Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Scalade - Torment EP [Phantom Hertz PH023]

Oregon indie label Phantom Hertz Recordings have long been flying the flag for the deep and dark dungeon sound with consistently good releases, and so their run continues with PH023, featuring UK producer Scalade, and fellow Brit Konvex.

Title track Torment is a classic half-time stepper, balancing dark growling mids and subs against light keys, soothing pads and perfectly pitched ethereal vocal samples. Abyss steps up the pace with 4/4 kicks, simmering atmospherics and powerful percussive effects.

Kingpin sees us back in classic half-time territory, with bass and space in abundance, and plenty of tension as the atmospherics work up the intensity as the tune progresses. Konvex's remix keeps the dark atmospherics intact but strips it back and gives it a techno twist with deep staccato beats rumbling their way throughout, while subtle acid squelches punctuate the groove.

A big release that will appeal to the dungeon crowd on all counts, while the Konvex remix adds some variety whilst staying true to the original.

Scalade - Torment EP is available to buy from all good digital retailers, including Juno Download.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Wing - Ransom Notes Vol.1

About a month ago, Imperial Audio's Wing announced a spin off imprint called Ignore The Masses (ITM), and shared a short mix featuring 7 deep and dark slices of minimal techno with distinct bass music influences, and the promise of more to come soon.

As a teaser it worked brilliantly, setting out the manifest for ITM's bass-heavy, spacious and minimal aesthetic. As dubstep producers are starting to experiment with other genres, Wing isn't the first to dip his toes into techno - Killawatt, Pinch and Konvex are three notable names - and Wing himself has working in the genre for some time. His Afterwar EP from last year takes in techno, house and electronica, with all the tunes wearing their bass influences proudly.

With this in mind, Wing has just self-released a free 6 track EP called Ransom Notes Vol.1, the first in a series of weekly Bandcamp releases, all free/name your price. They'll be available from the Imperial Audio bandcamp, so we'd recommend paying a visit and subscribing so you don't miss out; as based on this initial release we're destined to see some serious genre-mashing going on. In his own words, we can expect techno with grime, dubstep and garage influences.

Vol.1 is a solid release and, sticking largely to the pure techno aesthetic based around the percussive elements, Wing gives us 6 no-nonsense minimal stompers. The chopped vocal samples in Beg/Live give it the all important hypnotic groove; while Stealth combines pounding kicks, syncopated percussion and eeries synth stabs.

Warth switches to a darker tribal house vibe, the vocal samples and muted chords giving it a very classic New York house sound. Doubletap, in contrast, layers up thumping techno drums with a classic distorted garage bassline.

Fuckitup switches things up in a grime direction, with a broken rhythm, twisted vocal samples and big resonating bass kicks, and the EP ends with Wakka, bringing the grime/garage and techno influences together in an intense foot-stomping melting-pot of a tune.

This is an exciting release from Wing, and we're already looking forward to what else he has in store for the next one.

Wing - Ransom Notes Vol.1 is available from the Imperial Audio Bandcamp page for free download - get it here.

ARtroniks & Submask - Awareness EP [Dubtastic Records DTR034]

Out now, and available from Juno Download, is this storming EP from ARtroniks & Submask on Dubtastic Records.

It's a solid release that ticks all the boxes - big bass, plenty of space, rolling beats and deep vibes. Title track Awareness blends ethereal ambient pads with dark mid-range resonance, all held together with powerful drums and eerie effects.

Lost Tribe employs a classic lurching half-time rhythm, with rolling military percussion adding a contrasting pace, while Voices of the Other Side is a straight up roller, guaranteed to get the head nodding. Finally, there's Apocalypse, with big booming sub hits threaded together with intricate percussion work, searing mids, eastern strings and ambient vocal samples.

There's a common soundscape shared through the release, in the mids and percussion effects, which gives it a cohesiveness, and as such a thoughtful release. This is just a collection of tunes, it's a selection of tunes that work together and compliment each other.

This is a great release for ARtroniks, fresh off the back of his excellent Dissonance EP on Mindstep, it's another step in the right direction. 2014 is certainly looking like being a very good year for him. And for Submask, it's a release that will help get his name out there - based on this we're certainly looking forward to hearing more from this guy.

Buy it here.




Dubtastic Records

Monday, 23 June 2014

Caspa feat Riko - Mad Man [Dub Police DP101]

 At the tail end of 2013, Dub Police released the Past Present Future compilation album, an epic 3 disc collection of bass music. One of the tracks on the Future disc was Mad Man by Caspa, featuring the vocal talents of the legendary grime MC, Riko.

Now in the middle of 2014, at a time when the historic dubstep/grime connections are starting to see a resurgence, especially in the deep scene, Mad Man gets it's own release complete with a J:Kenzo remix, plus the added bonus of DJ-friendly instrumental and acappella versions.

The original mix is a tough and abrasive minimal affair, a no-nonsense, straight to the point, sub-heavy stomper with Caspa's production stylings working in rhythmic harmony with Riko's razor-tongued delivery.

The J:Kenzo remix takes it to a deeper level, chipping away at the mids, carefully filtering Riko's vox to give them a subtle otherworldly feel, and adding more space for the dark atmospherics to breathe. It's a stunning remix that stays true to the original whilst allowing J:Kenzo's signature style to prevail.

To tie in with the release, Dub Police and Caspa have teamed up with UKF to run a remix competition, with the winners receiving a Dub Police release, a UKF video upload, and industry insights and advice from the Dub Police team.

Full details of the competition can be found on the UKF website, including links to the stems, entry criteria and rules.

We've already seen a few entries appearing in our Soundcloud stream, and it's looking like some serious shots have been fired already. Closing date is 4th July, so don't sleep on this one!

Caspa feat Riko - Mad Man
Label: Dub Police
Cat No. DP101
Release date: 7th July 2014


Friday, 20 June 2014

Anex - Heartbeat EP [Mindstep Music MSEP014]

Out earlier this week from Anex on the inimitable Mindstep Music is the Heartbeat EP, featuring 5 absolutely stellar productions by the Nottingham producer.

From the broken jazz chords of the title track, to the lazy mid-range growls of Mal, you know you're in safe hands with this one. The lush melancholic keys of Breather is the main highlight, a supremely chilled piece, and a vital antidote to the murky dungeon sounds that are proliferating these days.

Raise, another stand-out number with it's warm chord stabs and visceral swung rhythm shows just how effective a simple clap can be in the right hands (no pun intended...). Trashbat's remix of Mal brings the EP to a close, and it's a delicately handled affair, adding some layers of atmospheric melody and twisting the bass around to good effect.

The Heartbeat EP was released on 16th June, and is available from all good digital retailers.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

MusicForYourMindstep Vol 1 featuring 11th Hour

Last month saw the release of MusicForYourMindStep Vol.1, the first in a new series of compilations from MindStep featuring music from up-and-coming talent alongside existing MindStep artists. In a month that saw a number of big hitting compilations, including offerings from Deep Heads and GetDarker, the MindStep release more than held it's own thanks to a tracklist that delivered on it's promise of presenting a snapshot of the ever-evolving dubstep sound.

As well as established MindStep artists including Trashbat, B9, Perverse and BunZer0, MusicForYourMindStep Vol 1 also saw a number of artists making their label debut, such as DyAD and 11th Hour.

We first spoke with 11th Hour last October, one of the first artists to be featured on OFD, and he hinted at a number of big things on the horizon. Following the release of the MusicForYourMindStep, on which he appears, we caught up with him to see how the last 8 months have been treating him.

Hi Jason, thanks for taking the time to talk to us again. The FKOFd release with Subreachers came out shortly after we spoke last - a critically acclaimed, Juno Chart-topping release, no less - how did it feel to be a part of that?

I was really happy that my collab with Subreachers finally came out after being a dub plate for more than a year and a half.  Immortals received a lot of airplay on radio stations such as GetDarker and Sub.FM and by some impressive producers and DJs as well, so getting this tune released on a fresh label by one of the most prominent blogs in the dubstep scene was the cherry on the pie. I also got to know new people such as the guys behind FKOF, big ups to Wil and Korrupt for all their hard work.

Following that, you kickstarted 2014 with the Desolate EP, which was featured in the Juno Recommends Dubstep chart for February - it must have felt like you were on a roll?

It was a year ago since my last release so it felt nice to release something fresh again.  Dubtastic Records have been supporting me since my first release, massive thanks to Sander from Dubtastic. Being in the Juno Recommends Dubstep chart made me feel proud, glad to know my music didn't go unnoticed!

Moving into the 2nd quarter of 2014 you're on the MindStep compilation, with a tracklist that reads like a who's who of the current deep 140 scene - seems like there's no stopping you right now...

I was very excited when DJ Syte from Mindstep contacted me regarding my tune Ishwara.
I've been producing for almost 4 years now, I think, so I'm happy that I'm finally getting a bit of exposure. It's always nice to know people enjoy your music!


How do you feel being a part of the MindStep family?

It's such an amazing label and crew. I've been following MindStep for a long time now, they're one of the most respected labels in the scene, so I can say that I feel quite proud to be a part of their impressive roster. DJ Syte, Bunzer0 and ARtroniks have been pushing my music for a while now, so in a sense I always felt a bit connected with the Mindstep family. Big ups to DJ Syte and Crises for all the effort they put into that compilation!

How is your sound developing? The recent clip on soundcloud, Early Days, has a lo-fi, almost organic vibe to it - is this something we can expect more of?

Yeah, I've been experimenting with new types of subs, drum patterns, samples, etc. Very happy with the outcome of Early Days, I've received a lot of good comments on it. I've got a couple more productions like that in the pipeline, more focused on the low-fi vibe with lots of drums, shakers and what not. There are also a couple of collabs on the way, some in the 170BPM range with artists such as Mental Forces and a couple of others. Keep an eye out ;)

Thanks Jason, we'll look forward to them!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Exclusive: FJH - XenoCat

We're very pleased to bring you this exclusive free download from FJH, a talented producer who has seen full releases on the likes of Phantom Hertz, Subslave, MWM, and119; free releases with 4D, Keep Deep, and most recently Albion Collective.

As label manager at Blue Red Media, and managing director of Hi-Grade Dubstep, it's safe to say his dedication and contribution to the scene is undeniable.

We caught up with FJH to run our Q&A past him:

Who are you, and where are you from?

My name is Phil Zhukov aka FJH. Originally from Vladivostok, Russia. Been living and working in London since 2004.

What's your musical background?

Spent 5 years going to music school (classical piano) when i was a kid. Didn't really like it that much at the time but managed to retain a few things. In high school got into hip-hop which lead to my first attempts at making beats. Later on got a degree in music tech.

What attracted to the deeper dubstep sound?

I was never really a big fan of the heavier side of dubstep and was more about the old school deeper sound. So the deeper darker dungeon sound is a perfect match for me.

How would you describe the music you make?

Mostly laid-back but sometimes dark and possibly experimental dubstep. I like to switch up styles but stay within the same genre. One day it's a mellow chords type of vibe, the other it's a minimal beat or a dark roller.

What are your influences? (musical or other)

Kasta, Y.G., Detsl a.k.a. Le Truk, Cluekid, Biome, Skream, Prefuse 73, Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Flashbulb, The Crystal Method, Calexico, anime and film scores, growing up in post-Soviet Russia.

Dream collaboration- who would it be?

There are a lot of great artists i would like to collab with, so it's really hard to pick just one.

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

Amon Tobin - Ruthless (Reprise) or Kokubo Sosho Stealth (from the Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory OST)

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

Amon Tobin - Chaos Theory [Buy from Juno]

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

Mostly hip-hop and electronica. Lately i've been listening to a lot of Krovostok (experimental Russian hip-hop).

Tell us about the track you've got for us?

Bit of a roller, but jazzy and playful at the same time.