Review: For their debut 12", freshly minted label Reflektion Tapes has pulled off something of a coup by signing up Von D, a storied producer who has released killer material on such imprints as Apron, Trojan Audio, Sub Freq and Black Acre. On this outing, the Frenchman showcases a pair of collaborative tracks. On the A you'll find "Dub Compulsion", a deliciously soulful, organic sounding hook-up with Deep Medi and Eglo sort Mizz Beats. While the crispy beats and bassline and suitably heavy, it's the wavering vocal samples and sparkling keys that really catch the ear. Former Diagrams man Mr Lager lends a hand on side two's "Some Other Place", a deep space fusion of delay-laden percussion hits, ultra-deep bass and swirling, intergalactic atmospherics.
Review: It's finally here... V.I.V.E.K launches a brand new label and, as the title suggests, it's something a little different to the deep 140 piledrivers his System Sound is known for. Two rootsical excursions and two killer versions, this is the sound of the System champion bringing things back to the source. The title track (featuring longstanding System MC Dego Rankin) is a warm dub jam, spaced for good measure. Flip for "Galactic" as V.I.V.E.K flings us further east on a ship powered by Oriental strings and another rolling dub groove that's designed to make rigs purr. Beautiful.
Firm & Strong (feat Murray Man & Ganja Tree - Disco mix) (7:07)
Firm & Dub (3:35)
Strong Dub (3:32)
Review: Get comfortable, light something fragrant and settle in for the night: Von D and Moresounds are back with more dub-wise dancefloor selections. Ragga/dancehall MCs Murray Man and Ganja Tree star on headline attraction "Firm & Strong (Disco Mix)", a hot-stepping, dub-fuelled dancefloor romp that sits somewhere between deep dubstep and the 4/4 stomp of UK steppas. The track's dancefloor dub roots are explored further on "Firm & Dub", whose ricocheting, delay-heavy musical flourishes ride an even tougher variation of the duo's killer groove. "Strong Dub" is, as the title suggests, an even wilder and more high tempo dub style revision that sounds like a mid '90s Iration Steppas jam.
D Double E - "How I Like It" (feat JME, Wiley, Chip, Lethal Bizzle & Baseman - remix)
Dizzee Rascal - "Wot U Gonna Do?"
Dpaz On The Map - "Mini Valet"
Skepta - "No Security"
Review: This time last year, Elijah and Skilliam joined forces to mix an on-point summary of the previous 12 months in grime. The mix CD was a roaring success, so they've come together once more to showcase the best grime tracks of 2017. Whether you're a relative novice or an old head, there's no denying the quality of the duo's selections. As bass-heavy and punchy as you'd expect, the mix moves between cuts from high profile scene veterans - think Skepta, Wiley, Dizzee, Jammz and D Double E - and fresher underground talents. Throughout, Elijah and Skilliam skillfully showcase grime's continued evolution, throwing in dancefloor slammers that borrow heavily from the tropical-tinged, up-tempo rhythms of UK funky and the bouncy shuffle of '90s UK garage.
Mungo's Hi Fi - "Rules Of The Dance" (feat Charlie P - JD remix)
Lamont & Boofy - "Walkin' Round Ere"
Gantz - "Temple Meads"
Ishan Sound & Rider Shafique - "Highest VIP"
Boofy - "LVX93"
Pinch & Kahn - "Send Out"
Jamakabi - "Hot It Up" (Kahn & Neek remix)
Jook - "Juice"
TMSV - "Shallow Breath"
OBF - "Ram Dance"
The Bug - "Fuckaz" (feat Spaceape)
Youngstar - "Bongo" (Kahn & Neek remix)
Kahn & Neek - "Acting The Goat"
Gemmy - "The Set Up"
Hi5Ghost - "Scorpion's Mask"
Young H - "We A Talk" (feat Dread MC & Rider Shafique - Ishan Sound remix)
Lemzly Dale - "No Long Talk" (Kahn & Neek remix)
Commodo - "S Is For Snakes"
Kahn & Neek - "Damascu"
Jabu - "Hungry Ghosts" (feat Chester Giles)
VMOS & Boofy - "Dial Ton"
Sir Spyro - "Topper Top" (feat Teddy Bruckshot, Lady Chann & Killa P - Kahn & Neek remix)
Kode9 & The Spaceape - "Ghost Town"
Review: The 90th installment of the long-running FabricLive series comes from Kahn & Neek, AKA Young Echno members Joe McGann and Sam Barrett. The 28-track mix-up is naturally heavy on material from friends and collaborators (Jabu, Pinch, Ishan Sound, Gemmy etc.), plus a swathe of their own productions and remixes. It offers a whirlwind tour of the Bristol duo's influences and inspirations, taking in paranoid, dubbed-out ambience, stoned trip-hop, sub-bothering grime, post-dubstep intensity, hard-to-define madness (Gantz's brilliant "Temple Meads"), dancefloor-burning ragga revisions, and mutant, wide-eyed post-R&B (the fantastic "Dial Ton" by VMOS and Boofy). In other words, it perfectly encapsulates the duo's club-rocking DJ sets, not to mention where Bristol's bass scene is right now.
Review: It seems fitting that the hundredth and final volume in the "FabricLive" mix series should also be its most hotly anticipated. Coming from heavyweight heroes Kode9 and Burial - whose previous back-to-back mix for Mary-Anne Hobbs' show eight years ago has reached near mythical status. The album is a wonderfully full-throttle and mixed-up affair, with the shadowy bass lieutenants giddily flitting between quick-fire sections focusing on South African gqom, footwork, Juke, vintage hardcore, early jungle and more contemporary dancefloor experimentalism, each broken up by typically blazed and paranoid ambient interludes and the occasional surprise selection. There's a lot going on throughout, but that only adds to the fun. In other words, it's a triumphant finale to a landmark mix series.
Review: Given dubstep's evolution of late, it can be difficult to find anything fresh. On this latest volume of Tempa's Dubstep Allstars series, scene veterans Silkie and Quest attempt to resolve this poser by joining the dots between the sound's past, present and future. So, there are bursts of roughness and the odd dubwise roller, but for the most part Dubstep Allstars 9 is a lesson in the deep, soulful and jazz-flecked end of the style. Most of the cuts come from Silkie and Quest's combined back catalogue, as well as the slick fodder put out by Mala on his Deep Medi imprint. That's not a criticism, though; by mining such a relatively narrow seam of material, the duo ensures that the mix has a smooth coherence that makes it hypnotically addictive.
Review: Om Unit takes it to the bridge once again. His label's first V/A collection since its evergreen "Cosmology Selections" in 2017, it's another vast plain ripe in sonic depths and textures from some of the most left-minded, boundary-fusing captains in the bass game. Featuring two crucial link-ups from the bossman himself with two kindred spirits Djrum and Synkro plus a whole cosmic cornucopia of voyages from the likes of Danny Scrilla, J:Kenzo, Vromm and stacks more, every track is a highlight in its own beguiling way. No label flares with the same level of dark vitality, there's more than enough for our brains to chew on right here.
Oris Jay & Chris Innasound - "Ghost & Darkness" (5:11)
Krust - "Escape From Finland" (3:39)
Au & Jesta - "Just Don" (5:36)
Danny Scrilla - "Clockwerkz" (4:52)
Von D - "Ah So Let It Go" (4:40)
Akcept & Another Channel - "Don't Believe" (6:16)
Monic - "Storm Doris" (4:53)
Review: Let's just list the amount of stone cold bass OGs on this collection: Krust, dBridge, Om Unit, Danny Scrilla, V.I.V.E.K, Von D, Moresounds, AU, Oris Jay & Chris Innasound and whole load more of soundsystem culture's most innovative craftsman working at the deepest levels of the low end coalface all feature on this immense and forward thinking document. Including the curator Amit himself. Every track is a highlight, each one and abyssal, immersive experience but essential highlights include the toxic bass bounces of Moresounds' "They Can't Handle It", the 23rd century UKG of Oris and Chris' "They Can't Handle It" and Krust's big screen masterpiece "Escape From Finland". Amit deserves a holiday. Or a massive trophy. Or both. Bass compilations don't get much bigger than this.