Ames Henry & Paul Kav - "Business In Hasenheide" (5:57)
Ames Henry - "Tribute" (6:28)
Fanu - "Dubia" (6:48)
Octo Octa - "For My Girls" (3:29)
Review: It's been two years since Kellam Matthews launched his retro-futurist, breakbeat-driven Frendzone label via a fine split EP featuring cuts from Ames Henry and Octo Octa. This follow-up is therefore arguably long overdue. Fittingly, it's Henry that gets things going in stellar fashion via Paul Kav collaboration "Business in Hasenheide", an urgent fusion of two-step drums, thrusting acid bass and jumpy synth stabs. Ames then goes solo on the breezy bounce of "Tribute", before Fanu successfully roughs things up via the mutant sub-bass, dystopian noises and distorted breakbeats of "Dubia". The undisputed highlight, though, is Octo Octa's "For My Girls", a wonderfully spooky and hectic jungle roller that's guaranteed to set pulses racing out on the dancefloor.
Review: Kode9's Hyperdub releases are always eagerly awaited and this one is no exception. The South African producer now based in London presents a series of sublime steppers featuring the gorgeous vocals of Manthe Ribane. "Dear Ribane" starts things off smoothly with its minimal arrangement but the 2-step garage influence on "Sizzr" gets on the more energetic vibe. "Fede" gets more of a house groove happening alongside some serious low end bass. "Glonet" ends things on a darker tip, but that rolling groove that he has a sense for gets stuck in again at justthe right spot.
Review: The singular sounds of Jim Coles make their mark on Library Music as he drops his more typical tempo of around 85 to 70BPM with these cosmic futuristic bass jams. Pensive, slow-burning, laced with otherworldly textures and laden with chasmic dubspace: "Fire Exit" insists with a hypnotic twisted chime loop and shadowy basses groaning underneath and "Dark Vistas" takes us even deeper into the cosmic realms with heady layers of pads and ricochet heartbeat rhythm that envelop your every sense. Remarkable.
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: More fine fare from Bristolian bass-head Otik, a producer last seen serving up a spacey chunk of percussively intense headiness on Intergraded's multi-artist "Orbitration". Our pick of a very strong bunch is "Dioxide", a pleasingly spaced-out post-dubstep exercise in sparse but weighty drums, alien electronic melodies and out-there aural textures. The obligatory rework can be found on side B, where the "Bruce Carbon Reduction" offers a skittish and fizzing dancefloor interpretation. Elsewhere, "Theia" is a crackling, slowly unfurling slice of yearning ambient bliss, while "Tuskanary" sees Otik pepper a drunken rhythm track with wonky modular motifs.
Review: One of the most prominent and on-point dubstep labels to emerge in recent years, Youngsta's Sentry hits new peaks with their first V/A album. The full set will include the likes of Argo, Taso, Sukh Knight, Mr K, LSN, Nomine, Opus and many more contemporary low end visionaries. And it kicks off right here with a truly international collective; Truth, Caspa, Bukez Finezt, Onhell. From New Zealand to Cali via Germany and UK, all vibes are explored here... Cosmic swagger on Truth's "Simulation Theory", paranoid gravity-defying deepness on Caspa's "Anyone Else" and proper Mozart-flavoured 808 mischief from Bukez Finezt. Onhell brings this remarkable syndication to a close with the wavey, poignant "Sun Ra". Bring on the whole album.