Marten Horger x Neon Steve
The monstrous, hairy Teutonic bass leviathan that is Marten Horger has dug deep into the murky underbelly of his studio hard drive, and pulled out a drop gnarlier than Satan's armpit, yet somehow slinkier than Penelope Cruz in a Dior Couture maxi dress. Slipping between breakbeat and four-four rhythms, 'You Don't' is a sinuous dancefloor belter that riffs heavily on a "You don't want to fuck with us" sample and features builds with enough star wattage to power the next moon landing. On the flip, 'Hands Together' borrows a well-worn Marlena Shaw sample (with apologies to St Germain) and combines it with fizzing b-line bravado and killer synthwork, along with a mesmerising breakdown that feels like immersing oneself in an Olympic swimming pool full of melted chocolate.
Sketi and Evan Gamble Lewis
Harking back to the psy-breaks sound of the late noughties, Sketi drops a blistering slice of noisenik broken beat with glitchy edits (remember them?) and ravey bass motifs that falls headlong into a wigged-out bliss-fuelled breakdown and comes shooting out of the other end with more of the same. On the remix, Russian crew DM plump for a stripped-down blunderbuss of a bass assault, once again using relentless breakbeats to sterling effect.
Bomba Rosa are apparently a couple of young Brazilian kids who love their breakbeats, which is interesting because their production sounds an awful lot like Punks bosses Stanton Warriors. Not that I'm suggesting for a hot minute that they might actually be the Stanton Warriors, you understand. But if this slinky little 808-fuelled percussion workout were a Stanton Warriors track, which of course it isn't, then it would be more than worthy of the infamous breakbeat duo. Mind you it's not them at all, so we should probably just all move on.
Here's a lithe and lissom breakbeat garage lick from Londoner Jack Baxter, who throws down slinky organ, heavily swung beats and even the odd smattering of Balearic guitar to remind us all that the summer heat wasn't just a half-remembered dream. On remix duties, label mate Freddie Martin opts for a tougher bassline approach, underpinning Sabrina Gunston's breathy vocal with shadowy atmospherics and a four-four drop that's straight from the seventh layer of Hades. Also on the EP is the spun-out 130bpm junglism of 'Kraft', which boasts glorious chords, sick sampled breaks and killa ravey fx.
'Taking the Piss EP'
Second To None
It doesn't get much rowdier than this bassline banger from Leeds crew Vital Techniques, even if the combination of MC Pean's frenetic vocals and 'Taking the Piss's heavy wobs and ravey stabs is so full-on that it reminds you just a little bit of one of Kurupt FM's busier studio efforts. To be fair, there is an instrumental mix, for those who like their beats a little less intense. Personally I prefer the EP's supporting tracks, taking in the beefy but laconic four-four of 'Hold On', the kung fu movie sampling 'Shadow Boxing', and the breakbeat throbout of 'Supply and Demand', which uses Pean more sparingly.
'The Alliance EP'
It's a fairly sure bet that Surrey badman Barely Royal's studio is littered with Post It notes stating simply "needs more reverb", for this is a producer who seems to revel in the depth and warmth that lashings of effects can bring to a track. Here, he teams up with a series of luminaries from the bass music world, and the results are typically rich and immersive. 'What You Do To Me' (made in collaboration with Taim, and featuring LO on vocals) is a pathos-drenched breakbeat anthem that blends dark and light like a 1970s Bernardo Bertolucci art house flick, while 'Light It' (made with bassline high-flyer Bushbaby and featuring Dread MC and Grove) is a 140bpm four-four shockout machine-honed for the dancefloor. 'So In Love' (with PVC, and featuring vocals from Abi F Jones), 'Eclipse' (with Negativ, and featuring Bunnie) and 'Gun Up' (with Distro) complete the package, and the chances of quality levels dipping are about as likely as our man on the ones and twos taking his trigger finger off the reverb turbo boost button for more than 30 seconds.
'The Boroughs EP'
Hot Cakes Bass
A double dose of eclectic bassmongery from the Bristolian badman. Lead track 'The Borough' is simply glorious 130bpm junglism, harking back to early '90s vibes with atmospheric chords, classic ragga samples — "Paddington posse are you ready? Brixton posse are you ready?" — sampled breaks and a b-line that's meaner than Donald Trump's tax policies. On the flip, 'Get It' is sexed-up, glitchy bassline that takes a currently over-used style and freshens it up with steamy US rap samples, ridiculous womp bass and unusually intelligent drum programming.