I realise that I may have been subconsciously trying to make the phrase ‘oddball techno’ stick for a very long time now, and that's pretty much because of Peverelist, Livity Sound and the rotating scrum of artists that orbit the Bristol label. The good kid Facta’s new 12” for the label is the perfect underlining of what I mean: ‘Dumb Hummer’ is this subtle and trippy groove where these arpeggiated electronics space themselves over an ultra simplistic, rolling steppy rhythm.
‘Irn Bru’ is really, really great, mate. Splurt Diablo’s made one of these new breed of properly heavyweight, pseudo-introspective grime tracks that just rolls and rolls along effortlessly with its nagging melody sitting offbeat at half time. ‘Amped’ is, as the title suggests, more of a caterwauling ceiling shaker that might just have one discordant element too many. Something about the hardcore flurrying bass stabs, or the maddening lead riff which sounds a little out of key; but that shit hardly matters when the drops come.
Hodge & Ishan Sound
Ishan Sound take the reins for release number 101 on Pinch’s Tectonic label, with a duo of collaborations with Hodge and Muttley, respectively. ‘Still Smoking’ is a tough nut tune intended to buss a headsy dancefloor, but ‘C5’, the collaboration with Hodge, is a bit of a low-key detonation: a cut that becomes more and more deadly over time. Much like Tectonic itself, it’s not an immediate, unnecessary explosion of energy — it’s waaaay more calculated than that.
Coming with a wonderfully appropriate name for a collection of your music is a little added extra that can really help people file it in their memory banks. As such, 'Cloud Tech' is a pretty apt audio descriptor for newcomer VIO_L3T’s music, where all manner of floaty, pad heavy melodies soar high above the road-rap booms and 808 trickles. This introductory package comes complete with an E.M.M.A remix of the title track so, y'know, it’s bonuses on bonuses.
If there’s one thing that’s consistently evident with Throwing Snow’s music, it’s how confident he is in his layers. In that Four Tet-y kind of way, he’s cool to just let his elements do their thing, so the riff of ‘Myriad’ seesaws away happily while the four-four drums keep pumping before filtering in and out. ‘Minotaurs’ is a more intricate thing, being that it’s driven by the subtle shifts in the drum work, but it’s just as confident (as that middle section switch shows).
State of Joy
The word ‘simplistic’ could have a couple of negative connotations that I’d very much like you to ignore when listening to this new Guido 12” because, even though the music is not particularly dense or over complex, everything on here has its right place. Simply put, the power of the riffs will out. ‘Onward’ is the heater on the plate, a wonderful elevation of the sweeping string powered grime structure, while ‘Blazing Trails’ is a tumbling arrangement of infectious melodic subtlety.
Jeez man, some of these beats on Sharda’s debut EP for Murlo’s Coil imprint are absolutely, stonking ridiculous sounding. But that's very much the point, for Sharda intentionally blurs the wavey lines between happy hardcore, donk music and the overdriven, glossy, northern sensation that is bassline, creating a music that is decidedly hyperactive in a big, smiley, fluorescent rainbow kind of way. Layered chipmunked vocals ghost ride Sharda’s outrageous LFO bass riffs into hard '90s trance piano and beyond. Nuts.
'The Fear EP'
Any anecdote that starts with the words “when I used to make tunes” is doomed to be a godawful clanger from the get go, so I’ll stop right here and mentally note my own love of sampling speech and chopping it on the beat like Nomine does on his slow, stomping 140bpm tracks ‘Listen’ and ‘The Fear’. The EP highlight is ‘Crunch Time’ though, which forsakes that style and contrasts eastern strings with hard stabs of synthesis and heavy, tumbling percussion.
Joy O & Ben Vince
'Transition 2/Systems Align'
Ben Vince’s saxophone does a lot, tonally. Whether he’s puffed up and red in the face trying to irk these gusts out of his horn or they’ve been stretched and processed by Joy O, I don’t really know. But it isn’t a major concern of mine when the result is such a middle dancefloor panic. ‘Transition 2’ is the audible incarnation of that “ah shit, bro, it’s time to go home” realisation. I’m too drunk, too old and now I'm sweating through my fucking t-shirt.