is guaranteed to be one of the go-to selections in your bag to quickly drop-down and reenergize the dancefloor no matter where it’s placed in the set. An absolute ‘diamond in the rough’ track that should come to no surprise to anybody who has been following Appleblim’s ear, or has had the privilege of hearing him select a dj set.

Great stuff once again from the Applepips and Immerse camps on this one, this release has been available since early August so be sure to go bag your copy whether it be physical or digital.

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Review: Falty DL – Phreqaflex (ZIQ277)

Large new rhythms again from NYC-based producer Falty DL on the long-time trendsetting label Planet Mu. This release comes as a three track 12″ and digital released a few weeks ago. I have been following Drew Lustman’s work under the ‘Falty DL’ since discovering his Bravery EP last year, and being enamored by unique sounds atypical of most stateside based producers. It is quite logical that a majority of his releases have found a home on the renowned Planet Mu label, seemingly always one step ahead of the curve in underground electronic music.

The title track ‘Phreqaflex’ opens the release with an unrelenting garage drum pattern underneath smooth keys and two distinct yet similar bass rhythms in a style that is undoubtably a head-nod to unmistakable shuffle of Horsepower Productions. Lustman makes the production clearly his own through the use of melodic off-kilter rhodes and rave-pianoesque stabs throughout the tune, providing a more light-hearted feel than the sheer darkness typical of much of Horsepower’s catalog. Continuing the first side is the even more soulful “My Friends Will Always Say” expounding on the mood set forth by the first track, adding a smooth sexy dancefloor vibe on top of the shuffled beat and pulsating claps that would undoubtedly fill any floor that has any semblance of a pulse. The release closes with the b-side’s single track “Because You.” a keyboard driven garage tune with spaced out vocals and heavy employment of reverb to provide a warm soundstage to juxtapose the unmistakably sharp cold drum patterns that are the hallmark of the UK Garage sound.

Phreqaflex as a release is no disappointment, continuing high expectations set from Lustman’s previous releases. Clearly Falty DL’s  sound has grown and “found it’s niche” so to speak. Drawing heavily on the influences of the darker sounds of UK Garage, Falty DL continues to provide us with refreshing modern interpretations on the Garage sounds that served as the building blocks for much  of today’s “bass music” movement. The tracks here are quick, and to the point which seems consistent with the clear coherence of Lustman’s recent productions.

A must-bag for any fan of the El-B, and Horsepower Productions, Phreqaflex is available in all fine shops as a 12″and digital release.

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Review: George FitzGerald – The Let Down (HFT012)

It has been a busy month for the HotFlush camp, with the recent release of Review: Sepalcure – Love Pressure EP (HF025), a new release on the ABUCS sub-label featuring a Ramadanman refix of Scuba’s Tense, as well as a new release on the HotFlush Two imprint from George FitzGerald. As much as I love the deeper, half-step sounds of modern bass-music, I am grateful for the refreshing summer swing of dance oriented releases such as this.

This release finds a great home on HotFlush Two, after some recent releases from the genre-bending Sigha, the imprint returns to a sound more exemplifying the aesthetics of Joy Orbison with this release. The A-Side of the release “The Let Down” fortunately does not live up to its name, with an intro of soulful synth stabs and layered vocals before the tune drops into a soulful and uplifting groove.

“Weakness,” the flip-side of the release builds intro with a slow filter release that builds tension before smoothly flowing into a deep groove accented by rhythmic percussion sounds with a smooth rolling bass behind it. Again, not an aptly named tune as the pressure from the sub-tones in this track make it anything but weak. The strong build continues through the second drop where the tune really comes alive with myriad vocal bends on top of staccato grooves of synth.

Summertime is here, and the latest string of releases from the Hot Flush camp have made sure that the dancefloor stays as hot as the weather has been with this release from up-and-coming producer George FitzGerald. These tracks are slated for release next week on June 28th. Anybody looking for more uplifting vibes on the floor should make it a point to bag these as soon as they are available.

George FitzGerald – The Let Down / Weakness [HFT012] by Hotflush


Review: Subreachers – Octave EP (HAR113)

Another exciting release from Haunted Audio Recordings today in the form of a four track EP from Belgian duo Subreachers. The title track of “Octave” starts off the release with a bubbling intro before dropping into a dark stepping rhythm on top of a deep drone accepted by a flanging background over myriad IDM style effects providing a unique texture to the track’s dark backdrop. The release’s second track “Upside” is my personal favorite of the release, a low frequency rattler with tightly syncopated percussion on top of long reverbs tails give this tune a very deep and introspective vibe. The second drop matches the bass of the first half of the track with a noticeable increase in resonance providing an almost tornado-like feel on any system with adequate bass response. ”Watched You” continues the introspective vibe of release with a subtlely, yet distinctly basstones across a sharp drum line interspersed with an occasional female vocal snippet. The release rounds off with “Wild Rose,” a slightly different track than the previous three tracks of the release; focusing heavily on the interplay of different percussion sounds as opposed to the cerebral bassline aesthetics of the releases previous tracks.

I have yet to be disappointed by any Haunted Audio Recordings release I have encountered up until this point and this latest effort from long time label contributors Subreachers definitely is keeping the streak alive. I am pleased to say I have a forthcoming review of another Haunted Audio Recordings release in the next few days planned so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for that here on Until then however, be sure to check the clips at Juno Download or your other favorite digital store of choice and pick up this new release!


Ben Verse – Flip The Coin / Inhale (WHEELYDEALY005)

Up next on the review chopping-block is the latest from N-Type’s Wheel & Deal imprint in the form of the “Flip The Coin” / “Inhale” 12″ from Ben Verse, well known for his role as MC from the Pendulum crew. Coming as no surprise to anybody who has been following Pendulum for any period of time, you know these tunes are going to be bottom heavy, with a no-excuses dancefloor mindset.

The release opens up with the A-Side “Flip the Coin,” with a hauntingly sparse intro, that guides its way into a texture rich bass vibe. The tune breaks down with shrill airy atmospheres providing a unique balance to a powerfully simple and effective drum track. Subtle tails coming on the bassline before the drop in this one that carry the tune effectively as it reaches it’s build.

“Inhale” is a different journey; an intro of melodica mixed with the sound of infrequent inhalations guide the tune before being met with a tribal, dub guitar vibe. No big drops as the tune falls into it’s main theme with grace as opposed to brute force, that undeniably reinforces the depth of the track. “Inhale” contains a much busier and distinct percussion track when compared to it’s counterpart on this release, which in my opinion helps set the track apart quite a bit. The interplay between the dub elements of the guitar and vocal cuts on this track with the precision of the drum programming on this tune set a unique soundstage for the listener.

Ben Verse comes out striking a unique path with his first dubstep release, clearly so as N-Type wasted no time in being the ones to get this one in the hands of the international dubstep massive, is no doubt a unique accolade in itself. In all finer shops this week, be sure to pick this one up for your future sub explorations.