Review: Third time's the charm. Low Bias parallel project Dream Cycle returns to the ever-comfortable Sneaker Social with the next part of their annual series. Once again it's a barrage of two-step delights ranging from dank and mystic to deep and dreamy. "Told You" kicks off proceedings on a serious London bumpy flex, all sassy vocal snippets and a steam roller sub line. "Long Time" follows and takes us down a much deeper, contemplative path that's almost Detroit in its mood with those lush pads and spirited piano lines. Deeper again we strike the more technoid twangs of "Sensa" before "Untitled Dream" closes the EP on the deepest, wooziest tip of the EP, all downbeat, trippy and far too addictive for its own good. The Cycle continues.
Review: Version co-bossman Orson seems to only drop a release once a year. But when he does, it's always worth paying close attention to. As with all things Version, it's a full trip that joins dots well beyond the assumed or conventional dub continuum. "Agadir" is a hazy Latin mooch into dub disco territory while "Delivero" is positively Balearic with its 105BPM plod, delicate arpeggiated weaves and sudden drop into soulful vocals. Flip for "Toxic Waste" as Orson goes all percussive and broken beat (think Tyrant) while "Garzweiler" closes on an stormy ambient note. Batten down the hatches.
Review: The Well Street family continue to bloom with this assured grip of adventurous steppers from Significant Other. You know you're onto something serious as soon as "Postdrome" fires up in a tangle of break slices, percussive rattles and poised kicks. The sparse drum-focused style continues in a quicker fashion with the tense and twitchy "Delos", while "Brain Fingers" amps up the bass flex to make for a dance-wrecking-ball of a track. "Memory Drum" completes the set with interlocking patterns balanced between organic and electronic and draped in tones of icy dread.
Review: The name of the Space Drum Meditation label tells you everything about the sort of music they plan to release. After a well-received inaugural EP, the eponymous production duo behind the imprint (Eddie Ness and Liem, who have collaborated under their own names many times before) come correct with four more contemporary fusions of bass, breakbeat, techno and deep house that is best exemplified by the charming "Polar Peak". "Chatter" is a flurry of hits and jittery lines that will electrify any floor, then "Grapes" is a super slowed down and deep ambient day dream that resets the mood before "Dance Of The Snake" invites you into a sonic lava lamp and rhythmically inventive groove.
Review: A new enigmatic duo from London named Two Shell present Livity Sounds' next installment. Their debut "Access EP" draws influence from the South London underground of the late '90s and early 00's, with a nod to more contemporary Bristol sounds across these four wicked tracks. From the off-kilter stepper that is "Heart Piece', through to the glacial and deconstructed dub techno of "Contactless" and the rolling bass-driven entrancer "SYNC-2020" - they have forged an EP of warm but stripped-down, deft UK style grooves to mark an anthemic debut. More groundbreaking future sounds from the ever reliable Bristol label.
Review: Under the Yak alias, Steel City producer John Randall has previously plied his wares on Version, 3024 and R&S, offering up distinctively percussive tracks that sit somewhere between techno and bass music. His latest outing - this time for Phonica Records - delivers more hard-to-pigeonhole goodness for discerning dancefloors. Opener "Zip" peppers African style tribal drums and raw Motor City techno bass with the kind of ear-catching bleeps that were once a Steel City staple, before the jumpy and upbeat "Guevenne Groove" wraps positive, glassy-eyed synthesizer motifs around sweaty, loose-limbed live drumming. "Fret" is a spaced out, bass-heavy two-step number laden with intergalactic electronics and undulating bass, while closing cut "Gerudo" brilliantly joins the dots between tribal rhythms and shimmering deep house.
Review: Felipe Salmon and Rafael Pereira aka Dengue Dengue Dengue's third album is an exploration of Afro-Peruvian musical traditions laced with their usual sense of so-called tropical futures and off beat rhythmic patterns. It makes for hypnotic grooves that are loose and jumbled, organic and fully authentic especially when members of the Ballumbrosio family, who are experts in traditional rhythmic styles like lando, festejo and crioullo music, as well as traditional dances and instruments like the quijada, have helped create this album. Fleshing out the drums are fizzes and woodblocks, smeared synthwork and occasional Latin vocals that drift to the top as the bass roams down low. An intoxicating listen that transports you to another world entirely.
Review: There's plenty to get excited about on Silk Road Assassins' long-awaited debut full-length, which arrives some three years after their acclaimed debut EP, "Reflection Spaces". For starters, the trio has delivered something that neatly sidesteps convention, melding bustling, loose-limbed grime and trap rhythms with all manner of layered electronic elements. Some of these are dark and moody and others fluorescent, kaleidoscopic and tropical in tone. "State of Ruin" twists, turns and twists again on umpteen occasions, delivering a musical snapshot of our chaotic times that veers from paranoid intensity to rush-inducing bliss in what seems like the blink of an eye. OK, so we may have got a little carried away, but it's certainly a superb set that's more than worthy of your hard-earned cash.