As the height of Summer has passed and the scorching British weather fades out, all eyes are geared on August bank holiday weekend, which is typically a slow month for releases. July was particularly strong however and this is represented in our writers’ round-up of the best on offer, one release was so good in fact, it features twice. Read on for last month’s treasures, with a dynamic assortment of Experimental Electronica, slick Disco cuts and weighty R&B.
Though Grime is undeniably the soundtrack of the 2015 UK Zeitgeist, many would have you believe the narrative of the past 10 plus years was Grime’s breakout success, followed by a reign of ‘Road Rap’ spearheaded by Giggs (the rapper has voiced his disdain for the shoddy term in the past) and then back to the dominance of Grime. This is simplifying things. Whilst the Grime sound has made a widespread resurgence into mainstream consciousness – and with legions of hungry young spitters taking the sound into exciting new territories (see Jammz, AJ Tracey, K9) – UK Rap is stronger than ever, without the need for established music press. Instead, it’s played out across hugely popular YouTube channels like Link Up TV, Pacman TV, GRM Daily and still, to an extent – SBTV.
Here we have one of the biggest tracks of this year – featuring the most vital young rappers at the moment, from north, east and south London. Seasoned Mashtown affiliate J Spades is on the chorus, displaying his penchant for the most infectious hooks about. MoStack and J Hus are standout features, further cementing themselves as two of the most important solo artists in the UK scene right now.
It’s been almost two years since Jessy Lanza treated us to her outstanding debut album ‘Pull My Hair Back’, which combined her Pop-focused songwriting abilities with an ear for more left field sound palettes and song structures.
Her new EP ‘You Never Show Your Love’, contains one of her most alluring yet chilling numbers to date. Whilst Lanza’s always had a firm grasp of airy hooks, the beef of DJ Spinn and Taso’s production adds a new dimension to her sound. Refreshingly simple in arrangement, the title track is a prime example of why less is often more, especially when the core ideas are so strong. Tumbling subs and low-slung plucked bass offer an abundance of groove, and the silky guitar solo is hypnotising. Her next full-length can’t come soon enough.
One for the steppers – club fire brought to you by Young Echo’s very own Ishan Sound. This is back to back dubplate material that has been doing the rounds and rewinds with Ishan for nearly a year now finally pressed and sealed for us. To top it off he’s entered the ring with renowned sparring partner Rider Shafique, who’s precise delivery and soft tone adds unexpected heart and ample swag to Ishan’s club cuts.
The New Zealander Oliver Perryman’s debut album and Loopy label’s debut LP sets the bar unnervingly high for those to follow. It is bestial and yet delicate – its gargantuan subs and crashing swashbuckled sounds are a juggernaut of destruction bursting through the seams of an unspoilt, organic cosmos leaving nothing but the starry shards of its damage in its wake. Monstrous, uncompromising, and unlike anything you will have ever heard before.
As a self-proclaimed recording artist, DJ and label manager, programmer, producer, ad music writer and film sound tracker, you could say Scott Moncrieff is the very definition of ‘factotum’ or, in other words, a genuine jack-of-all-trades. He’s an illusive sort too, which is why it’s surprising his newest release comes via ‘Classic’, an imprint founded by big guns Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon. Don’t let that cloud your judgement though. This EP presents four ripe Deep House shiners; proper, driving grooves, each with a juicy old-skool feel from decades gone by. The irresistibly soulful “In Bed With You”, with a beautiful clutch of lyrics from Pete Simpson, takes the biscuit.
Like missionaries of a precious ‘re-edit renaissance’, Disco Deviance possess an unwavering dedication to reviving and restoring the timeless bounty served up by some of music’s finest ambassadors from eras gone by. In doing so, they produce beautifully mastered versions of tracks built around a raw passion for the music and its wellbeing. Come rain or shine, their material goes down a treat whatever the weather, but servicing and delivering two fizzing edits for the height of summer really is naughty. The man responsible here is new kid, Love Drop, who’s rekindled two rough and ready Disco cuts in quite fine style.
Six full-size slabs from Bristolian sparring partners Ishan Sound and Rider Shafique, this time taking a darker turn for the first double-pack from Hotline Recordings. Vinyl only, it’s 360 grams of dread weight: from the scattered whipcrack snares of lead track ‘Militant Mindset’ to the grimier-still Dancehall nod of ‘E.O.D.’ or the trippy synth interplay on ‘Rivet’, it’s deeply hypnotic from start to finish – and perhaps even feels like it’s over too quickly as a result.
K-Lone is a producer truly coming into his own – no doubt assisted by the freedom of having his own imprint to release on, in the form of the young but increasingly excellent Wisdom Teeth that he co-runs with fellow champ Facta. ‘Broke’ has the acid swagger and percussive precision that has made the likes of Akkord or Pangaea so intriguing yet difficult to replicate in recent years. On the flip, Etch takes a dose of something drowsy (hence, we imagine, the title) and chops his breaks in slow motion with a groovy nonchalance that only he could get away with.
Couldn’t avoid this one in July. Icelandic artist Bjarki delivers this instantly memorable dancefloor bomb on Nina Kravitz’s трип (Trip) imprint. The roiling energy here never lets up, maintaining a fever pitch throughout. That textured DJ Deeon sample never leaves your head once it’s there. Big room festival Techno at its finest.
Possibly the track of the summer. Direct yet playful House from Matthew Herbert on Parisian club night turned label Concrete Music, as part of their ‘Textures’ series. Love the tense rippling throughout ‘Earthenware’. This track could last forever and I’d never notice. Another special piece of music to add to Herbert’s phenomenal track record.