In this age of endless uploads and releases, trying to keep up with the flow can be pretty overwhelming.
That’s why every month we’re going to be highlighting some of our favourite tracks from the past four weeks. Our writers dig deep for big anthems and stuff that might have flown under the radar. Hopefully you’ll discover something new in each roundup.
This month we’ve got a compilation of unreleased material from Gantz, an angelic synth piece on PAN sub-label CODES, and a jazz-infused stomper on Peckham’s YAM Records.
1. Gantz – ‘extreme love’
Going against the highly exclusive “first-come-first-served” culture of sound system music, dubstep’s mad professor surprised fans last month with a densely packed compilation of unheard material via Soundcloud. Over six tracks, Istanbul’s Emi Rongun merges disparate layers of gruff bass, obscure samples and creepy toy box melodies into strangely beautiful works to add to his ever-growing catalogue of unusual beats.
While ‘extreme love’ features some of Gantz’s characteristic sounds, such as his favoured glockenspiel motifs and video-game “chomp”, there are plenty of fresh-sounding ideas that could, and perhaps should, have been made into fully-formed tracks. Nonetheless, it’s something for dedicated fans to chew on till the next release, and a great entry point for new listeners, as it neatly encapsulates everything that’s right – and weirdly wrong – about Gantz’s sound.
2. Lance Neptune – ‘Circle Rose’
US producer Lance Neptune is gradually gaining momentum, and rightly so. His first full length, Animal Eclipse, drew praise for its pulsating pads and luscious starry-eyed melodies, somewhat akin to Lone’s ‘Reality Testing’, who actually released this record on his own Magicwire imprint. Lance’s latest track ‘Circle Rose’ retains this sound, seeing dreamy synths intertwining with the gentle plod of drums and delicate shimmers from a rainstick. Keep him on your radar.
3. SKY H1 – ‘I Think I Am’
Following recent outings from Ling and Kamixlo, the fourth release from PAN sub-label CODES is perhaps their most dazzling yet. Belgian producer SKY H1 builds six effervescent pieces across Motion that hold all the intricacies of an artist with considerable years behind them. Standout is soul-stirring EP closer ‘I Think I Am’, which takes the elements of the preceding tracks and consolidates them into a three and a half minute celestial wonder. Speaking on Motion she said, “It’s about experiencing an intensely emotional time with a lot of ups and downs, and I think this is transparent in the way the tracks are ordered.” It’s fitting, then, that the final song is the most buoyant of the bunch.
4. Chaos In The CBD – ‘Background Explorer’
June saw Peckham’s You And Music Records drop YAM001, the first of the store’s own label excursions. Chaos In The CBD spearhead the aesthetic with two racy jazz tracks, creatively in line with their recent work for Mule Musiq and Rhythm Section. ‘Global Erosion’ is the standout cut, with beautifully frantic percussion that’s used to construct a solid lattice for a trumpet to lace in and around of. As always, the pair are intelligent in composition and arrangement, creating intricacy from minimal elements, whilst still maintaining listener interest throughout the track’s entirety. It’s the subtle differences introduced in the groove and melody – which are likely to go unnoticed first time around – that make this tune so infectious.
5. The Bug & D Double E – ‘Box’
Just look at D Double E’s iconic mug on the cover, framed by a swarm of coffins. Enough to make your heart catch in your throat if you’ve wronged the fella. ‘Box’ is one of those perfect pairings where, as soon as you’ve heard the results, you wonder why it hasn’t happened sooner. We’re told Kevin Martin wrote the riddim with D Double in mind, and it certainly sounds firmly welded to his nasal tone and idiosyncratic flow. The pressure is dialled down slightly from Martin’s usual ribcage assault, allowing the Newham Generals MC space to do his thing, but this lumbering, swampy track is still certain to rattle bass bins across the land. And ‘Box’ is just one thrashing neck of a 12″, the other half of the hydra being razor sharp Riko Dan team-up ‘Iceman’. Apparently more collaborations are one the way soon. I can hardly wait.
6. Fox – Musik EP
Following the trail of opening dust-settler ‘Chaos’, ‘Vacio’ sees Florentino work a minimal flip on the auto-tune heavy dancehall new school with blips, whines, gasps and a quietly thumping double time kick. Trigganom comes in for a brief, scattergun cameo which makes for a hypnotic effect when paired with Fox’s almost meditational way with a repetitive micro-hook – honed over years spent hosting dances on Manchester’s club circuit.
Elsewhere, on ‘Downtown Uptown’, there’s a lo-fi bassline to match the dancehall string strokes, Murlo’s unmatchably catchy way with a squeaky, squelchy melody, and Samrai’s natural rhythmic inflections – all topped off with mainstay Fox’s silky, half-sung spittle. It’s a UK funky anthem for the revival that never happened (yet).
Though Fox takes the main credit, the EP’s production is a team effort throughout and it’s this as much as anything that makes the whole thing well worth a listen.
7. Ishan Sound – ‘A Wa Yu Want’ feat. Rider Shafique & Miss Red [Kahn remix]
The formidable sparring partners have yet to miss a beat. Rider Shafique’s vocals are extra velvety on this one…
Featured image: Fox (Louis Reynolds), SKY H1 (Tina Herbots), Chaos in the CBD, D Double E