A track-by-track guide to StabUdown’s new Tombstone Trance compilation


Tombstone Trance Vol. 1 is a collection of new and unreleased tracks from a varied cadre of producers wholly dedicated to the plastic arts, described by the label as “15 maniacal missives ranging from white knuckled bangers to woozy low end bangers to deep inner space anti-banger bangers.”

Headed up by Cleveland producer James Donadio, known to operate under his Prostitutes and StabUdown Productions aliases, the compilation follows his own Strange Rabbits LP that he released earlier this year.

With new works from Kerridge, Powell, Koehler, Vanity Productions, Piezo, East Side Ancients and more, we catch up with label chief James as he gives us a run through the record, detailing the stories behind how tracks were made and more.

1. StabUdown Productions – ‘StabUdown IntrodUction’ – I’m obsessive compulsive about intros on albums so there’s not much inspiration behind this track.

2. Piezo – ‘Sponge Effect’ – There was no doubt this had to kick off the comp. It’s woozy, serpentine groove is almost disorientating. That’s the best way to start out… make the listeners unsure of whatever expectations they may have. All of Luca’s tracks ooze personality and sound like nothing else in the current Bass scene. He is truly one of a kind… which is the best kind.

3. C.L.A.W.S. – ‘Scrappy Industrious FU’ – The truest of heads! I was sent a few selections to choose from but the second I heard the looping staccato stabs on this track I screamed like I was bitten by a wasp. To be honest, I played this one about 5 times in a row and didn’t bother with the others. Sorry Brian, I’m sure they were all great!

4. TML – ‘Goshun’ – This heavyweight cut is a molar cracker! I swear you can see an indentation in the disc if you look close enough. It’s odd… I have no recollection of how I met Peter. I’m just glad I did. I do know we had a fabulous brunch together in Cleveland.

5. Koehler – ‘Below Andromeda’ – Dan is by far my favorite producer. Every release he has put out is fucking brilliant. This sprawling jam is just another example of his singular vision of a world where Zelda put out records on Good Looking in 1995. We met years ago at Unsound in Krakow and bonded over our mutual love of Drum n Bass and Grateful Dead. I’ve bothered him on WhatsApp every day since.

6. Kerridge – ‘Death Is Upon Us (live cut)’ – The Madchester legend reworks one his deadliest classics and somehow makes it more lethal. I love Sam. Everyone loves Sam. (Especially Sam)

7. Long Bastard – ‘Send’ – A brand new project with the poet laureate of Bristol, chester giles. When I first head his tender voice on an ASDA record I swore on a stack of Linton Kwesi Johnson LPs I would work with him. There is more to come.

8, Bad Tracking – ‘Arnos Veil’ – A big hairy monster of a jam. Gordon and Max make true Electronic Body Music… The electronics are straight out of Radio Shack circa 1985 and you see more of their bodies at their live performance than you ever wished. This cut contains 100% saturated static and is so dense your muscles will ache.

9. Prostitutes – ‘Destiny Rush’ – Once upon a time I thought it would be hilarious to make a straight up Trip Hop track. Somehow this thing happened. Joke was on me.

10. East Side Ancients – ‘New Happy Fortune’ -The pivotal point of the comp where mood starts to slowly shift. Love how this jointly and separately showcases both Kevin and Paul’s unique sound. It’s a tale of 2 styles. The first half has elements of the chaotic bangers that proceeded it and the second half portends the spaced out flow that’s coming next.

11. Grey People – ‘Mourning Etiquette’ – When Alex was mastering this album I heard a snippet of a recording he was working on and knew immediately it was the missing piece that I didn’t know was missing. True techno with dub elements but not dub techno. (BTW a term i have NO issue with) He also once paid me for a show with a rack effects unit that i fried 6 months later.

12. Organic Dial – ‘Absolute Other’ – The butterfly that emerged from the chrysalis of the last and longest incarnation of Outer Space. John is more than a close friend and fellow Cavs and Browns fan. He’s one of, ah screw it.. THE most stunning synth masters alive today. This track sounds to me like a galaxy made of coconut milk with LED lights instead of stars. A truly wonderful trip.

13. Powell – ‘Glitter Flux’ – Oh Oscar… My soulmate has fashioned a velveteen puzzle of a jam with this one. I find it simultaneously soothing and confounding as well as one of his greatest pieces of art. He thinks I’m full of shit. I am not.

14. Vanity Productions – ‘No Peep Show Here’ – Another bipartisan style attack. This starts out all twinkles and fractals and morphs into a lush close-set fog filled with diffused beauty. Christian was one of the first people I asked to contribute and this was the first track I received. It set the tone for the whole project. I never get tired of listening to this.

15. The Rancor Index – ‘Death By Misadventure’ – Now this has a longer backstory than any of the selections. 5 years ago in NYC Karl O’Connor told me in specific terms the kind of record he wanted from me for the Jealous God label. I asked John Elliot and Michael Kasparis to contribute. We put together about 4 tracks and then Karl moved on from the label and I felt like I was about to leave a baby on Juan’s doorstep. So I pulled the record. Fast forward to the present and the 3 of us just played our first show together here in Cleveland and it was wondrous. There will be more but for now this is only surviving recording. A ghastly brew of ass backward dub drums, bubbling synths and hellish vocals. This is the sound of Tombstone Trance.

Tombstone Trance Vol. 1  is out May 3rd on StabUdown Recordings. 

Order the EP here

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