When you see this magpie, make sure you salute. Not to ward off bad luck, mind, but because this producer hits hard with every single release. From his debut on Losing Suki to follow-up EPs for Hypercolour and remixes on 2nd Drop, it's clear Leeds man Craig McNamara, also half of Mak & Pasteman, knows how to make club slammers with more imagination and impact than most.
Were we in any doubt as to what his influences are, already evinced by the demonic Reese bass and slow-burning dark two-step manoeuvres of tracks like 'No More Stories', or the stentorian bass warping garage of 'Roots', this EP should drive the point home.
Lead cut 'Mirdad' (see what he did there?) is a house banger of tough kicks, rough 'n' rude grime bass, and shattered shards of Amen breakage. Announcing its presence with an evil splurt of synth, it doesn't add much more than those elements, save a sliver of female vocal “ooh baby you don't mess around”, and indeed this track doesn't. Maybe not completely original but few others manage this kind of fierce rave hybrid with such style.
Equally good though aimed more at the headphones than the feet is 'Pledge'. A fresh conception of electro bass, moody and melancholy gauzy synth, and lush minor chord stabs, its layers of vocal smears and acid bleeps is a teary inversion of hardcore rave, like Burial gingerly setting foot on the dancefloor.
Demonstrating an incredible ear for melody as well as rhythmic heft, it's a hitherto unseen side of the feathery fellow. Trevino eliminates the broken electro vibes and remixes it into a techno thump, while 'I Love Me' is a leftfield houser that wouldn't be out of place in the discography of Beautiful Swimmers.
Watch this magpie like a hawk!
Anonymous producer Manpower is becoming hot news. This EP for Jennifer Cardini's incredible label demonstrates why. 'Kiloton' is all slithering, squidging alien 303 funk with a roiling undercarriage of live-sounding disco percussion, heading to a zonked climax, while 'Parenthesis' is another tough acid oscillation.
Raudive's remix of the latter is a nightmarish metallic clanging primitive houser, like 'Erotic Discourse' gone very wrong. And that's very good.
'Where Did You Go?/Through the Haze'
Brooklyn's Octo Octa has already made a little noise on the super cool 100% Silk label, and here he delivers for Chicago's great Argot. The A-side is a dreamy, Balearic wisp of diaphanous house riffs and meaty kicks, its bass reminiscent of Larry Heard, while 'Through the Haze' is a tougher thing, with a rubbery, ultra funky bassline, broken percussion and star-strafing celestial keys. Wicked double-header.
DJ Sneak & Murk
Haters love to hate. And Sneak's disgruntled anti-fans are sure to be vexed when they hear this awesome link-up with Miami house mavericks Murk. He may be loose-lipped and keen to set the world to rights on Twitter and Facebook, but any animosity he creates should evaporate on the basis of 'Bassline', its echoing tech keys, drilling low-end, excellent drums and duelling male and female vocals a surefire party tonic.
2000 and One
Often with house music, simplicity is key. Providing it oozes one particular element... the funk. Crisp, sharp shuffling hi-hats and a juicy phat bassline wiggle Omar S would be proud of. Not forgetting some ghostly Roland synthwork stolen from Chicago years gone by and an eerie spoken word vocal. This from the Area Remote boss is an instant classic.
Very much a double-sided gold coin, the new one from Sebo K has a jazzy low-slung swinger layered with metallic African drums for the warm-up (It's Alright') and a classic Sebo K pounder for peak-time ('Avalanche'). Hence, the latter is most likely to get hammered. A heady, deliberately crafted winder, built around a dark, druggy groove, its reverberated vocal hook and acidic touches are enough to bring on an aneurysm. Coming soon to a Balearic terrace near you!
'Feel It Out'
Some of the best dance music in this world is so sinister it makes you want to shit your pants. This evil rave masterpiece on Manucci's Mistress is a case in question. Made up of more than one echoed sample loop and a growling mutant bassline, this 125bpm tech-funk breaker works perfect with house, garage and techno. Regardless, it'll make people go absolutely mental. 'Raptor' on the flip is trippy bassline-tech with a lush remix courtesy of Will Berridge, but 'Feel It Out' is the one