As promised earlier in the week, here’s the second installment of our bumper first issue of pick-your-own. Even more juicy bits to get your teeth into…
Perc & Truss – Spiker (Perc Trax Ltd)
Caustic acid power on the debut collaboration of two techno dons. Recorded live in one take with no re-edits or post-production processing, the three tracks are a deranged masterclass in off-the-cuff hardware techno. From the searing 303 rage of ‘Clapacid’ and ‘Spiker’ to the jilted groove of ‘Broken’, this is top shelf shit.
Unknown – WBG #001 (We Buy Gold)
The minds behind London’s leading footwork night We Buy Gold bring the noise with their first 12″ release. It’s a white label vibe, with three tracks of rinsing 160bpm served up by three anonymous producers. The warped, hardcore-inflected jungle-juke of ‘Bass 2 Dark’ is the clear stand out – raw as a sack of sushi.
Fokus Group – Nut Nut EP (Pennyroyal)
Since its March launch Untold’s Pennyroyal venture has fast become one of the go-to sources for balls-to-the-wall UK techno. Who better to help cement that reputation than Ben Sims and Paul Mac, stepping into Fokus Group mode for the label’s latest offering with four slabs of the hard stuff. Difficult to pick a winner on the ‘Nut Nut’ EP, but the impenetrable, old school vibe of ‘Rave X3 = Murder’ certainly lives up to its name.
J.Tijn – Flat EP (WNCL Recordings)
Another Pennyroyal alumnus, London upstart J.Tijn has impressed this year with his reinforced techno stylings. Debuting on WNCL this month his sound appears to have matured, balancing the uncut warehouse appeal of his previous output with some deft and dubby melodic touches on all four tracks. The soulful assault of ‘Flat’ is infectious and immediate, whilst ‘U U U’ evokes classic Dave Clarke.
Ben Pest – Spruce Superette EP ( Bonus Round )
A new sonic direction here for Ben Pest, pushing melodic elements to the forefront of this four tracker for Bonus Round, albeit with his usual off-kilter steez. Warm synth flourishes adorn varying strains of techno and house fodder, with the chugging space wonk of ‘Back To Bidnez’ being the one to watch.
Shigeto – No Better Time Than Now (Ghostly)
I’ve always liked the instrumentalist vibe laid by Shigeto, lot’s of percussion and resounding rhodes chords, through which he seems to combine the ‘deep’ with the ‘light’ perfectly. This album will resonate nicely (and not exclusively) with both fans of hip-hop and those more into general, ambient warmth. This is an excellent album, released on the ever-heavy Ghostly imprint. I’d say track 2, ‘Detroit Part 1’, would probably be my pick of the bunch, although it’s totally mood dependant with ‘No Better Time Than Now’ though.
dBridge – Move Way (R&S Records)
You can’t really go wrong with the Bridge releasing on R&S. It’s been a really solid year so far for both artist and label and ‘Move Way’ doesn’t disappoint. I think the title reflects the EP quite aptly actually; a direct, no nonsense attitude and keeping things simple. Darren dBridge has always been one for the rollers, to which this aligns, maybe leaning more on the deep tech side of things we heard from the Autonomic output.
Damiano von Erckert – Love Based Music (AVA)
This album by Damiano pretty much defines ‘eclectic electric’. As only the second LP for the young Colognian, he really has set the bar high for himself, a bar that he will no doubt maintain the height of…whilst high? His style is one of the most authentic in reaching back in to 70’s and 80’s funk and soul, lending it to house and hip hop tempos. Seriously, seriously recommend giving this a listen – even if it’s just for the sheer variety.
Om Unit – Sleepwalkers (Metalheadz)
Jim Om Unit is surely one of the best in the game at the moment and an incredible production talent. I’d put his drum work up there with that of label mate Reso, both of whom I would consider dons in that realm. His ability to work that clear-cut jungle structure and vibe into his own sound and then make it approachable to those who might not be that way inclined is highly commendable. I see this EP as a charged progression from ‘Aeolian’, released earlier in the year.
Alan Johnson – Goron Sound/Fickle (Blank Mind)
As a first release from Tom Neilan and Gareth Kirby a.k.a Alan Johnson (not sure if they’re big fans of the Labour politician?), I’m impressed and really looking forward to hearing more from the boys. Their style harks back to the days of those sketchy dubstep offsets, with gnarly drum arrangements and fluctuating basslines – both of which have been grasped nicely on Goron Sound and Fickle.
Four Tet – Kool FM ( Text )
A full on jungle revival will probably never materialise but thankfully I can make do with the current resurgence in popularity the amen break seems to be enjoying in bass and house circles. Like everyone else the upcoming Special Request album has got me all hot and bothered, but what I think is really interesting is this first cut from Mr.Hebden’s new ‘Beautiful Rewind’ LP. A glance over the Souncloud comments will tell you that the combo of light afro-beat kicks and tear out breaks isn’t for everyone but that’s part of the charm for me. Here’s hoping that Hebden finds room for some real amen steppers and dirty rollers in his upcoming 8-hour takeover of Fabric’s room 1.
Fatima – Technology (Eglo)
A preview from one of the albums I’m most looking forward to this year. Channeling the spirit of Dilla and Badu’s legendary Soulquarian collective, Fatima hooks up with Madlib’s brother Oh-No on this deliciously jazzy cut. I’ve been a fan of her sweet vox from the off, but what does it for me on this one is the double bassline.
Silkie – Daylight Savings from The Lost Tapes Vol. 1 (Deep Medi)
Given the tumultuous few year’s that dubstep’s image has endured, its easy to forget that there is still quality music out there. At the centre of this is Deep Medi, who have consistently delivered quality where others have faltered. This selection from Silkie’s excellent recently released compilation of new-old music is as good a reminder of that fact as I’ve heard in years, with the stalwart once again showing the delightful versatility of the sub-bass framework that is the genre’s cornerstone. Jazzy keys and pitched up synths colour this breezy roller from one of the best in the business.
Tom Trago featuring Steffi – Two Together ( Rush Hour )
The Dutch producers hardly reinvent the wheel here, yet when the parts deployed are this enduringly effective, concerns such as innovation can take a backseat. This is lean, mean filter house of the highest order, with Trago and Steffi occasionally unleashing a piano lick across the track’s thumping kick and clipped guitars for levity. Other strands of house may be more en vogue presently, but there is little denying the sheer impact of this pure, unadulterated form of the genre.
The Bug featuring Flowdan – Dirty ( Ninja Tune )
A welcome return from one of the most natural producer/vocalist pairings in electronic music, with Flowdan’s menacing nonsense sounding more than comfortable atop Kevin Martin’s muddy horns and punishing sub. Some may be slightly turned off by Flowdan’s occasionally bizzarre lyrical allusions to Barbie, Burger King and Tinie Tempah, but the rest of us can be left to marvel at how him and Martin manage to so effortlessly carry off sounding simultaneously intimidating and fun.