Friday, 18 April 2014

Exclusive Guest Mix: Nights

OFD first came across Nights earlier this year when he sent us his Contradictions EP to promote, and we were immediately taken with his blend of rhythmic minimalism and melodic vibes. Since then we've played a number of his tracks in mixes and on radio shows, and we've also been waiting patiently this guest mix, something he promised a while ago, but teasingly said had to finish a few tunes for first.

It wasn't until he sent it that we realised quite what he meant by that - the mix is made up entirely of his own solo productions, plus a couple of collaborations, and it's fair to say it was worth the wait. There's an album-like cohesion to the mix, with the tracks flowing into each other, with defined shifts in theme and mood as it progresses.

We spoke with Nights and threw a few questions at him to get a feel for his music and the man behind it, so press play and read on...

Who are you, and where are you from?

Hiya, my name is Nights and I'm an Oxford-based producer and although I was raised in Liverpool and London, I'd call Liverpool home.

What's your musical background?

I played guitar for a few years but gradually fell out of love with it and in love with music production. I've been producing for over two years now.

What attracted you to the deeper dubstep sound?

I'm really not sure, I just love dark moody tunes, tunes full of dread, tunes that are well written. I used to listen to a lot of Metalheadz and old jungle and hardcore, I guess this is my continuation of that. There are parallels between that music and the deep dubstep sound that you can't deny. Also one of the mixes that cemented my love for it was Vivek's Rinse takeover in, I think, September 2012. It was deep and dark, but at the same time there was a lot of melodic and dread tunes. I remember one of the last tunes from that mix was Asteroids and, wow, that tune was nuts - it should have stayed a dub though! I find myself going back to Rinse mixes from Distance, Youngsta and any guests they had from between 2010 and 2012, it felt like such an exciting time, and I guess the low quality of the recordings I have only further romanticise it upon listening. Half the tunes you heard never came out, it was amazing.

How would you describe the music you make?

Dark and minimal, haha! I am a fan of melodies and hooks, however, and do my best to include them in every tune I write otherwise none of it would be memorable or good music. Each song has to be memorable and stand out from the last in some way otherwise I wouldn't be progressing.

What are your influences?

Deep Medi along with Tectonic have been the biggest influences on me, but at the same time going to nights out at DMZ, System and Contact are always inspirational and they're special experiences. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm listening a lot to the 2010-2012 dubstep mixes from Rinse FM, I guess I prefer the music that was made at that time. Perhaps that was when those artists were at their creative peak?

Dream collaboration- who would it be?

I always wanted to collab with Burial, he was the first dubstep artist I got into, back in 07/08, but these days it would have to be Vivek, he's so versatile; it would be amazing to sit in the studio with him.

Dream remix - what track would you most like to get your hands on?

Jack Sparrow - Afraid Of Me. I'm not sure what I could actually do to it but I would love to have the stems.

What's the one track/EP/album that you always go back to?

Distance - Night Vision (Skream Remix). Yes, it's a remix but it's amazing, and I love playing it out because the remix and the original don't seem to get enough love. The tune has it all, the reeses, the melodies and the sample, it's pure dread.

What do you listen to when you don't listen to dubstep?

I listen to loads of techno, grime, trap and hip hop. Hip hop is my first love actually, but I don't think I could produce it. I'm a big fan of writing trap music, though.

Tell us about the mix you've done for us?

The mix is an hour of all original and (mostly) unreleased music by me. There are two collabs with friends Charlux and Harmful Logic. Like someone else said recently, I view big/significant mixes almost as albums, after all its showcasing a sound and an artist during a specific time period for 60 minutes, so I guess this is as close to an album as I'm going to put out now. I think the mix progresses from minimal tunes to more melodic stuff at the end, with loads of weird ones mixed in. I was really eager to get this done and I hope people find it a pleasure to listen to.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

OFD in The Guardian

There was a pleasant surprise at OFD towers this evening when I was browsing The Guardian to discover a piece I submitted a few weeks ago had been published. It appeared as part of the Blog Jam series on the Music pages, in which music blogs curate a themed playlist, and talk about their selections.

Given that dubstep is still unfairly maligned by the associations with brostep and big bucks EDM, I opted for a broad theme of "deep and minimal tunes that will change your mind about what dubstep is".

The playlist needed to be either on YouTube or Spotify, so the first challenge was to find enough decent tracks that represented OFD on one of those services. YouTube was my first port of call, but it turned out to be a non-starter due to many uploads being clips, radio rips, or bundled with woeful imagery that detracted from the music.

I turned to Spotify, not expecting much reward, and was promptly blown away by the amount of deep and minimal dubstep on offer, including many of the smaller labels we champion. So that was it, the playlist was going to happen and the next challenge was to pick ten tunes that not only represented the blog and the scene, but would be accessible to the casual open-minded reader. This was without the doubt the hardest part - to choose 10 tracks that the heads would appreciate, but would also achieve my aim of changing peoples perception of dubstep, hopefully for the better.

It took a while to compile, with much to-ing and fro-ing, but in the end I was happy with my selection which I think covers a variety of styles from a variety of artists and labels. Check it out for yourselves, and if you're feeling it, please give it a share - it's always a great feeling when the underground gets an opportunity to infiltrate the mainstream, and I hope that I've done the scene, and everyone involved, justice.

Read the full article on The Guardian website, here:

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Rubix Krew Presents: The Kollective EP Vol. 1 [RBXR001]

Towards the tail end of 2013 we ran a feature on UK-based bass collective Rubix Krew in which main man Tom Rubix hinted at big things to come in 2014. True to his word, here's the first of those big things - the debut release on their new imprint, Rubix Rekords.

It's a 5 track VA compilation, featuring 6 of the artists signed to the label, and it's as a good an opening statement as you're going to get from a brand new label.

The tracks contained cover all bases from spacious minimalism to rough and raw tear-out, with some chilled vibes and dubby goodness filling the gaps. It captures perfectly the diverse range of 140 styles that the Krew embodies, and provides solid ammo for all manner of DJ sets.

Arkwright's Stone Me is a wall of sub bass broken up with haunting synths, crunchy percs and tripped out ethereal vocals. Capcha's Rattlesnake is a techno-infused stomper; rhythmic synths weaving in and out of the drums while snatches of mid-range growls add gravitas.

If Joedan's Lifted Passenger takes us back in time to the foundation sound with it's fat bass lead and sparse drums and percussion, then Khafu & Love The Cook's Evil Minds brings us bang up to date with a reese-laden stormer comprising powerful kicks, heavyweight bass and frantic percussion.

Rufus! rounds off the EP with Lion Inna Hall, which fuses classic dub reggae vibes with deep dark and minimal 140.

The Kollective EP Vol.1 is out now and available to buy from Juno Download and other online retailers.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Duckem - Retaliate EP [Abyssal Audio AAD005]

For their 5th release Cardiff-based label Abyssal Audio have recruited the talents of Greek producer Duckem, who has teamed up with Talabun MC and Step-a-Side to produce a masterclass in deep, dark and minimal bass music.

As an added bonus, Abyssal have included instrumental mixes of both tracks, which is something that will no doubt appeal to DJs, making this a versatile release.

Title track Retaliate, a Duckem solo production featuring Talabun MC's distinctive vox, rolls and lurches with intent, the stop-start half-time rhythm disorienting at first, but after a few bars makes perfect sense. Talabun spits his bars with visceral style, alternating between rapid-fire double-time and languid half-time, which works perfectly with the flow of the track. Musically, it's tight and intense - deep penetrating bass, scattergun percussion, and crunchy techno stabs. The instrumental version stands alone as a result, and doesn't feel like it's lacking anything.

Man of Prey, a collaboration with Step-a-Side and also featuring Talabun, is a deeper more spacious number, heavy on the dub stylings and dark atmospherics, with intricate skittering hats and jungle-esque drum fills holding everything together as the subs throb and surge beneath. Again, the instrumental stand alone, although the vocal mix benefits from the added gravitas of Talabun's vox.

Retaliate is out on Monday 7th April, and available from Juno Download, and all other digital vendors.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Promise One - See We Roll EP [OpenEarz Recordings EARZ004]

It's been a while since Syte's OpenEarz vinyl imprint graced us with a release, and as relaunches go, this one from Promise One has certainly made the wait worthwhile.

Title track See We Roll, featuring the vocal stylings of Sparkz, is a melting pot of bass genres - dubstep with a garage roll and a hip-hop sensibility sounds odd on paper, but works beautifully in the hands of Promise One. As the resurgence of the dubstep "foundation sound" is gathering momentum every day, it's a logical step to draw influence and pay homage to the 2-step sounds and rhythms that it evolved from in the first place. It's a beefy uptempo roller, full of sound and energy, with Sparkz vocal giving it an intensity that is countered only by the soulful female vocal that punctuates it.

The collaboration with Geode, Chroma, drops us into deeper territory. Warm, bouncing subs underpin the track, while intricate jazz-inflected chords skitter over the lazy swung beats. It bears all the hallmarks of Geode's Chord Marauders, and brings to mind Promise One's stellar releases with Deep Heads back in 2012.

Digital bonus track Ghost Note takes us deeper still, with more space and more bass. The vibe here is darker, with distorted pulsing subs, sharp as a tack beats, and space-age synths and pads adding a dystopian ambience to proceedings - this is a late night, heads-down stepper of some intensity.

The vinyl sees a release on 14th April, and the digital follows a week later on 21st April. Vinyl pre-order and digital retailer links are unavailable at the time of press, but we'll update when we get them.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

ARtroniks - Dissonance EP [Mindstep Music MSEP013]

New from Mindstep Music, and out this week exclusively on Juno Download, the Dissonance EP by ARtroniks, aka Arne De Meyer, a producer from Ghent, Belgium.

The EP features five tracks of well-executed deep, dark and minimal dubstep, starting with the chilled vibes of Inverse, a laid back number with melodic chords taking the lead while a darker bass teases the listener with what's to come.

Afterlife moves up a gear, it's clinical and metallic intro giving way to a deep and wobbly distorted bass lead, a knowing nod to the old school originators. If Afterlife is a look to the past, then title track Dissonance is very much rooted in the present. The pounding subs, growling mids and eerie atmospherics are very much on point for 2014, and this chugs along with intent.

Rspkt picks up where Dissonance leaves off. A futuristic, sci-fi tinged intro gives way to a solid bass-driven groove that demands a visceral response. As the track progressives, the intensity builds with additional layers of mid range growls and percussion combining to make for a powerful aural and physical experience. Finally, Nosebleed wraps things up on a more spacious note with it's staccato kicks, dark chords and drill-like synth stabs.

This is impressive stuff from ARtroniks, and a great release for Mindstep. For anyone who thinks dubstep is dead in 2014, then this EP should go some way to proving them wrong.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Competition: Win Imperial Audio Music and Goodies

On 28th April sees the release of IMP006, a two tracker from Feonix on Imperial Audio, and we've joined forces with them to give away a free digital copy to one lucky winner, and to sweeten the deal, Imperial Audio have thrown in a bunch of exclusive merchandise plus a CD copy of their debut compilation Imperialism.

If that's not enough to pique your interest, OneFortyDeep have added a couple of items to the pot for good measure, namely some stickers and a t-shirt. We've yet to get into merchandise here at OFD, so this t-shirt was made especially for the competition - there's only one other in existence, and that's mine.

So, what do you have to do to be in with a chance of winning all this? Simply visit the OneFortyDeep Facebook page and Like and Share this photo publicly.

The full list of prizes are as follows:

Digital copy of IMP006
CD copy of Imperialism
Imperial Audio T-Shirt, stickers, magnets, window decal and pen.
OneFortyDeep T-shirt and stickers.

We'll be drawing the winner at random on 28th April, the same date that IMP006 gets released - so get sharing, and good luck!