Review: Following a couple of impressive collaborative releases last year, Bristol bass-head Halcyonic returns to action on debutant imprint Firmly Rooted. This time round, veteran roots-man Junior Dread handles mic duties, delivering a smoky vocal on "Can't Hide". The track itself is rolling, bass heavy and heady, with ricocheting electric piano notes and dub-wise horn lines rising above a riddim that sits somewhere between digi-dub and dubstep. On the flipside, Bristol stalwart Rob Smith dons his familiar RSD alias to deliver a dancefloor-focused deep dubstep revision that peppers a weighty groove with dubbed-out horn blasts, disconnected vocal snippets and mind-mangling angular electronic pulses.
Review: J:Kenzo strikes us down with pure bass weight once again, this time on Infernal Sounds with an almighty remix of San Francisco's Saule's ploughman stepper "Cure Dem". Adding an orchestral twist to those murderous stabs, this remix doesn't so much as cure but completely blazes every possible inch of your skin. Flip for an escapade of more ominous proportions as "Shijima's Revenge" takes us deep into Japanese legend with a powerful droning bass and a march-like groove that will have you trooping into the shadiest of graveyards. Absolute murderation.
Review: Having appeared on the likes of Nous Disques, Dream Eater and Collection Artaud, it was only a matter of time before London beat splicer J-Shadow's glacial, unnerving textures and sounds would find a home on Bun The Grid. With strong senses of techno and electro deep in the low-end mix, highlights include the nutty, almost breakcore style flippery of "No Gravity" the powerful technoid dirge of the title track "Embers". Loaded with remixes from none other than Etch and Danny Scrilla, once again BTG have spoilt us rotten.
Review: Oof! It's finally here; two east London mic dons link up over a heavy Chimpo beat on Jamakabi's Rhythm Rollers for a name that truly lives up to its name. Doing the rounds in various forms since last year, "Wickedest Ting" touches wax in two perfect version; the body-slamming original and a bashing jungle twist from the Ghosty Men. Wicked.
Review: Back in 2016, Leo James stepped up to deliver the debut 12" on J.Sparrow's Navy Cut imprint. Here he returns to the label for the first time since, and this time he's got soul-soaked reggae vocalist J Appiah in tow (an artist last spotted lending his honeyed tones to a house record by Damian Lazarus). The vibe here is slow, sensual and emotional, with atmosphere taking precedence over any notion of appeasing peak-time dancefloors. That's a good thing, though, because "Struggle" - a deep, smoky dub-soul cut rich in delay-laden reggae instrumentation, weighty bass and heart-aching vocals from Appiah - is sublime. There's more of a dancefloor feel to the similarly dubbed-out and heartfelt "Lost & Found", with a rhythmic shuffle that's slightly closer to house than stereotypical dubstep.
Review: Bristol bass stalwart and "purple" genre creator Joker is celebrating ten years of his Kapsize label with a trio of tasty new 12s. This two-tracker is the first of the trio to land. On side A you'll find "Anamorphic", a soft-burn concoction whose meaty, hot-stepping bottom-end pressure comes wrapped in darting, Daft Punk style synthesizer motifs, dreamy chords and - most surprisingly of all - some cheeky electric guitar. Even more surprising, perhaps, is flipside "Forever", a hugely atmospheric ambient number built around the kind of textured sounds more often found in the experimental dub techno work of Deepchord man Rod Modell.
Review: The Dream Eater crew have got the munchies again and it's another all-star feast featuring some of the label's most forward-thinking beat splicers. Teetering on the trippiest peripheries of instrumental grime, highlights include the seasick rolling breaks and disassociated humanised twangs of Kotei's "BUN", BThorough's vital rainbow-razzled pipe blaster "Flutter" and Filthy Gears' monstrous trappist drama slammer "Peace Treaty". Happy nightmares.
Review: Juicy jams galore: ZHA's White Peach return with their sixth "Bits" instalment where Peach pals old and new collide with their freshest, most vitamin-enriched cuts. First up label newcomers Neffa-T and Patrick Brian get rowdy with a space-aged grime stepper "Sabertooth". All staccato fire and rubber-ball bass it sets the tone for Gundam & Jook's grimey snare-smacking hybrid "Tactical Espionage" and some obese bass ripples from Modelle, who was last spotted on the label earlier this year with the awesome "Paladins" EP. Finally ZHA makes a rare appearance with the wonked out melter "Running VIP". Yum.