Review: The cavendish crusaders are at it again. And this time they're rolling out the barrels with full V/A power. Chad Dubz opens with the provocatively titled "Pricks", all sludgy, swampy and twisted while Karnage & Dayzero up the energy with a dramatic symphonic loopy nod to the far east on "No One" while Guesswerk close the show with the long awaited "Persian Dub". On dub for a good couple of years, this gravel throated swinger has been doing the business for a select amount of DJs for some time. Now it's finally yours. From Bristol with fruit. Tuck in and be quick about it.
Review: Ooof. Denver darksmith Dalek One lashes out with more savage magic, this time on St Louis collective Dub Sector. The EP kicks off with "Can't Walk", a raw fusion of swaggering beats, cannon ball bass hits and sudden flurries of amenistic breaks that fly by before you even realise. "Skincrawler" follows but with even more edge and coldness. Pranged out, trippy and cold to the bone, it lives up to its name in every way. Finally, Dalek teams up with Max Mischief for the closing farewell "Sicim". Icy, haunted and laced with chilling guitar loops, things suddenly take a turn for the strange as the warped basses weep into the mix. Powerful; no one does it quite like Dalek.
Review: Have a word... Youngsta's launched a brand new vinyl-only label and DBridge launches it. Need we say more? Both "Fashion Dread" and "Digital Dread" are Darren White at his darkest and most stately - elephantine production, moody and misty and ultimately soaked in beautifully warm bass, both cuts have been doing the rounds on dubs for almost two years and have been in demand since Youngsta debuted them. Simply massive. Get on these quickly.
Review: It's 2019 and Chestplate bossman Distance is well and truly woke. Dropping his first officials since his outing on J:Kenzo's Artikal last spring, the whole four tracker is a pungent trip back to the stinker golden age. Rough funk, distorted and tailored strictly to kick the living peanuts out of the crowd, each cut is Distance doing what he does best. From the psychedelic dirge of "Awaken" right through to the orchestral darkness of "Settling Scores", Distance isn't mucking around here. Neither should you.
Review: Toronto's Distinct Motive returns to Truth's triple D stable with four more outright stinkers. Opener "Radar" has been huge for those lucky enough to have it on dub; all infectious and bleepy but not overly so while "Itchy Fingers" grizzles and grunts with a loose but savage groove. Deeper (and darker) into the EP we hit the 2007 feels of "Loose Pimp" while "Crazy" closes with a little nod towards to the instrumental grime motifs; all string plucks, glacial feels and smoking 808s. One for the radar.
Review: The ZX gunman returns! Here we find him filling in his signature space with vivid colours; Oriental scales cascade mesmerizingly across a series of synth textures, melodies and counter melodies while a stern bass hums with heavy voltage beneath. Kickless but kicking, it's another singular shot from the London shooter.
Review: Boom: just days after his recent Oil Gang outing, the mighty D.O.K makes his debut on Mean Streets with some absolutely savage sounds that have already been doing the business this year. "Shine" is pure orchestra damagement while "Annihilate The World" lives up to its name with frank and disarming warp tactics. Flip for the steppier, Psycho-string-stab riffing "Frightening" and the more classic 2007 style 140 grumbler. One of grime's truest voices right here.
Review: The mysterious Dreadz white label returns for a follow up to their self-titled 001 in 2017. Once again one-sided, no info or credits, just a good old-fashioned system shaker with a sub line that melts through the scoops like ice cream on a hot day. Deep, spacious and, quite possibly, a head nod to Ras Nyto's release from 2008, this is proper contemporary 140 / dub business and it's not likely to hang around.
Review: Finn "Drone" Donohue appears to be a producer on the rise. This may only be his second 12" single (his first slipped out last year), but he's already showing signs of developing a trademark sound all of his own. Both "Sapphire" and "Down This Way" are dark, clandestine and paranoid, with grime style stabs and spacey electronic effects clustering around a bustling, hot-stepping rhythm track that seemingly charges from the speakers towards your sound-space. Closer "East Coast", which is exclusive to the vinyl edition of this release, is arguably even more raw and aggressive, with colossal sub-bass pulses, creepy melodies and densely layered background textures (think cut-up vocal samples, white noise and unusual field recordings) all catching the ear.
Review: Fresh Sector 7, Bristol's Drone makes his debut on V.I.V.E.K's System Sound with two smoking slabs of bass weight. "Amphibious" funks up the radar for a bleep excursion through the swampiest of textures with only a trippy riser and noir spoken word. Flip for "Lucid Dreams" where things take a creepier undertone thanks to the cavernous space, waterdrops, roomy switchy kicks, pranged out reverse manoeuvres and a sub as thick as marmite. Immense.
Review: Get out of the shower scene and onto our decks. Drone follows up his Circadian Rhythms release with a ruthless jam that's straight out of the Norman Bates guidebook to life. Stark staccato strings, booming bass and spacious beats; this is pure Bristol Psycho business and it's backed by another west country horror Boofy on the remix. Chopping up the original within an inch of its life, he adds a little ghetto-twist in the beats for added murderation. Heavy.
Review: Brand new label from House Of Wax: Jupiter's Moon touch down with two highly sought-after rubs from the touchingly talented Djrum. Taking two meditative system smokers from London nine-piece The Drop, Djrum flexes in two distinct ways; "Looking To The Sky" gets an upbeat two-step twist that's not dissimilar to old Kromestar joints while "Takeover" wallows much deeper in the dubwise aesthetics as a slinkier two-step riddim bubbles beneath a much heavier bed of textures, pads and mbira. On dub since 2011 and still smouldering to this day, these are vinyl only and not likely to hang around. You know what to do.
Review: Dubkasm's digi-dub roots dig deep into the early 90s. Boosted into the future by fellow Bristolians Pinch, Appleblim and Headhunter, here we find them declaring "Victory" with this instantly show-stopping horn-heavy skanker. Laced with space and complete with myriad versions, a fine balance of meditative bass and mind-blowing sonic creativity is at play throughout. Those with a penchant for the abyss-levels of dub science should jump straight on "Verse IV". Hear that stretched horn sound and you'll soon understand why it's been sub-titled "Raw Piece". Victory is yours!
Review: For the seventh salvo on Well Rounded Records' "Well Rounded Dubs" series, the hard-working Brighton crew has secured tracks from two hard-working and well-regarded producers. Bristol based Chad Dubz handles side A, reaching for the weirdo effects, psychedelic electronics, sub-heavy bass and head-nodding beats on bleeping post-dub head-nodder "FKD" (think Mad Professor after overdosing on LSD and you're close). Over on side B Manchester's JFO takes over and treats us to a particularly deep dubstep excursion where creepy effects, ricocheting percussion sounds and horror style spoken word samples cluster around crunchy beats and a suitably sustained sub-bass motif.
Review: Chow Down serves up its second release with the adventurous grime exploits of Fallow and DJ Chalice, twisting out all kinds of audacious bass shapes that would set the dance alight at parties such as Boxed. Fallow takes the A side with confidence, fresh from a release on Blood Frenzy, and "Blitz" shows the emergent producer is taking no prisoners with a hail of bullets and haunting Indian classical samples. "Northern Don" is a more wobbly synth-rich beat, while "Operation Dark Fruit VIP" amps up the grime strings. DJ Chalice has a lighter touch, bringing in some sunnier melodics and embracing the RnB influences on "Artois Anthem".
Review: Bristol label Peng Sound return to Rise, the Gorgon Sound EP released earlier this year with a fresh dose of versions from the Dubkasm crew that will satisfy every self respecting soundsystem operator out there. All four cuts from Kahn and Neek's release have been reworked and renamed by Dubkasm, who utilise their legendary soundtrac CM440 mixing console, carefully channelling the track's signals through chains of spring reverb, tape delays and specially crafted effects modulators. Dubkasm's DJ Stryda and Digistep have done an excellent job of plunging the Gorgon Sound even deeper into the realms of dub culture and the version theme extends to the artwork too with Tape Echo reworking the cover from the Gorgon Sound EP with equally impressive results
Review: Peng Sound revisit their highly sought after debut release. Just shy of two years old, it still rattles and hums with authentic dub warmth and drama. Gorgon Sound's original bubbles with bouncy heat as the bass modulations spring off the double-up kicks. Dubkasm's version is equally alluring as we're invited into a much wider space where guitar shots and other melodic elements are entwined into the mix. One timeless composition, two killer versions, if you weren't lucky enough to grab this first time round, you know what to do!
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: Hyperdub kick off the vinyl side to their ten-year celebrations with this weighty four-tracker from some of the leading lights from the label's story. Mala is in a strident mood with "Expected, Level 10" carrying through that extra touch of melody from the Mala In Cuba LP. DVA cuts loose with the leftfield scattershot groove of "Technical Difficulties", reveling in tonal experimentation and jagged rhythmic flair to a stunning end. Still locked into the sci-fi trap tangent that characterised Severant, Kuedo turns out the haunting "Mtzpn" and Helix pops up for a remix of Kode9's "Xingfu Lu" that strips down to bare essentials with a little starlit soul rubbed into the framework.
Review: A taster for the trio's forthcoming third album, Horizontal Structure, this single sees Von Oswald and collaborators Max Loderbauer and Sasu Ripatti (aka Vladislav Delay) further explore the notion of merging dub techno with other, previously unconnected styles. "Restructure 2" is a swirling, atmospheric piece, its languid, low-tempo groove accompanied by some tastefully spacey guitar playing and mellow jazzy vibes. It's understated, studied and about as far removed from Maurizio's "Ploy" as one can get, but yet it still retains much of the same cavernous production sound. The choice of remixer, Mala, is also surprising as it eschews Von Oswald's techno habitat in favour of dubstep. That said, the Digital Mystikz producer has a credible string of releases for DMZ, Tectonic and Soul Jazz, and like the Basic Channel producer, fully understands the power of the bass. There is also some subtle referencing to the time that Van Oswald first rose to prominence through the use of 'Intelligent Techno'-era melodies and the ambient outro, but Mala's remix is all about the tumbling drums and tribal, swinging rhythms.
Review: Following their razor edge four-tracker earlier this summer Rinse co-founder and foundation grime pioneer Slimzee and new partner in crime As.If.Kid maintain the heat as they declare "Judgement Day" once and for all. Bell-chiming brutality with a rugged slo-mo jungle charm, there's almost a rock-like looseness to the drums and grunting bass as it rolls out with unique energy. Flip for a remix from fellow OG DJ Garna who reinforces As.If.Kid's "Shooter" with an authentic jungle rinse-out.