Bass Music . Future Beats . Nu Garage


Genre pick of the week Cover of Dark Energy by Jlin.
As the popularity of Footwork has continued to soar, the range of sounds within the genre has expanded. From the angular, minimal beats of RP Boo to the widely admired sound of sadly departed DJ Rashad, the genre has lovingly seeped into hearts and feet worldwide whilst continuing to innovate. Until now most of the focus has been on the male DJ/Producers, but that is about to change. Gary based producer Jlin, who some of you might remember for her track “Erotic Heat” (Bangs and Works Vol.2 – Planet Mu 2011), or from her moment in the mainstream light providing music for fashion designer Rick Owens’ FW/14 Paris runway show, is stepping further into the light with a stunning eleven track debut album “Dark Energy” showcasing her unique and bold new sound.

Gary, Indiana, a neighbouring City to Chicago, is one of those towns people overlook or perhaps expect the worst of. It's famous for the Jackson 5 and its Steel Mills, one of which Jlin works long shifts at. She says her sound and “the themes behind my tracks are all based off what my creativity absorbs, whether it be bad or good”, and the music certainly shows that intent. It's forceful, yet ripples with colour; it’s an intense, monolithic sound with rugged rhythms that stop and breathe and roll out in unusual staccato patterns. It’s a sound unlike any other out there, one that’s fiercely unique. Her track titles are as evocative as the music is intense and hint at deeper themes – “Black Diamond”, “Guantanamo”, “Abnormal Restriction”. She notes “The titles I chose are based off failing and learning.” Album track ”Expand” also features a vocal from another important female artist - respected experimental West Coast producer Holly Herndon whom Jlin has been quietly collaborating with.Her album “Dark Energy” is so called because of where it came from and how it came to be; the dark monolith on the cover also perfectly encapsulates it – “This album took my entire life to make. Every moment in my life lead up to this album. My musical sense of expression comes from sadness, and anger. I can't create from a happy place. It seems pointless in my opinion. I don't make the tracks as much as I feel them. Creating for me is about feeling and impact.”Jlin has been supported by all the key players in the Footwork scene and says she is “thankful to many.” 2015 feels like the year people are ready for a new voice in Footwork and Jlin is a true original with a hard, yet infectious style and an album that showcases it brilliantly.

Julio Bashmore

Rhythm Of Auld / Knockin Boots

Julio Bashmore returns alongside J'Danna with "Rhythm of Auld". A boogie-fused future soul romp with lush vocals and exceptional Bashmore synthwork the trademark. Pairing J'Danna's sensual voice with 80s-informd licks and flurries, plus a nice rounded drum palette makes this the perfect crossover track, landing somewhere between classic Detroit beatdown, 80s boogie, pop prowess and Bashmore's unique style. "Knockin' Boots" is also undeniably Bashmore - as he turns his hand to more a frenetic, looped house sound but one that twists heads through a series of dynamic breakdowns and drops. Keeping you on your toes till the very end. Great stuff.

Fresh from his split EP with Tuff Sherm on Plastic World, the mighty Cassius Select drops a wild one for UTTU. Aligning themselves with that fucked up, post-everything world occupied by the aforementioned Tuff Sherm, but touching also on the strange warped genius of Kassem Mosse and Madteo, "Cross Strut" opens up the carnage with a thoroughly wooden bang'n'clatter interspersed with clever little vocal manipulations. Purpose built to bend minds in the club, the sheer weight and power of the drums is enough to make ceilings crumble. "Crook" continues with a similar sound palette, but goes on an even more frenzied attack, syncopating the drums with various other elements in the mix for a bouncy, skewiff groove that should have dancers spiraling out of control manically. "Joy Mile" is a gritty, half-tempo gangsta house joint dragged through some filthy backstreets. A bit Shit & Shine in the mangled prowess, Cassius Select fires up the 808 piston subs halfway through the track whilst the crazed vox continues in pirate radio fashion throughout. Unbelievably good! And essential for fans of the Diagonal resident's manic outbursts. "He Ain't Worth" staggers along the same blurred lines as a plethora of out-of-time drum hits somehow buffer themselves mid-delivery into a sort of UK-footwork template. Frenetic as a bumblebee high on nectar, this beauty buzzes around all over the shop before settling on some shoulder-dropped, half-tempo crawl towards the end - designed to floor all but the sturdiest dancers! Brilliant madness from the UTTU camp - thoroughly recommended.

Clark’s ‘Flame Rave’ EP follows the aesthetic and sound of his eponymous 2014 album ‘Clark’, his most widely praised body of work that reestablished him as one of the forerunners of avant-garde electronic music.

“I started making these ravey tunes to play out at gigs, but they gathered a momentum and gradually formed this EP,” Clark says of the genesis of Flame Rave. “I came back to it again and again - it seemed to work in clubs but also as a sneaky, immersive headphone listen. I love the feel of an almost overwhelming percussive violence being suddenly flooded with heartache and melody. I find that dynamic exhilarating.”

'Silver Sun' is a mash-up of clockwork chimes, detuned keys, rave Hoover stabs and hardcore rhythms. The wonderfully titled 'To Live And Die In Grantham' will take you back to the days of the Orbit - an industrial techno pummeller for peak-time, smoke-filled dancefloors. 'Springtime Linn' goes down the new beat / EBM route of pitched down chug. 'Unfurla Cremated' closes the EP with layered synth textures and horn fanfares - a heady psychedelic sunblast of electronic sound.

Aus Music continue on form with a 4-tracker from label favourite Tom Demac who aligns his arsenal of hardware and readies a pack of rattling club tracks peppered with armoured kicks and luminescent textures. This latest offering carries forth the power present in his anthology as it spans a variety of moods and textures that are propelled by his tough, thrumming percussion and sportive synth work. "Smoke Stained Ivories" kicks off in pretty epic form as a spine-tingling hook repeats through white noise bursts and loose, coke-can percussion. Searing synth washes occasionally breaking through the euphoric haze. "Guilty Measures" is a terrace roller of the highest quality, designed for the big outdoor soundsystems and packing plenty of punch as it grooves through its course. "RIP Vogel" is a ket-friendly tech fest as a crazed breakdown gives way to pumping side-chained grooves and a proper wigged out melody. Finally "Beckett's Racket" is the end-of-night anthem you've been waiting for. Sublime in its approach and executed beautifully, this radiant baby burns on with the heat of the summer sun surrounding it, elevating the dancefloor to dizzying levels of exuberance as it powers on. Wicked stuff from Aus. Recommended.

Hitting the ground running in 2015, Huntleys + Palmers returns with a new DrumTalk release.

Following on from the success of his MASSIVE 'Time' release in 2014, DrumTalk is back with a 4 track EP of serious belters.

From slow-burners, to straight up peak time anthems, our favourite changes every time we hear them and we're sure you'll find your own one to treasure. Not much needs to be said really. Enjoy.

Mark Ernestus returns with his much lauded Ndagga Rhythm Force. Senegalese Mbalax derivatives in approved Rhythm & Sound-produced fashion. Four different mixes of one all-conquering riddim - "Yermande". The "Kick & Bass" mix is dead, dread rootsical with rootsman vox echoing through the track while Ernestus dominates the mixing desk, sending artefacts flying around the stereo field in true dub mode. Tight and tough drum rhythms and rampant percussion the main traits of the track, with a particularly sharp snare and conga sounds taking the lead through the arrangement. Side A concludes with an instrumental of the same version - doing away with much of the rootsman vox but adding extra embellishments on the mixing desk - Ernestus really getting to work on those delays and gated reverbs like a true dub wizard. "Prophet 5 Mix" is surely designed for the Berlin nightclubs as Ernestus cleverly and subtly works the Prophet 5's gratifying frequencies into the sonic tapestry; inflicting more of the legendary pair's trademark, ubiquitous sound palette into the cauldron. Again we're treated to a more dubbed out version, this one simply entitled "Prophet 5 Rhythm" which places the sharp, rhythmic synth nuances thoroughly at the forefront of the track, with the rabid percussion parts supporting it through its long and winding course. Exceptional stuff as Ernestus shows he's got all the poise and delicacy of a top surgeon, cutting and splicing so sympathetically and in-tune with the original vibe that you don't even notice. A true head-turner for the club. Recommended. 


Just Escape - Inc. Jacques Greene / Justin Martin Remixes

In the wake of Youandewan’s 'Spiral Arms EP', Will Saul’s Aus Music turn their attention from the established to the auspicious and present a brand new artist from the camp: Escape. Based in Glasgow, Escape is a fledgling talent whose cultivation amongst the ranks sees him now ready to drop the first of several EPs on AUS. His debut EP "Just Escape" is a poignant brew of delicately treated vocals, swooning strings and gut-wrenching melodicism. Backed up by remixes from the mighty Justin Martin and Jacques Greene this is a package that astutely straddles the bridge between pop and underground dance music - a skill which Aus have honed throughout their lauded and extensive anthology. The title track drifts atop a glacial bed as softly shifting strings are punctuated by Escape’s haunting croon before "Without You" blooms behind sportive synth work and jutting vocals that are underpinned by a vibrant 4/4 groove. Dirtybird regular Justin Martin mines deep into "Just Escape" and offers up a remix and a dub. Subtly permeated with some nifty sampling, his revision spotlights a vocal reprise that’s impelled by a low-end that punches in signature fashion. LuckyMe mainstay Jacques Greene weighs in with a prodigious take on the title track that churns and swells throughout its extended duration rounding up an enlivening insight into an artist that’s primed to make some serious headway throughout 2015.

This is a record about love and resistance. After the broken frigidity of ‘Classical Curves’, Jam City return with an urgent, fearless and strikingly sensitive album of modern pop songs, both crushingly heavy and glitteringly light.

Made by modest means, made by any means, the DIY origin of the record speaks to the artist’s faith in the power of music to not only transcend but also to confront, unsettle and suggest an alternative to the total colonisation of art by neo-liberalism. Always raw, always in the red.

There’s no question that you’re listening to the same artist responsible for some of the most intense and influential club tracks of the last 5 years, on an album that could only be realised by Night Slugs. ‘Dream A Garden’ is not a total break from the world of ‘Classical Curves’ but rather an inversion: what becomes of the people struggling to live and love beneath the chrome-plated, vacuous and superficial machinery that we must fight to see beyond?

While drawing on a diverse musical history (sound system guitar dynamix, punk, hip hop, grime, country, the gothic and the modern), ‘Dream A Garden’ remains rooted in the bleakness of the present: everyday life under the regime of high capitalism. Turning the avenues of lifestyle fascism we walk through everyday into psychedelic, surreal daydreams; Jam offers his songwriting as a coping mechanism, a form of rescrambling a landscape dominated by ideologies of selfishness and hatred.

Happy Skull's first release of 2015 comes from UK based artist Creta Kano, who first impressed with his 2013 debut on Rotterdam's Pinkman Records. He showcases his highly melodious and deeply textured sound across three tracks for the Bristol imprint.

'Skyway Motel' is an emotive, Detroit inspired amalgamation of warm chords and rolling drum machine rhythms. The track's romantic qualities are emphasised on 'Skyway 81', a screwed, pitched-down version that re-casts the original as a serotonin fuelled slow jam. 'False Water' completes the package. A sprawling trip in to broken techno territory, reminiscent of 90's era Rephlex.

Kode9 + The Spaceape

Memories Of The Future

The cherished vinyl releases of Kode9 with his Ragga poet partner The Spaceape and label-mate Burial for Hyperdub are rightly regarded as at the apex of dubstep evolution. Although steeped in the history of dubstep's formative days through his Forward)) and Rinse FM experiences, taken on their own Kode9's productions are a strain that seems to have developed separately from the rest of his capital colleagues. Owing as much to the dynamics of minimal techno and dub reggae, the sluggish, invasive riddims of "Backward", "9 Samurai" and "Kingstown" are unique amongst such a vibrant scene. Indeed, the sheer originality which they apply to of their cover of Prince's "Sine O' The Times" should merit it an instant classic to anyone's ears. The 14 tracks on this LP bring you up-to-date with Kode9's Hyperdub recordings so far and contains the same amount again of brand new material, which is more than enough to convert naysayers to dubstep's legitimacy.


2xLP Info: Double vinyl pressing includes previously unreleased extra track ‘Stalker (Alt Edit)’

Dego's 2000Black imprint continues to fly the flag for broken beats and jazz-influenced bass music in 2015. Lordamercy is the solo debut from Tatham, Mensah, Lord & Ranks member Matt Lord. While his work as part of the quartet (also on 2000Black) offers a deep nu-jazz sound, for 'New Guitar New Mars' he strips things back to the dancefloor essentials. A percussive 2-stepping rhythm, propulsive dancehall style sub bass, jittery keyboard line and guitar licks. It'll bring out your Greg-Wallace-eats-something-sweet face!

'Guitar Smash' goes deeper, with sublime inter-woven keyboard lines heading up skywards, crossing paths with a descedning bassline - a track that will rekindle your love of nu-jazz. Lastly 'Death Of Hercules' has a more organic sound, with squelchy synth bass underpinning jazz-funk keyboard chords, strings and a plethora of percussion.

Hotly tipped duo Maribou State are set to reach their most impressive apex yet in 2015. Newly signed to Counter Records (an imprint of Ninja Tune) they've just announced their debut album 'Portraits', due 1st June 2015, and new single 'Rituals'. Effortlessly marrying deep, resonant guitar licks and dishevelled synths riding upon loping breakbeats and overlaid with trademark deconstructed vocal dubs, ‘Rituals’ is a compelling introduction to the forthcoming album. Bonus cut 'Rituals (MS Edit)' beefs up its dancefloor credentials. A deeply soulful marriage of the organic and the synthetic, Maribou State's sound should appeal to fans of Bonobo etc.

Pearson Sound

Crank Call / Glass Eye - Extended Mixes Part 1

Part one of two 12"s with extended mixes from the debut Pearson Sound album. Cut at 45rpm by Matt Colton.

'Crank Call' fires up the 808 drum machine rhythms, pairing a rigid 4/4 kick and skeletal cymbals with syncopated percussion with an eerie sci-fi siren-like noise. 'Glass Eye' goes down the electro-tech route, with panned metallic acid echoes, top end digital interference and a body-funking rhythm stripped down to the bone.

Brooklyn's Person of Interest returns to L.I.E.S. after his widely celebrated "Call This Number" debut from last year.

Once again we hear POI delivering the goods on the subtle yet massive "What You Think You Want" with its phased flutes, sleazy vocal, and rough house beats. "Keep It Moving" does just that on the B-side, again with a slinky laid back and somewhat sinister feel, whereas "My 97s" almost has a grime / UKG kind of swing to it. Comes in an amazing full picture sleeve designed by Pete Leonard and POI. Dancefloor approved.

Piccadilly Records

Mono Colour Print - Black Tote Bag

    One colour 'mono' print (white) of the Piccadilly Records logo on a black tote bag.

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