Wiley takes down his flow a notch on this one, a slower outing for the legendary MC that’s more of a rap track than a straight-up grime record, but with that Wiley Kat trademark wit that we all know and love.
The latest cut to be dropped from Bugzy Malone’s hyper-awaited debut album, ‘B. Inspired’, even has a guitar solo in it – showing that Bugzy’s at his best when he doesn’t stick to the formula.
Though this one’s on more of a UK rap/hip-hop tip than grime, Oscar #Worldpeace makes no secret about being influenced by the genre, and on the double-fingered chocolate-themed ‘Twix’ he enunciates his lyrics over spacious, swirling production.
Mako & Villem
'Beggin U '
This is a stunner of a track, which starts with light, floaty pads and a soft, ethereal vocal before descending into layers of heady, alluring sub, tech twists and swathing synths. The drums have a raw, tribal vibe. The flip is just as stunning.
The crew at Saucy towers have been on fire all year, and this bludgeoning four-four masterpiece from Underground Traffic is another home run. A good call and response groove is the oldest trick in the book, and here guarantees five minutes of absolute havoc in the dance.
Figures of Eighty
The aptly-titled ‘Titan’ is a dynamic slice of Reese bass heaven from the London duo. A huge, stripped back drum kit accompanies blasting horns and a palette of atmospherics that sounds as if it's been programmed by the gods themselves.
Well this really is a dutty riddim indeed: an immaculately-programmed UK funky monster rammed full of carnival vibes and backed up by soaring basses, panpipe-esque leads and some catchy vocal snips.
'Out The Window (Andrew Weatherall Mix)'
Although the original has plenty of ideas in the beats department, it’s Weatherall who extracts and disregards the extra breakbeat baggage in favour of a more economical route. Keeping a minimal, uplifting Balearic vocal line and with a slo-mo four-four underpinning things, it’s got all you need for that sunset moment.
Revitalising last year's album of the same name with a UK release, this track from the Icelandic Mammut should put them on the radar for fans of the obvious Icelandic connections to Björk, Gus Gus and Sigur Ros. Electronic pulses and reversed phrases add interest to this leftfield pop crossover track.
'Vague à l'Ame EP'
Benoit B’s ‘Ice Valley’ is the [cold] tits. Did anyone else listen to that Death In Ice Valley podcast? Didn’t you feel cheated that there was no actual conclusion to it? I mean, I can write stories too... ending them is the hard part.
'Ariya feat Afronaut Zu, Catherine Sera & Marcus Joseph'
With an impressive command of the subtleties of drum syncopation at just 23, the Leicester-based Scott Xylo just announced an upcoming project with Black Acre with his track ‘Ariya’. This is how the world works now…
Well, would you look at that… Manchester’s Ad Hoc are the second (new-ish) label on this page, that are dropping themselves a V/A sampler. It’s like I can see into the future. Taurtollo’s ‘Om’s Mehndii’ is the curveball to come back to.
Lush material that stands out from all of the “melodic house and techno” dominating the Beatport charts this year. Tough bass kicks, hypnotic melodies and haunting string interjections.
The second Avanti record to make the cut this month, it’s further proof the label is sharpening its knives in terms of serving up progressive trance that legitimately stands out from the pack. There’s a welcome touch of mystery menace to the groove, its haunting vocal samples proving simple yet effective.
After storming in from leftfield earlier this year to snatch the Money Shot, rising Anjunadeep star Ben Böhmer returns with another crowdpleaser for the label, that arguably strikes an even better balance of sumptuous deep house and tingly progressive trance euphoria.
Brilliantly odd jams from Polish producer Richu M, currently out of Rotterdam. 'Joy' is just that; a peculiar, underground disco workout for the weirdos on the dancefloor. Aces.
Wild, tropical house from Barcelona's Tibi Dabo on Crosstown spin-off Rebellion. 'No Mantra' has a breakdown for the ages, while 'La Dorada' is a tough-yet-melodic peak-time anthem.
'Odessa Calling EP'
Emotional vibes from the legendary Swayzak, courtesy of Radio Slave's Rekids. Two tracks of spooky, moody machine soul that will have you captivated from the off.
After a release on Ransom Note and support from big names such as Vladimir Ivkovic and Michael Mayer, Belgian producer Placid One debuts on Barcelona’s Nebulae. Largely composed of breakbeat laced ambient and techno experiments, electro fans should enjoy the tranquil fusion of ‘Azure’ and Artificial Intelligence manoeuvres of ‘Tropic’.
'Esoteric Body Music'
Underground specialist Boris Brenecki lands on Manchester’s unorthodox Natural Sciences for a typically leftfield and raw release. It’s A1 ‘Motivate Me’ that will appeal to electro fetishists, with its minimalist arrangement and stentorian synth bursts, though the neo hardcore breaks of ‘Nocturnal’ certainly caught the ears of this reviewer.
'When The Sun Dips 90 Degrees'
First Word Records
Nurtured from the same soulful seed as Erykah Badu and Rose Royce, this talented soulstress has a sense of control and grace well beyond her years. Pick any of the five tracks here, and each will tell you all you need to know.
You may have come across this talented 28-year-old producer via her releases on Kill The DJ. If not, you’re in for a treat. Like nothing else I have listened to this month (or last month), this is electronic soul for the 2020s.
Invisible City Editions co-founder Brandon Hocura continues with a run of great reissues, this time focusing on a cult post-punk/mutant disco 12" from '82. Fits into the whole Maximum Joy, Slits, 99 Records oeuvre, and features some studio wizardry by Mad Professor. Ace.
Menno De Jong
'Ananda (Sean Tyas Remix)'
In Trance We Trust
‘Ananda’, Menno’s now once-a-year dive into the studio, gets a robust workout from Sean Tyas. ‘Tough’ is the remix’s overriding keyword, but shades of psy-like squall are never far from its surface either.
Johan Gielen Pres. Airscape
A State Of Trance
No one can curve a synth line to quite the same atmospheric effect as Johan can. Inside ‘Inner Love’s drop you’ll find another one for the books, and while some other sequences don’t quite match up, it’s worth the admission price alone.
Misja Helsloot with Cari
'See The Sun Again'
Black Hole Recordings
Cari’s laid-bare lyrics on ‘See The Sun Again’ feel genuinely reflective and heartfelt. They’re delivered in much the same open-handed manner, cumulatively providing one of the most moving seven minutes of music you’ll hear this month.
Ron Hall & The Muthafunkaz
'The Way You Love Me (Dimitri From Paris & Tom Moulton remixes)'
The contemporary soul classic of 2005 gets the nostalgic disco treatment from two greats of the genre. For extra bonus points, Dimitri From Paris drafts in the one-and-only Vincent Montana Jr to lay some strings over his mix.
I-Robots present: Craxi Disco ft. Suzanne Porter
'Let It Go'
Local Italo disco promoter Gianni Crucini aka Craxi Disco makes an Opilec debut with some authentic, pulsating Italo style disco pomp. An ardent, if not purposefully exaggerated vocal from Suzanne Porter adds even more drama to the scene. Fun.
Repeat After Me
Jey Kurmis steps into the fold for 'Repeat After Me’s fourth release. With his subby, confined, and zonal tech-house style, he delivers a tidy two-tracker, with a tasty remix from head honcho Rob Anderson.
This one is an absolute groove merchant, from Australia’s up-and-coming tech-house go-to, Ugenius Music. ‘The Chase’ is wild, plucky and hella groovy, while the B-side, ‘Feel It’ has two mixes: vocal or dub. Dub all the way.
Davide Squillace & Butch
'Sancho & Pancho In Wonderland'
This And That
Two titans collide for this wonderful two-tracker, the charismatic ‘Cutso’ leading the way with a nifty sound palette. ‘In The Womb’, however, is suspenseful, ebbing and flowing with a much deeper motive. Masters at work.
Lyrics by Pink Siifu, produced by Ahwlee and yup, I've never heard of them either, although this drop (from a 2017 album called 'BRWN') immediately makes me need to hear everything they've ever done — great, chaotic, kaleidoscopic production and on-point abstract rhymes. Intriguing madness.
'Lost Arts '
Mello Music Group
Marlowe are maverick producer L'Orange hooking up with MC Solemn Brigham, and this stinging, zinging track is the first taste from a self-titled album about to drop on MMG. A fantastically accessible production from L'Orange startles you, but Brigham's brilliant rhyming makes it all make a strange kind of sense. Superb.
Apollo Brown & Locksmith
'Advice To My Younger Self '
Mello Music Group
Another great collaboration that's recently dropped is Apollo Brown & Locksmith's 'No Question' album, a great, relaxed, really thoughtful set. This track crystallises what's great about it: a supremely unforced, confident vibe wherein Brown's subtle production lends extra heft to Lock's incisive rhymes. Seek it out.
Nowaxx & Dustin Hertz
A super good track from these two guys, offering up pure groove from start to finish, with tribal drums complementing their trademark nu skool jump kicks.
DJ Pablo & N-faze
'Rhythm Of The Night'
A cheeky bootleg of this timeless classic, that stays true to the original '90s hit for the breakdown, then flips the script for freestyle beats and quirky screeches on the drop.
Delete & Chris One
Rawstyle has recently blended with the more mainstream hardstyle sound — however, this track by two originators of the sound reminds us just how brutal true rawstyle can be.
Nullptr is the stage name of Eddie Symons, and on ‘Aftrmth’ he delivers some fine tracks. There’s the mysterious electro of ‘LPC-10’ and ‘Polytypes’ as well as the brooding title track and best of all, the warm bass and haunting synths of 'Skyline'.
Patrick Pulsinger & M.R.E.U.X
'Electronic Message EP'
‘Electronic Message’ doesn’t quite scale the heights of Pulsinger’s ‘Dogmatic Sequences', but ‘Number Bell’ does a neat line in techy house and ‘Sender Bender’ sees the Austrian producer drop an effective dubbed out DJ tool, led by spiky percussion and dramatic builds.
A collaboration between veteran DJ Jamie Behan and Stephen Mahoney, this release sees the pair deliver heavy acid, a noisy rhythm and deranged vocals on the title track, while 'Computers' and 'Opioid' resound to tweaked 303s and growling riffs respectively.