Here's a dancehall-flavoured riddim that just screams insouciant cool; Bristolian trio Sly One have dropped a beat so essential you'll be begging for a track ident. This one's all about the low-slung kick bass, ragga licks and dope dub flavours, plus Sly One's trademark laser-honed percussion programming and some sick little vocal payoffs. Absolutely the sound of now; indisputably real UK underground vibes.
The mighty Tumble Audio come correct with an off-kilter jungle-influenced dancehall number from Dutch badman TMSV, throwing down lashings of ragga attitude, a neat little flute riff and a side order of ruffneck bass. On remix duties, Manchester's Hypho gets rude with distorted 808 bass, orchestral flourishes and killer drum-work, while Bristol's Archive plumps for a breakbeat reworking. Finally, man-of-the-moment Murder He Wrote blends the original's fearsome jungle stylings with a classy four-four garage-spiced beat. So much goodness here.
'First Contact EP'
Birmingham's Nu Era bring the grind with three four-four UK bass music flavours on a heavy, heavy dungeon tip. 'Already Dead' and 'No God Here' are darkcore house with horror movie samples and scary brass stabs, while 'First Contact' borrows from 1950s sci fi B-movies. All three tracks are full of their trademark rugged and relentless low-end pressure.
Murder He Wrote
Roska Kicks & Snares
London rudeboy Murder He Wrote sends down a brace of UK funky-inspired bass music killas on Roska's always-good-value Kicks & Snares imprint. 'Switch' blends jazzy chords and keyboardwork with snatches of diva vox and rugged percussion, while 'Halloween Riddim' scares up a blood-curdling kick and clap riddim, all nasty-assed psycho brass, mean-as-all-hell low-end and fearsome snare-work. Our man with the dastardly plan delivers in masterfully brutal fashion once again.
'Straight Up feat. Dread MC, Dash Villz and Rider Shafique'
Following up his rinsing dancehall riddim 'Burn Down' from the summer, Bristol don Bromley brings a dubbed-out, spacious, smokey beat for Dread MC, Dash Villz and Rider Shafique to do their thing on. It's a darkling, muted beast with as much in common with 'Mezzanine'-era Massive Attack as UK bass music in 2016; a startling blend of influences hinting at a prosperous future for the sonic genius at the helm. On the remix, Mafia Kiss drops a stripped down 808-fuelled breakbeat roller while Aloka sends down some funky drummer-inspired syncopated beat-work.
'Take You Back EP'
Hot Cakes Bass
Italian producer Andy Pop drops a lissom slice of future garage-inspired bass music, his debut on Hot Cakes Bass. 'Take You Back' rolls along with a brooding sense of spaced-out cool, snatches of little-girl-lost vocals mingling with the sci-fi atmospherics and '70s-inspired one-note b-line. On remix duties, Germany's B-Phreak rips the dancefloor a new rear end with a monstrous reworking that's all rinsing jungle drums, slick chords and a booming kick and clap meets trap-inspired drop, while UK up-and-comer Underground Traffic plumps for a minimalistic half-time 808 bass-fuelled drum workout.
The final-ever release on Sub Element, so we're told, and they've gone out with a banger. With its strong psy-tech vibe, Frequency Less's 'Travel 2.0' sounds like something from the late-noughties, when labels like Broken Robot ruled the roost. It's a little out of place in the current UK bass-obsessed environment, but if you like your wigged-out acid-lines and techno flow then it might just be worth grabbing. On the remix, Bad Tango strip the track down to its basics and retool the beats for a fully four-four vibe.