Sunday, 30 November 2008

Oren Marshall & The Charming Transport Band @ The Shed, 29th November 2008

Tonight The Shed welcomes Oren Marshall who I have heard be called, ‘Hendrix of the Tuba’ now this made me wonder what the hell was going to happen? Turns out he was in a dance to my African riddim’s mood rather than a Hendrix freak out, and you know what that’s fine by me.

Oren kicked things off by wandering around the room blowing what only can be described, as Jazzberry’s also know as the Jazz Raspberry along with some more rhythmic low end grunting. He even came at me and made me put my balls in his Tuba, which to be fair I was more than willing to do. After he had freaked out a nice section of the crowd with his testicular jazz march he made his way to the stage and the full band joined him.

This was no ordinary band this was The Transport Band. It featured well let me give you a roll call…

The line-up:
Oren Marshall (UK) – tuba
Afla Sackey (Ghana) - atenteben, vocals, percussion
Yaw Asumadu (Ghana) - djembe, congas
Annor Asamoah (Ghana) - gome drum
Nana Kwesi (Ghana) - keyboards
King David Sobiyi (Nigeria) - guitar
Julian Siegel (UK) - alto sax
Miles James (UK) - guitar.

So that gives you a little bit of a flavour of what was in store. A mish-mash of tuba led jazz and high-life was the call of the night. As always The Shed needs a little bit of a wakeup call, it is a sleepy village hall in rural North Yorkshire after all. This meant the first half was a little bit mellow in the crowd at least. The grooves where subtle, yet had some of the funkiest vibes I have heard for a while.

Jazz was the mainstay of half one, the tuba set the groove as the percussion which featured congas, drums and a gome that is pretty much a plywood box with a dude sat on it, lay down one hell of a rhythmic bed for the jazz improvisation to really get things going.
So as pockets of people got there bop on and other slowly nodded their heads. The kids at the front behaved and got praised from Oren as did we all, Pat’s on the backs all round…

By the time part two kicked of though and the crowd made up of locals and madmen had had some of that special local ale Shed Bitter down them, everyone was ready to move.

And they knew it, so picked up the pace by hitting us with the High-Life. The tempo came up, the grooves got hectic and the funk got rolling. Each track pretty much featured an improvised section from each artist then ended with them playing off each other then back into the groove. Improvised sections even got cheers and claps.

The vocalists brought a heavy African influence to the table along with the percussion this melted together with the jazz so well it was a perfect fit. Things really heated up when they worked the crowd with some work out style double time dance manuva’s. Even if it looked a bit like a mad line dancing class it was great fun and there was smiles all round.

Oren then let us know he was recording the set so as soon as that appears on his site I will link it on here right away just so you can get The Shed flavour from your home.

Some of my favourite moments must be when the two guitarists played off each other in a solid groove, just building the tension in the dance until you couldn’t help but move. Sax man Siegel was on form too when he really took over and let fly to make some hypnotic segments, when him and King David Sobiyi on guitar played off each other it was pretty special. The Gome drum was pretty damn special too, I couldn’t believe some of the beats coming out of that. The whole band was tight as hell and ready to roll. Orem kept it all in check and everyone did their thing.

To finish things off after some hardcore claps and stamps Oren Marshall and The Charming Transport Band picked up the pace even more with some super fast soca style beats. They gave us a warning to get those feet moving fast. This just kept going with improvisation after groove after improvisation until people had to sit down and the bar was drunk dry.

The Shed pull off another quality night.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Jason the Swamp (RRR095)

First of all, this album is a free download from Rack & Ruin so go and grab it right now. Second of all, it’s wonderful.

If your one for some dreamy indie pop with a laid back fuzzy vibe, and lets face it we all are at some point, then Jason the Swamp is one for you.

Full review to come a bit later, but right now just have a listen for yourself…

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Starkey – Ephemeral Exhibits

Starkey the Philly based street bass badman is only going to drop his debut album on the excellent electronica label Planet Mu imagine that. If you’re not familiar with Starkey yet pick up your ears and take them over to the dance floor. He makes street bass, which is a kind of mish-mash of all things a little bit dirty and full of bass. It could range from Grime, Dubstep, Bassline, Electro, Hip-Hop and god knows what else in-between. He also likes to make it all sound a bit wonky and Sci-Fi in a kind of B-Movie style.

Ephemeral Exhibits takes us on a journey through space via the gutter, Starkey manages to pull off beautiful melodies and dirty skanked out dance floor hype all at once. The guy has an ear for music, this may be something to do with his classical music training; he has been playing piano since he was about five and has done classical scores. He is defiantly in love with the dirty end of the dance floor spectrum though as this album suggests in bucket loads.

Gutter Music kicks off the album in fine style, it sets the tone perfectly with wonky, growling, wobble bass and punching drum patterns designed to move you. Check out the forthcoming Gutter Music EP on Keysound for some tasty vocal action from renegade Grime don Durty Goodz on this one. The album just features the original instrumental though, but good god its pure hype.

Starkey doesn’t just go for all out dance floor bombs though he also has a mellow side that comes out every now and again in the form of a emotional dance floor weeper, like Marsh. With its hushed pipe blows and half step, dirty south Hip-Hop drums; it has a sad kind of vibe with a spooky edge, Yoda might skank to this on his marshy little planet all on his own in Star Wars. If you listen carefully you can even hear him moaning with an alien pitch bend. More mellow vibes come from the classical string led Time Traveller.

Other highlights on the album are the aggravated bass shakers of Pictures, Dark Ally, Pressure and the hypnotic music box banger Striking Distance; they all have the hyped energy of a madman Stark Bot on a rampage with a digital chain saw with lasers in his eyes.

The final two tracks are kind of special as well: Bang Bang the Witch is Dead, which featured on the Angel EP earlier in the year on Creative Space and the epic closer Spacewalk. Bang Bang… is a wonky bubbler that sounds a little like you are falling over and dancing all at once, which lets face it we have all done at some point. Spacewalk is a classic last track, it has everything you want: happy and euphoric vibes and a bouncy up-tempo rhythm mixed with huge bass and beats, plus that melancholic end of night kind of sound.

Starkey’s Ephemeral Exhibits: Robo Street Bass From Out Of Space.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Beat Pharmacy - Wikkid Times (3Barfire Review)

More 3bar business in the form of this review of Beat Pharmacy's Wikkid Times, it's a really nice album check it out now!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Jimi The Exploder Presents: Mojo’s Wonk Farm

I re-recorded this mix as there was a problem with the bass, it just didn't cut thruogh. I'm just getting use to my new laptop and it's settings. But now I have improved on it alot, so grab it to replace the old version and really feel the vibes.
Track List:

Ikonika – Direct [Hyperdub]
Untold – Yukon [Hemlock]
D1 – Joy [Tempa]
Ramadanman – Dayrider [Soul Jazz]
Millie & Andrea – Black Hammer [Daphne]
Pangaea – You & I [Hessle Audio]
Jack Sparrow – For Me [Earwax]
D1 – Chocolate Orange [Dub Police]
Silkie – Skys The Limit [Deep Medi]
LD – Swing Dat Skirt [Ringo Recordings]
TRG & Dub U – Harijouka [Tempa]
Shackleton – Shortwave [Skull Disco]
Jus Wan – Action Potential [Apple Pips]
Pangaea – Router [Hessle Audio]
Quest – Stand [Deep Medi]
Likhan’ – Qumran [7even]
Breakage – Untitled [Digital Soundboy]
Shortstuff – Never Mine [Berkane Sol]
Peverelist – Clunk Click Every Trip [Punch Drunk]
Ikonika – Millie [Hyperdub]
Gemmy – Bass Transmitter [Punch Drunk]
Rustie – Tempered [Kapsize]
Scuba – Twitch (Jamie Vex’d Remix) [Hot Flush]

New Link!!!!!!!!!!

Track by Track:

Ikonika – Direct [Hyperdub]
This girl can do no wrong right now, this is the flip side to her latest Hyperdub 12” and it comes on like a wonky, electro, Detroit techno monster with lush pads and bassy raw synths.

Untold – Yukon [Hemlock]
I love this first Hemlock 12” so much, I played the flip to this to death and put it in my last mix, which I shall link to at the end as well for anyone who missed it. It’s a deranged garage beast full of strange atmospherics.

D1 – Joy [Tempa]
Deep and soulful vibes from D1 here it reminds me of Balearic sunset parties and tech house, Beautiful stuff from a great and varied double EP on Tempa.

Ramadanman – Dayrider [Soul Jazz]
I can’t get this track out of my head with it’s slow vibe and mad 4 to the floor sections offsetting the beautiful melody twinkles. Ramadanman is one smooth operator.

Millie & Andrea – Black Hammer [Daphne]
This is a wicked 12” from two techno producers having a go at making Martyn style techno infused dubstep. I think they pull it off with style, the bass is pretty huge and it rolls along really nicely.

Pangaea – You & I [Hessle Audio]
Now this is one hell of a track, it’s the flip to the sublime Router but more on that a bit later. This could well be my favourite 12” of the year, pure rolling garage vibes with a soulful yet dark edge. Perfect!

Jack Sparrow – For Me [Earwax]
More future garage techno soul from Leeds (just like Ramadanman and Pangaea) there must be something in the water… again this reminds me of a sunset beach party, with people vibing out to house music.

D1 – Chocolate Orange [Dub Police]
Reggae dub style he from D1 I can’t get enough of the melancholic melodies and housey style. The drum patterns are so danceable it hurts.

Silkie – Skys The Limit [Deep Medi]
Deep Medi are running things right now, Silkie of the Anti Social crew smacks it with some seriously skipping and funky as hell dubstep. This is one hell of a sexy dance floor beast, with a euphoric rush.

LD – Swing Dat Skirt [Ringo Recordings]
I love LD right now; his funky jungle vibes kill me. This is an old track from Ringo Recordings to wet my whistle for grabbing a ton of his new 12” soon. The mixing was a bit rushed here and the sound a bit quiter on LD’s tune after Silkie but fuck it hey!

TRG & Dub U – Harijouka [Tempa]
Colaberation stuff now from TRG and Dub U, this is only just reaching the shops after me playing it to death on Appleblim’s Dubstep Allstars Vol.6 from earlier in the year. I’m still no tired of it, everything is there the beat skips along with a punchy and funky rhythm and the bass is big and hypnotic.

Shackleton – Shortwave [Skull Disco]
Maybe my favourite track from the last ever Skull Disco 12” (if you exclude the remix package they just dropped). This is the usual top quality dark and rolling carnage from Shackleton, spacey loops of chattering voices and a monster bassline that kicks in about half way through plays off the electro drums perfectly. I take it into the darkness for a bit here people.

Jus Wan – Action Potential [Apple Pips]
Apple Pips business here, I only just got this 12” a few days before I made the mix and just had to put it in after caning it on the Appleblim Dubstep Allstars CD again. Massive bass and huge techno vibes that still grab me every time.

Pangaea – Router [Hessle Audio]
Perfect track in almost everyway, there is soul, heart and darkness all rolled into one with Router. The spooky detached soul vocal samples tug at your heart strings while the future garage vibes just roll along and make you move. Enjoy the blissful tones of Pangaea.

Quest – Stand [Deep Medi]
If that last track wasn’t enough I decide to drop Quest on you, I just had to play this epic beast all the way through with minimal interference. The breakdown kills me every time, it’s got that balearik style to it again but with a funky slowed down half step dub thing going on instead of skipping house style. Close your eyes for this one…

Likhan’ – Qumran [7even]
An epic techno style dub mix out of Quest all the way from about half of the breakdown as I felt it didn’t interfere to much and played off it really well with the mellodie and a bit of extra bass. I can’t get enough of 7even I was gutted I didn’t fit F’s recent 12” into this mix.

Breakage – Untitled [Digital Soundboy]
Massive production from D’n’B maestro Breakage, the bass is immense and the drums are just huge techno rollers. The melodies and soulful sample from Nina Simone work perfectly. One of my favourite producers right now has to be Breakage.

Shortstuff – Never Mine [Berkane Sol]
This whole 12” blows me away, I could only choose one side for this mix though so Shortstuff won. Never Mine is a beautiful flowing techno monster, the electronic squiggles get me every time. Plus it mixes into Peverelist so well.

Peverelist – Clunk Click Every Trip [Punch Drunk]
Now then what the hell can I say about this track! It’s maybe my favourite on here, which is one tough decision I can tell you that now. The bloop, bloop bloopbloop bloop bloop melody builds and builds befor dropping an epic techy string section that just blows my mind. Then when that has dropped out again it just keeps building again and into the same strings right at the end. Clunk Click Every Trip leaves you gagging for more of those sweet strings, I could have played this tune about 8 times in this mix. Peverelist has outdone himself on this one.

Ikonika – Millie [Hyperdub]
I had no idea how to come out of that last track smelling of roses so I just had to get wonky on all your asses and turn the mix up a notch to some freaky party style, off kilter mayhem. This is the flip to the sublime Direct I started the mix with, but this time it’s more in your face and bouncy. The bass is pure filth with 8-bit dirty blips and growls. She named the track after her cat, big up Ikonika!

Gemmy – Bass Transmitter [Punch Drunk]
More 8-bit grime wonk from Punch Drunk Peverelist’s label this time in the form of Gemmy, Jokers mate from Bristol. His tracks are addictive and sound massive, I have no idea what he makes them on but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a Sega Mega Drive and Fruity Loops or something basic and mad like that.

Rustie – Tempered [Kapsize]
I almost put Joker from the flip of this here instead but I was just felling Rustie’s Dirty South aquacrunk beats more at the time. This has that boom of Southern US Hip-Hop like no other track around right now, well apart from the flip, which is Joker & Rustie on Play Doe. Rustie at 140 bpm always gets me going.

Scuba – Twitch (Jamie Vex’d Remix) [Hot Flush]
The final track had to be a bit of a strange anthemic type of beast and as I didn’t think I had time to drop Zig Zag by Rustie I plumped for Jamie Vex’d and his remix of Scuba. It’s the hugest sounding wonky thing around and really addictive with it.

So there you go another mix from me I hope you enjoy it as much as have making it.

If you missed them the first time grab my two other Dubstep style mixes bellow:

DubTek: (195 DL's to date!)

Mojo’s Wonk Farm: (70 DL’s to date!)


Saturday, 22 November 2008

Starkey - Trouble in Space (3barfire Interview)

I got the opertunity to shoot some questions to the Street Bass producer for 3barfire (originaly posted here) and this is what happened.

Starkey, known to has family, friends and publishing company as PJ, has been dominating the airwaves recently with an instantly recognisable brand of synthesized mayhem. His beats are expressive saws off sound that splinter and chip away at your eardrums just as much as they slap them.

Fresh from running his labels Seclusiasis and Slit Jockey and pioneering the gritty grime sound of the UK capital in his native Pennsylvanian home town, Starkey took a few moments to explain his love for the sound and introduce to his Planet Mu signed full length album 'Ephemeral Exhibits' to James Balf.

James Balf: I love the term Street Bass you use as a catchall phrase for what you play and make. What first got you into the underground urban dance sounds?

Starkey: It had to be, first and foremost, trip hop. Tricky, Portishead, Alpha... downtempo, hiphop influenced electronic music. Also, Bjork around the same time I think. I was also into some of the random tunes I would hear.... like from DJ Wally and such. Still to this day that era of music is still my favorite. But when I started college, I quickly got into the Warp and Planet Mu stuff.... Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, Venetian Snares, Shitmat. I was going to school for music production and started producing my own tunes, basically to practice what I was learning in class and trying to have another output for creativity (besides playing in the band I was in).

JB: Can you tell me a little about your native Philadelphia and how it’s shaped your music?

S: Philly is a hip hop town... plain and simple. That definitely comes through in my music - a bit. Even if you aren't too into hip hop, you're surrounded by it every day. It definitely influences many aspects of the city... from how people act and talk, to how they interact with each other.

JB: The dubstep scene has embraced you over here in the UK and it’s wicked to see the age old US, UK dance music exchange isn’t dead. Since house and techno and even before that, the US and UK has been feeding off each other and bringing different influences to the table. When did you first hear about this stuff we call grime and dubstep and think, wow we could add this to what we have going on here?

S: For me... I was living in London in 2001, going to school, when I first discovered garage. So Solid's album was dropping and all that. I also heard ‘Has It Come To This’ by The Streets and instantly fell in love with it. It was just so different from the stuff I was listening to at the time. So after I came back to Philly.... I tried to stay in touch with what was going on with the sound. I remember hearing Wiley & Dizzee for the 1st time back in the states and was like "WTF?"... that was the most exciting thing I'd ever heard, It had such a raw energy to it.

JB: You flew all the way from the USA to come and spin a 10 minute set for Generation Bass - I have to big you up for your level of dedication to the Street Bass cause... How did it make you feel when Vex’d picked you and who would you pick if you were in their shoes?

S: Well of course it was something I wanted to be a part of. I was really honored when Vex'd asked me. They were a lot of people's first introduction to what is now dubstep in this country.... particularly with the Planet Mu link. They are amazing producers and such good guys. I couldn't believe they asked me to do it. I was flattered to be honest.

If I had to pick someone.... I don't want to say.... if there is a Generation Bass 2009, I may have to do just that.

But it will be difficult.

Starkey on Generation Bass

JB: Can you shed some light on yours and Dev79’s Seclusiasis Crew and the Sub FM show...? How did you hook up and what’s your plans for the label?

S: Dev79 and I met back in 2004. When we started talking about music, he asked me what I was into and I said, "well I'm really feeling this music out of London called grime." And he was like, "no way... I thought I was the only person in Philly who knew what that was." So… the rest is history really. That year we started the first party in Philly to play grime... seasoned with hip hop, dancehall and such. Seclusiasis was already a crew, throwing parties around Philly and such... but we kind of pushed the brand into a different place.

The radio show had been going on in some form since 2002.... a couple of years before I became involved with Seclusiasis. When we decided that I would take over the hosting of the show at the end of last year, I hit up the SubFM people to see if they would be interested in hosting the show because I really wanted to get back into the interactive aspect of doing a live show... and the chat room helps to achieve that. It's been great on SubFM.

Regarding the label side of things... I've been really pushing to make moves with things this past year. We started releasing Seclusiasis and Slit Jockey 12”s this year... with a bunch of releases planned for the coming months, including an EP from Raffertie, an album from Kotchy and a Dev79 single. We're also dropping a lot of digital releases with people from all over, including Small Professor, a Philly hip hop producer.

JB: I heard you drop some tunes on your radio show from a forthcoming mix CD for LoDubs, it sounds big! What’s some of the hottest tracks going to be for that?

S: Yeah... going to be mixing that very, very soon. Got all the tracks in now. A ton of great tunes on there... Zomby, Joker, a Raffertie remix of Food For Animals, O-Dessa, Dev79, BD1982, a Blackdown remix, Toast, DZ, Bombaman, Dubsworth, Cardopusher + more.

JB: What are your top dubplates right now and what do you have to keep wheeling back at gigs?

S: Every Raffertie tune... haha. There's also this guy called Stagga from the UK who makes crazy drops; everyone goes mental for them. Bombaman makes some stupid drops as well.

I'm not the type of person who wheels up tunes just because people are calling for it.... it needs to be completely warranted.

JB : Apparently ‘The Message is Love’ was voted the sexiest breakdown in grime history (this may or may not be true) and the other night I heard Blackdown play your remix of it on Rinse FM. Did you give it a good work over to see if any of that good lovin’ advice would rub off on you or do you think you were the only person qualified for such a task?

S: This was in the same week that Boomkat was talking about touching me with a big massive stick... hahaha. I guess it's a sexy breakdown... but it contradicts some of the other lyrics in the tune, obviously.

Silverlink ft. Badness & Jammer - The Mesaage Is Love

That tune is just wild. I remember running into Robin who runs No Hats No Hoods on the corner of Bethnal Green Road and Brick Lane earlier this year. He was like... “I got this new tune and I don't know what's up, it's just wild. I'll send it to you”. I was like, “cool... I'm playing fabric tonight so I'll drop it”. So I think I was one of the 1st people to drop that tune - ever. It's crazy... plain and simple. I slowed it down a bit for the remix to 140, so it would mix better with my typical sets.

JB: I hear you’re a classically trained musician, have you got any non Street Bass endeavors on the table at the moment or are you concentrating on ripping up the dance?

S: Nah... not right now. The concert music is on hold. I mean, if I got commissioned to work on a piece, I'd be all about it. But, the last piece I did, ‘Bending Light’, took a year and a half to complete. It's really all about the Starkey stuff right now.

JB: What’s you studio like now compared to the set up you started on?

S: When I started producing music as Aunt Jessica (which subsequently became a group of mine)... I was using a Gateway PC w/ Acid Pro 1, Fruity Loops 1 and the Hammerhead drum machine. I had a Sound Blaster soundcard which was fed by a Behringer mixer and my Korg N1 keyboard. I was mixing on the speakers that came with my computer.

Now I have a couple of Mac laptops.... and still use the Korg N1 (but mostly as a MIDI controller for the fully weighted, 88 key keyboard). I mostly use a Motu 896 interface w/ Logic 8, Reason 4, Ableton Live 7, Kontakt 2, Melodyne plug-in and a few other plug-ins here and there. I'm all about re-wiring. I'm not a hardware junkie at all... but I do have a Juno60 and the Moog Satellite Synth along with a 1/2" 8tk machine.

JB: What else inspires you outside of music?

S: Sci-Fi movies are a big one.... definitely. I'm all about outer space and thinking about the future of the world. Also, been getting back into comics a bit lately…

Zomby - Spliff Dub (Stareky Remix)

JB: Your hooking up with Blackdown’s label Keysounds to release ‘Gutter Music’ on 12”, I heard him describe it as being, “like a mutant Daft Punk/grime jam”, which isn’t far off at all. You two are kind of pushing a nice grimey, off kilter, urban bass thing as well as the deep meditational stuff. What was it like hooking up with Blackdown and what treats can we expect on the flip side to the 12”?

S: Blackdown hit me up because he had heard some stuff of mine that he was feeling, and he wanted to write about me in his Pitchfork column. It was really great to hear that he was interested in what I was doing. So I sent him a bunch of tunes, ‘Gutter Music’ being one of them. He hit me back saying that both he and Dusk loved the track and would be interested in putting it out on Keysound. Mike at Planet Mu subsequently wanted to put it on the album as well... so that's why it's only on the CD version of the album, and not the vinyl, because I had already promised it to Keysound. The 12" will be all gutter.... with a vocal and a VIP mix.

Can't tell you who will be on the vocal yet... but believe me, it will be good.

JB: Your debut album 'Ephemeral Exhibits' drops soon Planet Mu, what can we expect from that beast?

S: To be totally honest, I'm really happy with how this album turned out. You know sometimes after something is finished you look back and say there's things you want to change or would do differently, and I really truly feel as though this album is a snapshot of where I am right now. That's where the title comes from. It wasn't written per se as an album, but it really flows well. Mike has a great ear for picking out tracklists and running orders.

The music is basically a culmination of everything I've been doing for the last year or so. It's got the vocal cutups, the grime-influenced stuff as well as tunes that are more dubstep or hip hop influenced. There's even some sci-fi / electronic stuff on there. But it really does feel like a complete album when you listen to it from start to finish. I'm more a producer that wants to write songs, not just drops. If something doesn't keep your attention for 4 minutes... then it shouldn't be 4 minutes.

Also, Love the Chaos did the artwork and it's completely gorgeous....the CD especially. I can't wait to see the finished, printed version.

JB: And finally... are you planning on coming back over soon to play some more hype sets in the UK?

S: Yeah... I'm looking at January 2009. Another Europe mini tour with hopefully some dates in the UK…

Words: James Balf

For more info on Starkey go here:

Starkey's album 'Ephermeral Exhibits' is out on 24th Nov on Planet Mu Recordings

You can download a pre album mix from Starkey at the Electronic Explorations website - Week 43:

With thanks to PJ.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Pinch – Midnight Oil / Joyride (Tectonic) 12"

Pinch drops one of his own now on his excellent Tectonic imprint. His material is always worth having a listen and this is no exception. Pinch makes the deep stuff yet keeps it interesting with a soulful and techy flair that others can only just reach in some cases.

Midnight Oil opens the 12” with a space age swagger and a bass bin rattle. The drums skip and beat you in to submission while they roll along. The spacey aesthetics come in the form of huge sounding synths that sweep around and remind me of 2001 a space odyssey for some reason. The chatting, growling synth sounds echo around until string enter your ear holes and sooth the brain. Midnight Oil is maybe my favourite on the 12” right now, but then its all pure gold. This is mediation bass weight with balls of steel.

The flipside Joyride has a similar kind of feel but this time with an almost primal raw along with space synths, it puts a picture in my mind of the X-Wing’s in Star Wars shooting past. This is laid on a bed of huge punchy drums and bass to shake your ribcage. On a recent Marry Anne Hobbs show I heard her mention that she thinks this is the best thing Pinch has dropped for a while and if that isn’t endorsement enough I don’t know what is.

This 12” drops very soon on Techtonic so look out for it, Pinch is up there with other Bristol masters of the bass such as Peverelist and Appleblim, he can easily hold his own in the scene he helped create. I just hope that he is on with making a follow up to the excellent album Underwater Dancehall. Pinch is the sound of the future, but right here and now so don’t sleep on it.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Beat Pharmacy – Wikkid Times

Brendon Moeller is the man behind Beat Pharmacy, he hails from South Africa and this; his fourth album under the Beat Pharmacy name, drops on Francois K’s label Wave Music.

This is deep dub techno at it’s best, you get the driving four to the floor house style beats, mixed with echo drenched chords played by sweeping synths in a Basic Channel kind of way. There seems to be a lot of this kind of thing around at the moment, not only in techno circles by the likes of Deep Chord and Shed but dubstep as well with the likes of Appleblim and 2562 bringing the vibes. What makes Wikkid Times stand out is the big vocal influence.

Vocalists include legends of the dub-techno hybrid Paul St. Hilaire AKA Tikiman from the Rhythm & Sound crew from Berlin. Also featuring is the Kode 9 collaborator Spaceape, who happens to be one of my favourite dub poets out there.

The tracks come across as a mix of a dub-reggae-danchall protest songs in a deep house or dub techno vibe, and I must say the hybrid works a treat.

Rooftops opens the album in catchy style, which features the vocal styling of Coppa. I find myself humming this little ditty sometimes; the chorus just gets in your head. The bassline has a nice bump to it while the deep echo chamber dubbed out synths offset the rhythm and give it all a sweeping hypnotic atmosphere.

Spaceape’s first track Strangers is a stunner and one of the highlights on Wikkid Times. A deep acid bass tweaks in the low frequencies and there is a dark paranoid feel to it that ups the tension of the album subtly. The vocals deal with the troubles of modern life through a kind of personal perspective.

Sunshine featuring Paul St. Hilaire is another definite standout track. This has a warm feel to it as it does its deep house thing. St. Hilaire is on good form here brining subtle melodic tones to the dubby backing track.

Other tracks of note include; The Ras B collaboration Hope & Frustration, this track deals with the ups and downs of life in general it gives the beautiful techno sound behind a brilliant and human feel to it. These tunes are both grounded and uplifting it’s pretty refreshing to hear. The slow pulse of the melody and bass are just sublime.

Each track follows a similar template and could be seen as being a bit samey at times. The flow and mood of the album ebbs subtly all the way through, yet with a driving vibe that the house beats bring to the table. So if you are in the mood for some deep dancehall protest techno you really can’t go far wrong than grabing yourself Beat Pharmacy’s Wikkid Times.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Distance – Repercussions

Distance drops album number two on Planet Mu, his first ‘My Demons’ was brilliantly received by dubstep headz and allot of normal people too (I’m one of the headz if you’re asking by the way). His latest offering ‘Repercussions’ looks to follow in its footsteps with a sure swagger and balls as big as it’s bass weight and if you know Distance you will know that is pretty damn hefty.

Turn your speakers up high; I mean you have to feel this album, sure put it on in headphones and bask in it’s beautiful textures but you may want to punch yourself somewhere tender every now and again just to get that big bass effect at the same time... To really feel the full ‘Repercussions’ you want the speakers to quiver in fear and the bass pulse to hit your square in the chest. The production is tight so it just sounds huge on pretty much any system; I guess it’s just powerful music.

A dark foreboding atmosphere rings through the whole album, it kind of sounds like a huge metallic beast stalking the streets of London in the dead of night. Distance is kind of like an older brother of Burial who is more into metal than 2-step.

The tracks are subtler and more percussive compared to his debut album. Tracks like Out Of Mind take Arabic style beats and twanging strings layered over the top of massive bass and clattering half step beats. It sounds like something Dusk & Blackdown may have done on Margins Music. The track Free Me follows in a same sort of vain but with Distance’s love for film samples shining through with a quality speech about devils and angels really adding to the feel of it.

You still get some absolute floor shaking dance floor material though in the form of Magnesium, Koncrete, Mirror Tell and Skeleton Grin. They take some industrial guitar style noises and twist them into growling monsters of the night. The drums on these tracks are pure rock as well; Distance is the master of transferring metal energy into dubstep beats.

Repercussions is a deep, flowing album that is easily digested as a whole, it ebbs and flows brilliantly so one minuet you are sitting back with your eyes closed hypnotised by the groove then you find yourself nodding your head with one hell of a bass face.

The title track Repercussions is another highlight, and to be fair there really isn’t a low-light on here. The layers of drums offset an almost wonky sounding industrial synth line that bounces with a boign that builds and drives forward making your feet move and your head nod. Even though these tracks use some metallic sounds and can be kind of industrial there is a very human warmth to the sound, it flows so organically.

Distance pulls off another quality album with Repercussions.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Distance - Repercussions & Interview (3barfire)

Go and have a look at my review of the Distance new album Repercussions over at 3barfire here. Then if you missed me post it before go and check out the interview with the man himself here. Big up to everyone involved...

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Marvins Revolt – Killec

Melodic, mathematical and full of pop hook’s while keeping things energetic and rocking; Copenhagen’s Marvins Revolt have pulled off one hell of a balancing act that bands like Foals, Yourcodenameis:Milo (R.I.P.), Biffy Clyro or even someone like The Automatic couldn’t quite achieve, musically anyway they aren’t quite as huge as those lot right now.

Killec was self released by the band back in 2007 but now it’s got a full release on The Richter Collective in the UK, which is a welcome scenario if you ask me.

Each track is a joyous, powerful romp full of melodies that will make you smile but all the while keeping the cheese out of the way and piling on nice inventive song structures and parts.

Opener Deliberate Deeds starts off as they mean to carry on with a driving catchy guitar hook and fun time handclaps, before smacking you with a sugar sweet synth line and vocals that really get in your head.

The skiting rhythms of Bugs in Time propel things forward with a propulsive energy that builds with subtle guitar progressions and harmonies. There is nothing really innovative about this band but they do their thing really well so what more could you want, hey?

Another highlight is the catchy New Years in Warsaw where some heavy guitar crunches and a pounding drum workout punctuate another pop smash hit. This is one tight band that can turn and twist out mathematical melodies a-plenty; I bet the live shows are a real joy to behold.

If you in need of a sugar shot to the arm with some melodic indie-rock pop that wont make your brain bleed then Marvins Revolt are the band for you. File them next to bands like Cats and Cats and Cats, Tubelord, Adebisi Shank, Blakfish and This Town Needs Guns and you will be in good hands. Killec is a joy to listen to.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

DJ / Rupture – Uproot

This is one hell of a diverse mix album taking in lots of rootsy influences from around the urban dance genres, and then blending them seamlessly into an epic and atmospheric whole.

DJ / Rupture comes from New York and has an ear for melody and a sublime beat. All at once the selection sounds old and new, it’s got a timeless kind of feel to it. In this sence it reminds me of classic mixes like Coldcut’s Journey of the DJ, but only time will tell if DJ / Rupture has the staying power to match that.

Uproot travels through styles and genres with ease touching on Dubstep, dancehall, ambient, and Dub to name but a few; it’s a kind of global bass mash-up. Baby Kites and Nokea’s electro tinged steppa gives way to a pure dub reggae style shaker from Clouds and the excellent Elders. Hardly any of the tracks are dwelled upon for to long the mixing is fast passed, he gets through 23 tracks in total, but this doesn’t spoil the flow at all.

Other highlights include the absolutely wonderful Winter Buds by Atki2 that leaves me really wanting to dig this tune out on 12” to hear it in full. This track sounds like a long lost Aphex Twin ambient classic brought up to date with dubstep style beats and electro glitches.

Rupture even makes the wobblers sound good in this mix by keeping things moving and having a big dirty dub reggae edge to them. Plus they often drop off into some ambient meanderings as Clouds and Ekstrak do into Frescoe’s string led breakdown, which in turn builds with a bit more electro filth.

The beautiful strings of Jenny Jones and her Capilano Bridge bring a classy soundtrack feel to the mix as they melt seamlessly into more classic music in the form of Ekkehard Ehlers "Plays John Cassavettes pt. 2". It’s kind of moving in places and a refreshing change to hear a DJ build and break down a mix as they please instead of throwing in banger after banger.

After a complete holt after track thirteen, which I can’t quite make my mind up is a good thing like when you get that feeling after flipping the tape over in the olden days, you know a bit excited at what’s to come. Or a bad one in that it stops the flow completely… He soon gets back in the groove though with some dancehall vibes and dirty dubstep from Scuba. Then comes the one two punch of Quest and Shackleton. The Team Shadetek acapella over Quest works especially well.

A nice deep wind down ushers the album to a close, the awe-inspiring beauty of Moving Ninja "Uranium" almost fades to absolute silence before the hushed blows of Professor Shehab + lloop come in.

DJ / Rupture’s strength comes in his selection and mixing abilities, which is all you really want from a DJ really. It’s not the most upfront and in your face exclusive mix you will ever hear but in terms of an enjoyable listen Uproot comes out as a winner. With a warm and spacey glow DJ / Rupture with mesmerise you.

Baby Kites and Nokea’s ‘Reef’ free download


Saturday, 8 November 2008

Chickenhawk (3barfire Review)

Check it out here.

Some exciting bit's coming soon on 3barfire keep an eye out for that.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Throats and the_Network – Notes From The Turncoat Campaign

Holy Roar unleash another brutal storm in the form of a split EP featuring two wicked bands. Throats are some kind of monster of a band that incorporates hardcore energy and heaviness with a bit of an epic metal style at times too. the_Network are from the USA, New Hampshire to be exact. It’s the first time Holy Roar have hooked up a Trans Atlantic collaboration and it’s a sweet one at that. the_Network are insane, I say insane but this is no dumb ass heavy metal stuff. It’s heavy as hell yes, but it doesn’t’ skimp on creativity.

Throats open the EP with three tracks of what can only be described as pure energy streaming out of the speakers. Screams and grinding guitars clash and melt into massive heavy riffs while drums smash and skip with a beastly brutality. It’s only about five months since they last dropped a split EP on us with the excellent Maths also on Holy Roar and Throats have not let up at all in the mean time.

All of the tracks are crackers but Hibernate sounds pretty damn special to my ears. The opening riff is awesome and when another guitar starts joining in and the harmonies of the two sound like the pitch is bending up the tension builds and builds before the grinding punk noise smashes you in the face. This then breaks down into a bit of a slow groove for the first time on the whole EP and you get chance to catch your breath before it all kicks off again.

the_Network’s side of the split fits so well with Throats style it all just flows so well as a whole EP. I’m pretty sure they are some sort of hybrid of hardcore / grindcore / punck / metal they are pretty intense anyway. They can scream like creatures from the underworld of long gone prehistoric times or even have a good old sing as they do on the final track R. Taylor.

Rabid Electronics kicks off the_Network’s section and it’s like fighting off a deranged dog with a power drill. Well it probably doesn’t sound as gruesome as that but you get the idea. 500 Pounds of Idiot is hard as hell as you would expect from such a title. They have this testosterone-fuelled beastliness to there sound.

These two bands shred fucking face and kick arse grab it.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Sunship Featuring Warrior Queen - Almighty Father (Skreamix)

Skream has been in the scene for what seems like forever and being the nice guy he is he has decided to unlock his dungeon or where ever he keeps his tunes, maybe it’s the fridge next to his Stella, I don’t know. But he has decided to give away this lost gem for free, so grab it while it’s hot people, I doubt it will be up forever and I’m one to start re-hosting stuff. Check all the love in the thread over at dubstepforum. Badman…

‘Its been so long thought i might aswell share it..... The mix downs not the best in the world but i did make it 04' so........ Here ya go hope u enjoy it!’



p.s. while I’m on a nostalgic dubstep tip check out Blackdown’s recent blog post it’s fascinating and has some really good pictures. So good I’m going to put it up here too…

Deerhunter - Microcastle (3barfire Review)

Here we go again with the Deerhunter review, I bloody love it so much that I'm going to post the link to my 3barfire review right here.
Related Posts with Thumbnails