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BLACK BEACON SOUND

It's the end of a busy and stressful year for Sheffield / Liverpool electronic pioneers, Black Beacon Sound. Having released a 7" every month for the whole of 2017 (or thereabouts), with each one being released digitally, with extra content (and each one featuring a remix by an undeniably talented producer), they have decided to make all of these superb remixes available on a drool-inducingly beautiful double 12" emblazoned with their eye-catching and iconic logo and sleeve design. 

It's a beautiful package in itself, but focusing on that is obviously doing an injustice to the superb work put in by all the producers to create this mindblowing excercise in cohabitational production and community-minded collaboration. 

We kick things off with the glitched hip-hop aestetics and stoner haze of the Mad Wash rework of Zen The Sharpshooters' 'Every Lil' Bit', bringing the hot-boxed haze and relaxing the muscles before The Fire Beneath The Sea's 'Error Correction' sees a pitch-bent funked-out remix, grounded with insistent shuffled hi-hats and wah'd out guitars, before the legendary Galactic Funk Milita's festival vibe is chopped into a syncopated latin stomp for a rubberlips rework. 

On the flipside, David J Boswell's haunting electro-folk goes full dubstep in the more than capable hands of the forward-facing electronic euphorics of Liverpool electronic virtuoso, Afternaut before Denham Audio bring forth a clattering industrial fractalisation of Hang Syem's 'Frontier J'. 

The following track is possibly my favourite on the compilation (but with enough material on here to keep even the most diverse of tastes more than happy, I expect yours will be different), and comes from Sheffield wunderkind, Yak. Snappy percussion and perfectly measured electronic stabs bring a disphoric syncopation to the already excellent 'Wicked Sound' by Grievous Angel. 

Onto the final side now, (the last being blank for you to admire the gorgous sky-blue marbling) and R. Lyle takes Apta's 'Tides' and breaks it down into a simmering futuristic haze of reversed reverbs and hazy throbs, before the arshaw remix of my personal favourite release of the lot, in Bemp's 'Minotaur', culminating in a psychedelic propulsive stomper, courtesy of the aforementioned Yak and YAKONA. A match made in heaven. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Black Beacon have culminated their journey in a fittingly epic and ridiculously efficacious summary of their dedication to the independent music industry with this stunning double LP. A journey in every sense of the word, and a superb flipside to their already mindblowing releases.

Yak

BBS012EP

    For this newest outing on Black Beacon's run of killer 7's, young whippersnapper and all-round musical mastermind Yak smashes out a couple of fractured but rolling bassy electronica numbers. 

    First up, we get the skittering percussion and ambient scratches of 'Viggy', rhythmically leading the way into a throbbing deep dubby techno breakdown, replete with jagged glassine truncated drum samples and throbbing TM-404-style acidic throbs. Ambient enough to sneak away into the background, but pull your attention back when that euphoric build-up starts to form. The rapid change from avant ambience into a body-rolling 4am groover is a rapid, but perfectly calculated beast. 

    Next up, and 'Marieta' keeps things low-key in the first instance, once again trading in bit-crushed percussive stabs before relaxing into a steady militant groove. Slowly segueing from syncopated percussion into a full-strength technoid workout, adding elements and abstracting others until the morph is complete. 

    Cleverly sequenced, brilliantly written, and perfectly produced. Another winner for BBS. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Brilliant release this, deep rolling bass, pulsing synths and clicking syncopated percussion. Imbued with influences from all over the electronic spectrum, and put together with panache and style. And to think when I was his age, I couldn't even find my hoodie.

    Welcome to the world of Apta, a green and pleasant land of gaussian curves, computerised flowers and sequencial bliss. Public services arrive right on time, currency is nonexistant and the humble egg sits at its rightful spot at the top of the culinary ladder. This world is inhabited with beautiful people, blessed with flawless digital skin, an innate understanding of Simlish and the kind of conical appendages Core Design could only dream of. This is a happy place, these are happy people and theirs is a modular god. Far above the binary boulevards, Apta sits at peace on a cloud of peach-scented vapour, gently tweaking the dials, flipping the switches and triggering the samples which keep his universe in balance.

    Building from pinging, woody bleeps and delicate digichord, 'Incident 15' marks the stately progress of the flying trains, guiding the future commuters out of the citiscape into the pastoral paradise beyond. Cheering in arpeggiated delight, our bitmap buddies applaud their deity, drinking in the pulsating bass, soaring sine waves and snapping percussion eminating from above. 

    Wonderfully tired after another perfect day, this happy crowd relax to the moonlit melodies of "As Good A Place As Any", an electronic lullaby led by music box chimes, enriched by cinematic sequences and enhanced by intuitive rhythms.

    Sleep tight people of Apta, and let the Tamagotchi's look after you...

    Bit of a different format this time for BBS, with their latest outing coming on a FULL 12" of pleasure. The Persons Of Technologically Unidentified Status (POTUS) smash it with a sextuplet of throbbing techno, airy house and all-round danceable vibes.

    'Ghetto Trump' mixes up a throbbing percussive backline with a repeated sliding sine wave, growing into the introduction of robotic snippets and ever-increasing percussive intensity. It's the classic house drum loops that really place this in the realms of classic Detroit fare, but remains brilliantly satisfying throughout. 

    'Trump Dat' brings the acid with a snarling 303 and thudding kick taking the lead before introducing rapidly chopped vox from the man himself, a-la cassetteboy's infamous political mash-ups. It's a dancefloor number if ever there was one, with the BPM never dipping below a respectable 130. 

    As we flip over, we get the slightly more spacey (but reassuringly driven) 'American Carnage', with crushed rhythmic single-note synth excursions growing with a grain-delayed percussive line backing it up with ever-expanding force before phasing into a militant, acidic outro. Then it's on to the foery closing duo of 'Feel My Trumpin' Bass' and 'Trump That Body', with the former's cinematic scope and kaleidoscopic intensity being nicely mellowed with the game OST vibes of the latter. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A bitingly conceived selection, full of stunning dancefloor moments and impeccably constructed rhythmic fire. Get it while it's still here folks!

    The Fire Beneath The Sea

    BBS008EP

    It's always a great day when Black Beacon Sound bring us some new records for sale, and we have a few belters this time. 'BBS008EP' comes courtesy of The Fire Beneath the sea, smashing out a heady mix of hip-hop, horn-led ska and funk. 'Hips Go Wild' kicks off with a calypso rhythm, before being quickly joined by a frantic bass lick and snappy horns, before the frantic vocal flourishes expertly ride over the top of the rapidly eclectic instrumental. It's a journey lurching from skittering vocal hip hop into a half-speed solemn redux of the original riff before coming back once again, bursting with every bit of the original energy. 

    Flipside, 'I Am' showcases the brilliantly effervescent vocal athletics this talented bunch are capable of. Snappy vox, brilliantly clever lyrics and funked up to the max. There's some hugely talented turntablism going down in the breakdowns too, this one just keeps moving until the end, making it feel much more epic than it's short four minute length. A killer duo, and antoher winner for BBS. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: It's hard not to move your hips when this one gets going, reminiscent of old-school hip-hop, with snappy ska horns and body-shaking rolling basslines. They are many in number this bunch, but all of the skill going on makes it seem unbelievable there could be any less than 100 people at the helm (there is less than 100). Either way, it's ace.

    A duo of funky strutting numbers from the Galactic Funk Milita via Sheffield's Black Beacon Sound. On the first part of the Dance Floor Grinder duology, the strutting snappy percussion and super smooth vocal delivery (both rhythmic and melodic) roll around the funked-out rhythmic backline, before peaking in a cacophony of frantic horns and perfectly executed drum licks. 

    The second side bring a rubberlips remix, breaking down into more of an instrumental redux, with phasing and instrumental solos taking centre stage, backed by the vox rather than led by them. The wig-out peak hits after a few blissful minutes, breaking down into it's component parts before juddering and fading away. A fantastic remix, taking the component parts and inverting them into a fresh take whilst still retaining the heat of the original. 

    The ever-reliable Black Beacon sound hit us once again with this funked out cosmic take on synth tron. 'Minotaur' begins with a luxy sounding smooth-as-silk half-speed synth arp and twists and turns around that theme before cutting into a blistering jazzy rework of the original minor-key refrain. Adding swooning keys and sunny guitars to back up the blisteringly effective filtered vocal cuts. Bright with bit-crushed melodies and soaring oscillators, skillfully placed reverbs and fragmented horns, this is a brilliantly exciting journey, constantly changing but melodically cohesive. 

    'Jontypops' begins in a smililarly misleading manner, giving the impression of a techno dancefloor number before launching unceremonoiusly into a hazy summer-day disco abstraction, complete with swooning echoed vox and glitched out acoustic guitar loops. A storming duo, and one that needs to be heard to be believed. 



    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Dancefloor thump, carpenter-esque synthery and sunshine disco sounds, it's all here and it's all done with absolute grace and overwhelming technical mastery. A summer classic.

    Black Beacon Sound bring it for their second release on this flourishing label. Hang Syem trade in swinging analogue house, brimming with 909 kicks and atmospheric synth swells. 'Frontier J' heads straight for the dancefloor, bringing gutsy analogue kicks and shuffled hats together with infrequent cosmic bass throbs and scattered vocal snippets. The flipside is a slightly more atmospheric affair, swapping out the 4-to-the-floor kicks with an afro-tinged percussive shuffler. The vocal shards are still present, but gated by the skittering hats this time to give a sense of space, and room to focus more intently on the minimalistic and hypnotic rhythmic counterpoint. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Another fantastic outing for this fledging label. This time around we get minimal housey atmospherics and dusty drum machine workouts. If they keep this up, they'll have a huge following in no time.


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