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Compilations - Issue 578

We Out Here

Various

We Out Here

Brownswood Recordings
8.5
Gilles Peterson’s London-based Brownswood Recordings has shone a spotlight on oft-overlooked talent from the worldwide electronic underground scene for over a decade. Its long-running ‘Bubblers’ series sets out to specifically showcase emerging artists, and the wonderful ‘Future Bubblers’ project is Peterson’s new artist development mentorship scheme. ‘We Out Here’ continues in this future facing vein as a double LP aimed at highlighting the label’s picks of the capital’s young jazz scene at the start of 2018. Recorded over three consecutive days in northwest London, this release captures the essence of a nascent community that’s growing and working together. They are creating a modern and energetic take on jazz that feels very of the moment as it ties in with parts of the nation’s present leftfield club culture without any retro or nostalgic sensibilities. Over nine tracks featuring different rising stars of the movement, many of whom share lineups and collaborations, ‘We Out Here’ presents an excellent snapshot of this amorphous sound that’s defined by raw energy instead of rigid genre boundaries or strict interpretations. With a documentary on the way chronicling the recording sessions, Brownswood Recordings has done it again with this wonderful release.
Zara Wladawsky
James Zabiela - Balance 029

James Zabiela

Balance 029

Balance

Zabiela shows he’s still got it Zabiela shows he’s still got it
8.0
If James Zabiela has appeared somewhat absent the past few years, this stalwart of the UK progressive scene has something to show for it in the form of his overdue debut in the Balance pantheon. Nearly 60 tracks assembled across two mixes, in the kind of dense sonic patchwork you’d expect from Zabiela, he’s described the process of putting it together as both cathartic and obsessive. As such, ‘Balance 029’ fittingly captures his versatility and technical mastery. The first ‘act’ is an elaborate downtempo journey, showcasing his ability to layer and blend to full effect, and while the club-focused second “act” is a touch more direct, there’s a similar artful attention to detail. Beyond occasional scratching, the noodling and ticks are invisible and it’s rarely clear when one track starts and another ends. Most importantly, the end result is imbued with plenty of emotion, proving his DJing mentality still makes plenty of sense in 2018.
Angus Paterson
FABRICLIVE 96

Skream

FABRICLIVE 96

Fabric Records

Do you want to go faster?
7.0
Although Oliver Jones has been playing house sets for years, his reputation as a dubstep artist has been difficult to shake. As have the people turning up at his gigs still expecting to hear ‘Midnight Request Line’. As a summary of Skream’s current style, ‘Fabriclive 96’ spells things out far more clearly — if less concisely — than putting (house set) next to his name on flyers. After warming up with some dubby house, things really hit their stride with Santos Rodriguez’s tribal drums, leading into a run of big-room tunes such as the evangelical techno of Floorplan’s ‘Made Up In My Mind’, Radio Slave’s acid epic ‘Screaming Hands (Krautdrums Mix)’ and Greg Venezia’s trancetastic ‘Lies (Of Unsound Mind)’. While some of Skream’s early house sets were wobblier than the basslines in his old dubstep productions, ‘Fabriclive 96’ shows he’s now found his feet a bit more.
Paul Clarke