Here's our guide to the very best bass music from November 2012. Featuring reviews of releases by Geiom, Happa, Wife, Flako and Scratch DVA.
SINGLES / EPS
10. HAPPA - BEAT OF THE DRUM / BRING IT BACK (CHURCH - CHURCH001)
Already counting Mary Anne Hobbs, Loefah and Four Tet as fans, it is safe to say that 15-year-old Leeds based producer Happa has quickly made his mark. Here he teams up with London club night-come-label Church for his debut EP proper, featuring two original tracks backed by remixes from Throwing Snow and Church residents Apes and Seb Wildblood.
'Beat The Drum' is a razor sharp clatter of overloaded drums and skittering percussive edits while 'Bring It Back' is a low-slung powerhouse driven by deep subs and snaking synth lines. Throwing Snow spins 'Beat The Drum' into a flurry of rattling footwork rhythms while Apes & Seb Wildblood open up 'Bring It Back', ironing out its kinks in favour of a more linear house approach.
9. WIFE – STOIC (LEFT BLANK - LB006)
Never ones to conform, the latest release on Left_Blank comes from black metal band member turned solo electronic producer Wife, and the results are perhaps not what that career path might suggest. The 'Stoic' EP is a collection of beautifully understated and delicate tracks that weaves together live instrumentation with warped layers of electronics.
EP opener 'Bodies', the dark video for which premiered earlier this month, pairs a winding guitar melody with a muffled drum shuffle and hushed vocals to stunning effect. Elsewhere 'Circles' is a more propulsive offering led by its percussive flutter while the deconstructed rhythms of 'Endings' are layered over a powerful bass rumble.
8. FLAKO – ECLOSURE (FIVE EASY PIECES - FEP006)
Next up on the burgeoning Five Easy Pieces label is Germany-raised, London-living beatmaker fLako who steps up to the plate with the four track 'Eclosure' EP. Brimming with spritely melodies, hollow rhythms and ethereal vocals, this is some of his most accessible and pop-minded work yet.
There is plenty to be enjoyed in the cascading chimes on 'Honey Drips', 'Mating Dance''s slinky, tropical-tinged grooves and sensual horns and the light-footed breeze of 'Lion's Mane', but it is the title track that provides the standout moment on the EP with its warping, alien synth line and stuttering drum beat.
7. MY PANDA SHALL FLY & WILL WARD EP (XVI RECORDS - XVI001)
XVI Records open their account with a unique collaborative EP from My Panda Shall Fly and Will Ward exploring the deeper realms of analogue electronic music. Opener 'British Princess' is the most club-focused of the three, albeit in its skewed form; pitting a raw, incisive groove against heavy layers of ambience and detuned synths, it veers right off the grid into peculiarly hypnotic territory.
'Caves' is a darker, dubbed out affair operating at a hazy intersection of musical frequencies while 'Giant Shoe''s stumbling shuffle continues down this path, swept up in a wash of delicate synths.
6. BENEATH - ILLUSIONS EP (KEYSOUND - LDN034)
Having quietly emerged from the shadows with a succession of impressive white labels on his own No Symbols imprint, Beneath now joins the Keysound roster with a 2 x 12” 6-track EP, 'Illusions'.
Lean, limber and incisive, the tracks skulk and snake their way through the speakers with unfaltering focus, recalling the stripped back force of grime, the eerie malaise of dubstep and the percussive energy of UK Funky. Often reduced to one singularly powerful muscular flex, the tumbling rhythms, hollow tribal percussion and haunting atmospheres prove consistently effective.
5. DRO CAREY - N.R. (TEMPLAR SOUND - TSWL01)
Following the inauguration of their vinyl adventures with the recent Hensen 12”, this release marks the first in a series of grime white labels for Templar Sound. Produced by fellow Australian Dro Carey, 'N.R.' is a darkside instrumental that takes influence from hip hop and grime in equal measures. Driven by deep bass hits and ticking hi-hats, the otherworldly string section and greazy, lumbering bass line provide the fatal punch.
The A-side features a vocal from Family Tree man MC Merky Ace who goes in hard, finding new rhythms in the beat and attacking it with venom. The instrumental features on the flip alongside a remix from grime forefather J.Sweet who flips it into a snarling 8-bar riddim driven by the leading snares and distorted bass.
4. KRAMPFHAFT - FIRST THRESHOLD EP (RWINA RECORDS - RWINA020)
Having laid down the gauntlet with his debut EP for the label at the tail end of last year, Krampfhaft is making a long-awaited return to Rwina with the follow up 'First Threshold' EP. Approaching the dancefloor with the same skewed viewpoint and fully realized production style, this EP builds on the last brilliantly.
From the expansive synth burst of 'Marram' to the agitated synth work and tight rhythm section of 'Twin Prime' and the bubbling hip hop of EP closer 'Bones', Krampfhaft one again proves that he simply sounds like nothing else out there.
3. PEDRO 123 - SLUSH EP (GET SOME - GSR005)
Following a series of well crafted remixes, young talent Pedro 123 has joined forces with Get Some for his debut solo EP. Lead track 'Slush' has already been picking up a lot of support doing the rounds as a dub and perfectly encapsulates his sparse, colourful take on grime. Anchored by the fidgety, bare bones percussion and splayed by its plunging bass tones, Pedro teases out an icy synth riff that skitters across the top to keep up the momentum.
'Jetpack Joyride' is a more structured production, offering up slinky 2-step rhythms and a warping niche-style bassline while struck through with the same brilliantly skewed perspective as the A side, never more than one bar from falling apart completely. Sheffield via London producer Checan completes the package with his remix of 'Slush'. Slickly embellishing the synth line at the core of the original, he employs a bumping 4/4 rhythm and hefty low end to carry it home.
2. BOODY & LE1F - LIQUID EP (BOYSNOIZE - BNR088)
Following the release of his 'Dark York' mixtape, Leftfield NY rapper Le1f has joined forces with production partner Boody on the one-off 'Liquid' EP for Boysnoize Records. Featuring a selection of fluid, disorientating beats and sporadic vocal contributions, the EP delivers a cohesive and distinctive aesthetic that provides plenty of standout moments.
Opener 'Jelly Fish' is a loose formation of submerged synths and splashing rhythms that acts as a good entry point to the EP before 'Buoy' travels into the deepest, darkest subterranean chambers.
Lead track 'Soda' is the most direct of the tracks letting Le1f take centre stage over a sparse instrumental while 'Sweet Tea' is more upbeat percussive effort. Remixes come from Cedaa and Mike Q & Divoli S'vere who take them straight on to the dance floor with propulsive rhythms and choice sampling.
1. SCRATCHA DVA - FLY JUICE (HYPERDUB - HDB066)
Having released his debut album 'Pretty Ugly' earlier this year to pretty much universal praise, Scratcha clearly hasn't wasted any time getting back in the studio as he drops new EP 'Fly Juice' on Hyperdub.
The four tracks which feature on the double vinyl pack are precision tooled for the dancefloor. Title-track 'Fly Juice' is an addictive combination of stuttering drums, smooth Rhodes licks and manipulated vocals. Up next, 'Do It' lets the building chords dictate the track's swing as the drums build around them.
'Walk It Out' is a devastatingly simple yet effect march while 'Long Street''s alien synths and galloping rhythm complete the package. The digital package comes with an additional four tracks featuring a collaboration with Inga Copeland and a devastating remix of 'Ganja' from French Fries.
BEST OF THE REST
FYBE:ONE - HARP EP (THE REMIXES) (SHADES OF GREY - SHADES007)
Extensive, diverse and top quality remix package taken from Fybe:One's 'Harp' EP for Shade Of Grey.
S.E.F. - AUTONOMY EP (SWITCHED ON - SOR002)
Three tracks of rugged, low-slung house from Switched On Recs boss S.E.F.
ROSES GABOR – STARS (GIRLS MUSIC - GIRLS009)
Stunning debut EP from Roses Gabor featuring two slices of astral RnB brilliance.
SHADOW CHILD & HORX - BORDERTOWN ft. TK WONDER (APOLLO RECORDS - AMB1210)
Warped half-step fire here from Shadow Child & Horx backed by quality remixes from Gacha and Synkro.
ARKIST - TWO NIGHT STAND (INHALE - INHALE004)
A welcome return from Arkist for Inhale veering from light-footed 2-step to raw techno with ease.
3. KIDSUKE – KIDSUKE (PROJECT MOONCIRCLE - PMC107)
Kidsuke is the international collaborative project between Kidkanevil (UK) and Daisuke Tanabe (Japan) who have released their self-titled debut album on Project Mooncircle this month.
The sixteen-track album is a stunning journey through hip hop, electronica and ambient productions. Bathed in a soft glow from start to finish, its fractured rhythms and music box melodies are expertly executed and aglow with an endearing naivety.
2. GERRY READ – JUMMY (FOURTH WAVE - 4TH007LP)
Since first emerging in 2010 with a promising debut for Dark Arx, a series of woozily hypnotic, esoteric productions for 2nd Drop, Delsin and Fourth Wave have marked out Gerry Read as one of the most precocious and unique artists working within the realms of house and techno.
Having completed a trilogy of stellar EPs for Ramp Recordings offshoot Fourth Wave last year, the enigmatic, media shy producer has now unveiled his debut album for the label, 'Jummy'. The LP showcases Read's nebulous, deconstructed take on house at its finest and is a firm substantiation of his ample talents.
The raw rhythmic structures collide with hazy synths and inventive sampling, taking club tropes and warping them into new otherworldly shapes as Read subverts the dancefloor's stranglehold for something difficult, uncompromising and often brilliant.
1. GEIOM - BLACK SCREEN (FRIJSFO BEATS - FRJCD001)
One of the few consistently exciting proponents of underground electronic music's variant strains, through his work under the Geiom and Hem monikers, as well as his curation of the Berkane Sol imprint, Kamal Joory has insistently pushed new and interesting sounds that pay no heed to current and fleeting trends, preferring instead to focus on doing his own thing entirely.
Returning with his first album since 2007 LP 'Island Noise', 'Black Screen' proves his music remains as vital and inventive as ever. Working his characteristically intricate drum patterns and deeply idiosyncratic sense of melody, the album moves across a broad spectrum of sounds while retaining the innate soul and ability to evoke feeling through his songwriting that have always made his music stand out from those that could be considered his contemporaries.
Broken up by the Hem tracks, the album rattles through sounds and tempos, taking in a breathless stream of kinetic rhythms and warped synths along the way.
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