This month features drum and bass megastars, bass music upstarts and a whole bunch of bonkers brilliance. First up though, something deep...
DELS - 'You Live In My Head'
DELS is one of a number of MCs around at the moment whose introspective, experimental approach to making hip hop is serving as the perfect tonic to the commercial dross being delivered by messirs Stryder, Tempah and, sadly, Rascal in the UK charts. A track for thoughtful nights in as opposed to thoughtless ones out, this is headphones music in every sense and, while comparisons with friend and former collaborator Ghostpoet are understandable, DELS sets himself apart with a playful delivery all of his own. An homage to animator Oskar Fischinger, the video fits the music beautifully, with colourful shapes swirling around your vision in a way similar to how DELS' words wander through your mind. Stunning.
Calyx And Teebee ft. Kemo - 'Pure Gold'
The latest release from the now almost-so-close-we-can-smell-the-vinyl All or Nothing LP, this tune sees Calyx, Teebee and guest MC Kemo on absolutely devastating form. Starting on a hip hop flex, they flip the tune on its head around the two minute mark, switching things up to a typically tough, Brown Paper Bag-referencing drum and bass beat that, if you will pardon the quite woeful play on words, elevates the sound nicely. Lyrically, Kemo explores similarly sentimental themes to those on his and Lynx's classic Deez Breakz, on this occasion reminiscing about everything from the A-Team to Live Aid. The video sees the American-born, German-based rapper MCing his way around New York, with a cameo from legendary B-Boy Ken Swift adding to the old school aesthetic.
Trimbal - 'Confidence Boost (Harmonimix)'
There are some songs that are game changers, that impart something new upon your ears and as such are almost impossible to place into a genre, compare to the artist's contemporaries or even describe. This remix of a Trim instrumental by James Blake is one such piece of music. Having been floating around the internet for a couple of years now, its release has been a drawn out and hotly debated subject, with it finally being made available through the R&S imprint earlier this month, much to the delight of music fans everywhere. Sadly, the video isn't quite as good as the song. While it starts off with fairly standard footage of Trim rapping into the camera interspersed with some shots of ladies striking poses, it all takes a turn for the worse when Blake shows up. Looking, as a friend pointed out to me, "a bit like a constipated model for ASOS", he seems decidedly uncomfortable throughout, his presence adding absolutely nothing but distraction to what could be a powerful video. Worth watching for comedy value alone.
Arca - 'Manners'
Speaking of stunningly original music, this beat from Venezuelan producer Arca is an absolutely beauty. Ultimately serene but possessing a definitively darker edge, the breadth of emotion here is quite astounding, overwhelming in absolutely the best way possible. While I'm not even going to try and explain the video (it's flippin' mental), I can at least confirm that it doesn't feature Arca posing awkwardly in a warehouse while wearing a questionable shirt and grimace combination. Mr Blake, please take note.
Chase And Status - 'Big Man ft. Liam Bailey'
Saul Milton and Will Kennard return with another slice of big arena bass, this one featuring Blind Faith collaborator Liam Bailey and available for free download. The track is a riff-heavy, rawkkk 'n' bass number that will probably have many purists spitting acid, it being a long way from the band's dirty d'n'b beginnings. I doubt, however, that the duo give one sixteenth of a shit about that, as it has already been made record of the week by Zane Lowe and is sure to be a near-constant presence on our airwaves for the next month or twelve. The video sees an unseen raver play the song on his/her popular MP3 device and then embark on a night of dancing debauchery, a bit like the video for Smack My Bitch Up but with (spoiler alert) less girl-on-girl fighting and more Chase & Status.
Disclosure - 'Latch ft. Sam Smith'
Disclosure can do know wrong at the moment, everything they touch seemingly turning into piles of radio-friendly dance music people are falling over themselves to play and praise. Their latest offering continues this trend with a completely inoffensive slice of pop-infused bass covering the topic of love (or at least lust) at first sight. What might be offensive, however, is the video, achieving as it does levels of cheesiness greater than those found in the average fondue. Don't say I didn't warn you…
TC- 'Do You Rock?'
This release sees jump up don and all round dance destroyer TC continue on the path he started on this year's Bass By The Tonne EP. That release saw him explore, particularly on aptly-titled track New Style, some fresh ground that suggested a move away from typical d'n'b beats. This trap-leaning, robot-voiced stomper carries on in that vein and illustrates that, regardless of the style he's working with, any output by the producer is still likely to make people's feet move. The black and white shaded video starts with some useful annotations about what's going on in the song (kick… clap… snare…) before descending into a heady mix of bottom shaking and flashing text that asks us that all important question. On this evidence, TC still very much does.
Fourward and Body & Soul - 'No One Is Here ft. FILO'
This tune from Austrian buddies Body & Soul and Fourward is big on the atmospherics, something that will come as no surprise to those who have heard previous collaborations between the two groups. Tracks such as Authority, Spider and Comply To The Rules firmly established this lot as producers to watch a couple of years back and they've continued that form since, with this being a very powerful release indeed. The video is batshit crazy, with guest vocalist FILO sitting in an orb in the sky while some guy who looks a lot like Leland Palmer from Twin Peaks runs around looking a bit scary. I guess it's that time of year…
Monokle - 'Swan'
Yet another bit of bizarre here from Russian producer Monokle, who serves up a weird and wonderful piece of electronica that warps the mind and tugs the heartstrings with equal potency. A cleverly animated video of spinning planets and morphing kaleidoscopic shapes continues this month's theme of wacky visuals with wicked productions, being not that dissimilar to a couple of other entries on this list. Highly recommended.
Emery & Semi Sense feat. MC Fats & Umiko - 'Starchaser
A haunting slice of rolling rhythm with a typically soulful turn from the legendary MC Fats juxtaposed against the brittle tones of Lithuanian singer Umiko, this cut from Ambra Recordings is a suitable closer to this month's list. Considering what else has been served up over October, the video is a refreshingly normal affair, predominantly consisting of Umiko standing in a rather ominous looking corridor and singing into the camera. Having said that, someone does appear to have drawn some lines on her face with a permanent marker. Oh well...
Words: Jet Vevers
Aussie drum & bass producer Safire drops by for a chat and reveals where to download his Innerspace Audio track for free!
Check The Foundation With David Heartbreak
Brooklynite David Heartbreak is launching the Foundation EP on OWSLA, and reception has been hot so far. Blending hip hop with dance vibes, we wanted to investigate from the man himself.
Philth Pours Out His Heart Songs
More well known for his, well, filth, Philth has gone all romantic on us for his new EP. We chat basslines, waistlines and inspirations right here.
Goodlooking Meets Spotify
One of the most groundbreaking labels in the history of UK dance music has teamed up with one of the leading streaming services online. We bring you the info right here.
Digital Soundboy Set Sail For Boat Party
Digital Soundboy are at it again. Ship ahoy for a summer boat party, we've got the details here.
Emissions Festival 2013 Review
We check out 'West Coast Bass Culture' festival Emissions...
Love Saves The Day 2013 Preview Mix
In anticipation of what promises to be an awesome event, Hodge & Shandy have put together a preview mix for Love Saves The Day.
Clima Guest Mix And Free Track
Spanish production duo Clima have some big releases coming up, and to celebrate, they have a guest mix and a track to give away.
One World Many Cultures With David Boomah
He has gone and done it. The new album from David Boomah is out now, and of course, Kmag wanted to get the lowdown from the man himself.
Empress Guest Mix
Best known for her marathon genre-bending sessions behind the decks, Empress checks in with a heavy-duty guest mix and broad-ranging interview that spans the course of her career.
Swindle Lives For The Jazz
Swindle's new album is coming out on DEEPMEDi on June 16th. We caught up with the bass music jet-setter to discuss his work and the sense of achievement of the album's completion.
Bassclash Meets Dubstar
Leading dubstep label Dubstar is teaming up with Bassclash for a huge compilation album, out now. Find out more here.
With interest peaking in their upcoming London night, we find out more about the Innersoul crew, and what they are up to.
CM Sounds Competition
CM Sounds have some amazing music technology courses on offer. They are now teaming up with Kmag for a competition. We give you all you need to know right here.
Aural Imbalance Comes Out Of Plato's Cave
Aural Imbalance is one half of Out Of Plato's Cave, who have recently dropped an album on the Greta Cottage Workshop label. We speak to him about it here.