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02 Jan 2013

 

 

10.MR MAGEEKA – FLEX
(DISKOTOPIA – DSK013)

More freshness from the Tokyo-based Diskotopia label, this time in the form of the four track ‘Flex‘ EP from Mr Mageeka, who most of you will know from the stellar ‘Different Lekstrix‘ single on Numbers back in 2010. Following a prolonged radio silence, the London-based producer is back and in fine form delivering a slick set of bumpy grooves and space age synths.



9.DEECH – URNITE
(ACTIVIA BENZ – BNZ001)

Slugabed launches his new album ‘Activia Benz’ with an impressive EP from Belarusian  producer Deech. The four tracks that make up ‘Urnite’ display a deft hand at creating smooth, sensual and bumping hip hop, while Slugabed himself remixes the title track in inimitable style. Watch out for releases next year from 813, Arm Wtchs  Fngrs and Eloq.



8.DON’T PANIC – YOU
(ZOO MUSIC – ZOOMUSIC002)

Monki’s Zoo Music imprint returns for its second installment, leaving proceedings in the hands of rising Midlands duo Don’t Panic. ‘You’ and ‘Empty Space’ have already found support from Redlight, Huxley, Dusky and more with their raw, stripped back and seductive take on house.



7.JESSE BOYKINS III x Melo-X – I’M NEW HERE
(NINJA TUNE – ZENDNLS345)

‘I’m New Here’ is the latest single taken from Boykins’ superb collaborative album ‘Zulu Guru’ with Melo-X; the original is a brilliant slice of modern soul, while the remixes superbly bring it into a club context. Jaques Greene pulls off yet more dance floor alchemy as he creates a mournful house epic, Machinedrum injects it with a playful swing and lush synths and Ango completes the package with his minimal take on ‘Better For You’.



6.KOMMUNE1 – MOTUS / SHADOWKICK
(MAGIC WIRE – MAGIC05)

Kommune1’s debut release comes courtesy of Lone’s Magic Wire imprint off the back of support from the likes of Blawan, Ben UFO, Pariah and Happa. Lead track ‘MOTUS’ is led by a jacking 4x4 groove layered with chopped vocals and metallic riffs while on the flip ‘ShadowKick’ is driven by a similar motor, using its lurching 2 note bass line to surge the track forward over a pummeling rhythm.



5.THEFFT – FOCUS WHAT
(MADTECH RECORDS – KCMTDL007)

Hotly tipped talent Thefft rounds off Madtech’s standout inaugural year with the two-track ‘Focus What’ single. The title-track is a slick house groove backed by a pulsing bassline and shifting chords while ‘Third Year’’s jittery drum pattern works in unison with the tight stabs and deep bass to great effect.

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4.JEAN NIPON – PUT IT IN THE TRUNK
(CLEK CLEK BOOM – CCB008)

Next up on the burgeoning Cleck Clek Boom label is fellow Parisian Jean Nipon with a trio of intricately crafted bass heavy house mutations that nestle themselves nicely alongside CCB alumni like Chaos In The CBD, French Fries and Manare. Whether it’s the clipped finesse of ‘Put It In The Trunk’ the low slung bump of ‘Black Things On Desk’ or the powerful lurch of ’35 Thieves’, there is enough here to make this another worthy purchase from the label.



3.DUSKY – CALLING ME
(SCHOOL RECORDS – SCHOOL001)

In-demand duo Dusky come off the back of the success of ‘Flo Jam’ and ‘Henry 85’ with some of their darkest offerings yet to inaugurate the new School imprint. The title track is a deadly club cut fuelled by an insistent groove and pulsating bass. Vinyl only track ‘Muriel’ is sparser but no less effective offering an infectious bounce while the digital only ‘What I Do’ injects 2-step swing into the techno syncopations.



2.LAUREL HALO – SUNLIGHT ON THE FADED
(HYPERDUB – HDB068)

Following her divisive ‘Quarantine’ LP for Hyperdub in May, Laurel Halo has sneaked in a new 12” for the label before the end of the year. ‘Sunlight On The Faded’ is a more direct offering awash with romance and soul, stretching itself out across a bed of warm pads over which the skittering barely-there percussion flutters along dripping in the honeyed tones of the repeated vocal refrain. On the ‘Dub’ version things get weirder as Halo pares it down to a cavernous bass rumble and a sharper rhythmic edge.




1.THROWING SNOW – ASPERA
(SNOWFALL – SNFL002)

Rounding off an impressive year, Throwing Snow returns with the second EP on his newly minted Snowfall imprint, the follow up to the acclaimed ‘Clamor’ EP earlier this year. The four-track ‘Aspera’ EP is imbued with the same mastery of atmospherics and rich melodies that characterized the last release while drifting at an easier pace. The EP is a beautifully expansive affair that layers lush pads, icy arpeggios and warm bass notes.



BEST OF THE REST

ZANSHIN – MUDDLE IN THE MIDDLE
(AFFINE RECORDS – DIGAFF002)

Austrian producer Zanshin drops two slices of wondering, astral euphoria on Affine.



DENSE & PIKA – CRISPY DUCK EP
(HOTFLUSH – HFT027)

Dense & Pika’s debut EP for Hotflush comes packed with big grooves and  dance floor nous.



STICKY – PEDAL RIDDIM
(BIG DADA – BDDNL223)

Sticky returns to Big Dada with an infectious cut of rubbery house backed by a deadly 2-step rework in the form of ‘The Sequel’.



ALBUMS

3. STARKEY – ORBITS
(CIVIL MUSIC – CIV052)

Ever prolific, ‘street bass’ exponent Starkey returns with his third LP ‘Orbits’, this time for the London-based Civil Music label. Now largely removed from dubstep, ‘Orbits’ retains the hallmarks of Starkey’s sound melding grime, hip hop and more experimental structures into an expansive and heady cocktail of lush synthwork, big drums and rounded bass lines.



2. KRTS – THE DREAD OF AN UNKNOWN EVIL
(PROJECT MOONCIRCLE – PMC108)

‘The Dread Of An Unknown Evil’ is the debut album from NY producer KRTS, released this month courtesy of Project Mooncircle. Over ten tracks the album explores KRTS’ emotive, organic and compelling style of electronica, touching upon hip hop, dubstep, house and jazz along the way.



1. RUFF SQWAD – WHITE LABEL CLASSICS
(NO HATS NO HOODS – NHNH1005CD)

No Hats No Hoods have taken upon themselves the massive task of collating and repackaging some of seminal grime crew Ruff Sqwad’s seemingly endless vaults of instrumentals as ‘White Label Classics’. Showcasing the pioneering style of their productions, the album takes a journey through their unique vision of grime, stopping off at countless classic tracks on the way.


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