State of Joy
Revered Bristol producer Guido throws down two gold standard grime beats that hark back to the golden era, featuring reverby claps and violins, and even some bonus harp for that transcendental feel.
'Where's This Love'
Primarily known for his grime instrumentals, MistaKay opts for a more heady UKG flavour on ‘Where’s This Love’, a giddying throwback to the old skool days, with some grime-meets-bassline stabs.
Lethal’s not really in the business of doing straight-up grime these days and, true to form, ‘Flex’ is more of a summertime party anthem: tailored more towards student-packed festivals in Croatia than grime-heads.
Midnight Sun Recordings
Deborah Cox’s infamous vocal is the core around which this track is built. It not only appeals to the sing-a-long crew, but balances out the dark, rumbling sub perfectly. A murky, jungle tinged roller filled with Amens and downright dirty risers.
Muzzy ft Celldweller
Woah, this is intense. Screamo meets neuro. We’ve always known the two sub genres have some crossover appeal, but it’s a rarity to hear them both so prominently on one track. The intro starts with lots of distortion and an almost pop-punk melodic vocal, before quickly jumping into screams so scratchy it almost makes your throat hurt to listen. The fierce singing is echoed by the harsh, twisted bassline and powerful, chugging beats. Not one for the faint-hearted, for sure.
Ras G & The Afrikan Space Orchesta
'The Great Return (Racing Seed)/Primordial Water Formations 2'
As much as I’m here for the blunted individualism of Ras G’s music, I’m also here for his overly long song titles, and seeing them in print is one of my favourite things to be involved in. Find your own joy.
There’s a lot of technical things to love across the five cuts on Priceless’s new EP on his own brand-new label, particularly on the splashy ‘Milieu’ and the surprisingly brittle ‘Inside’. It’s a loud step in the right direction.
Grade 10 & O. Kirk
I’m into the act of very literal naming. Like Grade 10 & O Kirk calling their collaboration ‘Textures’ implies that it’s gonna be the snatches of different shades and styles that it is. That’s why my debut album will be called 'Dross'.
'Intergalactic Plastic EP'
Luttrell is another of those production guns the Anjunadeep A&R team have such a knack for recruiting into their roster, and his latest EP features three tracks of lush deep house that boasts oodles and oodles of charm.
This one samples the eerie piano line from Halloween, throwing John Carpenter's classic riff over tribal drums and clappy builds for a minimalistic journey into dread. It's like Michael Myers has just loomed behind you in the dance — and offered to share his water.
Stanton Warriors x Cause & Affect
'Never Let It Go (Nixon Remix)'
Londoner Nixon here adds lashings of sombre atmospherics and brooding low-end to the classic 2016 original, reimagining Janai's emotive vocal as a monolithic focal point amid a desert of intense, washed out two-step breakbeats. Gloriously on point.
Stanton Warriors' Brazilian cousins Bomba Rosa are back with another percussive slice of 808-fuelled bass, this one more rolling drum workout than out-and-out banger — but well worth packing in the virtual record bag nonetheless.
Second To None Music
Brash, bold and rambunctious bassline vibes from the Leeds-based crew. This one is all about the switches and the wob-fuelled low-end on the drop, while blissed out pads and garagey vocal licks take over the breakdown.
Loco Dice brings the party to the Martinez Brothers' Cuttin' Headz label with a slamming house affair, called, erm, '$lammer'. We can confirm, for the record, that it does as it claims.
Luciano's Cadenza welcomes Toronto's Sean Miller with two muscular peak time tracks that recall the glory days of Thomas Bangalter's Roulé. Very pleasing indeed.
'We We We Sampler'
Me Me Me
This generous sampler from Man Power's forthcoming compilation from Me Me Me finds solid offerings from Shit Robot, Force Majeure and the brilliant Edmondson. Invest.
Lee Dodou & The Polyversal Souls
'Basa Basa / Sahara Akwantuo'
One time backing singing for the legendary Pat Thomas, this is Dodu’s time to shine. Classic Ghanaian highlife from this ex-pat who moved to Berlin in the late 70’s. Now housed on the excellent outer national Philophon Records this is raw modern global sounds at their finest.
Creatures Of Shaun
'Mind Over Matter EP'
Shaun Reeves and Creatures Of Habit (Maher Daniel and Amir Javasoul) combine forces for a bumpy bass ride with full on trip-inducing percussion, FX, and atmosphere across three tracks. ‘Mind Over Matter’ with its muted electronics is the standout.
Sean Miller offers up a dated, though brilliant, double-sided gush of synthy proto house. On ‘Arc En Ciel’, he provides a helping of Chemical Brothers-meets-Tom Middleton/Cosmos synthesis, while ‘Je T’aime’ is a French Touch and filtered disco masterstroke.
Jordan Suckley & Sam Jones
Decent end-of-the-night, techy-minded mayhem is in tighter supply this month. Jordan Suckley and Sam Jones redress that balance some with an acid and percussion fuelled number that redlines the tempo and resolves around a right old razor blade of a mainline.
Sied van Riel & Natalie Gioia
'Hold Me Close'
However you internally characterise Van Riel’s music, I doubt it sounds anything like this. ‘Hold Me Close’ is as dark and complex as it is potently intoxicating. Doubtless, Natalie Gioia’s brooding vocal plays its part, but for whatever reason Van Riel’s been hiding this powerfully progressive trait, it’s something we should hear more of.
An EP of forward-thinking electro from German Shaw Cuts boss Farron on Italian label XCPT, 'Bistro Baggio' finds him weaving dreamy synths and addictive stop-start rhythms on 'Paneth'. Nothus's remix is abrasive and clanking, tempered by more head-in-the-clouds fare on 'Ukah' and the gorgeous ambience of '528'. Leftfield and compelling.
'Hydro Systems EP'
These four tracks on DJ Haus’s E-Beamz label focus in on Sydney producer Jensen's obsession with crispy beats, booming 808s and distinctive, oscillating basslines. His overdriven rhythms are heard best on ‘Hydro System’, though ‘Bubble bOY’ is also deliriously enjoyable, mixing spooky atonal synth with system-collapsing sub boom.
An awesome freestyle track, heavily dominated from start to end by the old school rave sound. Chunky breakbeats, stabs and pitched rap samples all complement the bouncy Dutch kick. Well worth checking out if you want something fun for your DJ sets.
Hard beats and a high tempo are what this track is about. Add in a spine-tingling, sinister melody and you have a unique Euro hardcore anthem. Beautifully brutal.
Activist & Malfunction
This worldly collaboration between Aussie producer Activist and Scottish highland hardstyler Malfunction delivers relentless reverse bass. The track pauses for a breather in the middle, when the percussion and early hardstyle melody keep the energy moving, before bouncing back to the bassline.
Tenesha The Wordsmith
'Madea/Dangerous Women '
On The Corner
As the name would suggest, this young poet from Oakland, California certainly chooses her words with care and wisdom. Reminiscent of fellow poet Ursula Rucker, ‘Dangerous Women’ is an ode to women who have “gone against the stereotypes of femininity to take action against oppression, injustice”.
Benny X Green Lantern
'Hustler's Wife '
From the unmissable 'Butcher On Steroids' tape, this crystallises everything that's been so glorious about Green Lantern's return, with solid, subtle production underlying Benny's frantic flow. Copies of this are flying out of Daupe's coffers, so get in quick.
'Make It Happen '
Eagle Fly Stance Records
In a month where Ty has a new album out, you might wonder if you need any more conscious London rap, but Rahdeaz's 'Hunger EP' that dropped in January was an under-sung corker from which this is the single drop. There's a great mismatch between the hard snare hits and the lush production, great change of trajectory for the coda and engrossing rhymes throughout. If you don't know, get to know.
'Sketches feat Verbz '
So simple yet so damn effective: Slipz slams a beat, a bassline and a mesmeric droning keyboard riff together, Verbz spits great tight lines, and the soon-dropping album 'It Don't Stop' shapes up to be one of 2018's essentials. Dig into it.
'Stop That Fussing And Fighting'
Emotional Rescue / Jamwax
Reliable reissue resource Emotional Rescue colludes with France’s Jamwax to focus in on this Lee Perry produced disco-reggae version of the evergreen Bob Marley classic, by one of the key members of The Upsetters, Glen Adams. Complete with the stripped down version, ‘Mad Blank’ on the flip.
'Pain Au Chocolat'
With what has to be the most bizarre title of the year so far, Brooklyn-based producer Animal Feelings releases this pile of overly sweet, filtered disco gloop. Like a subordinate Romanthony production with a lot less soul and a helluva lot less wallop.
Hifi Sean & David McAlmont
The former '90s indie/Britpop bods synchronise on this bubbling disco production, that doesn’t quite match the rousing levels of Hifi Sean’s massive gospel number, ‘Testify’ with Crystal Waters. But David McAlmont’s earnest vocal carries well over the choppy licks and brass arrangements.
Salvaged from Luke Eargoggle’s DATs, these tracks underscore the venerable producer’s diversity. From the slow motion disco of ‘The Sleeping Statue’ to the abstract electronics on ‘Goodbye No Forever’ and the intense electro funk of ‘Professor Laphroaig’, this is an impressive collection.
The second release on Berlin label Autarchy is a deep affair. Autre’s ‘Prima’ relives late '90s UK techno with its lush, but uptempo arrangement, while on D_Roots' ‘ASMR’, a slower but equally atmospheric mood prevails, bolstered by an acid-soaked bass.
'KMS 30th Anniversary EP2'
Hell of a birthday trio here. Loco Dice's 'Positive Vibin'' is the darkest kind of nearly-techno house you can find, and Dantiez's 'Feeling The Groove' and Kevin Saunderson & Art Department's 'Reveal' are big room movers. Play them a touch slower and your tech house crowd will be all over it.