Review: There seems to be a bit of a narrative here on Phrex's second Dubtopia release. Previously, Version bossman Orson had given us "Life Gamble". Now he's on his "Last Chance", and it's every bit as foreboding as you'd expect the final roll of the dice to be - menacing, pensive and lined with venomous acid. Bern's Phrex is experiencing a similar situation; while he previously told us about "Vectors In The Sky", he's now warning us of "Colliding Clouds" to the tune of quivering, tightly weaved top lines, trippy dub echoes and loose soft drums underpinned by a voluptuous rolling sub groove.
Review: Callum "Paleman" Lee is one of Swamp 81's most decorated artists, having released a string of well-regarded 12" singles for the hyped, bass-obsessed imprint. Yrs Ago is his third EP for the label's 81 offshoot, and sees him joining the dots between techno, post-dubstep bass music, and angular electronica. The title track sets the tone, with robotic voices, creepy electronics and smooth sub-bass riding a metallic, broken techno groove. Flipside "Animus" is a marginally more melodic affair, with spacey chords and bubbling arpeggio lines riding a punchy electro rhythm. Both tracks are naturally rather heavy, and undoubtedly amongst the producer's strongest work to date.
Review: Two massive Pinch classics taken on by the mighty Kromestar; need we say more? Pinch's 2010 speaker shredder "The Boxer" gets an absolute fouling with epic distortion on the bass and swaggering drums. It's so heavy it's been on dub for at least two years. Flip for Kromestar's take on Pinch's 2011 Deep Medi murker "Swish" as it's given a bullet proof suit of armour ready for any militant war scenario. Both absolutely destroy the dance.
Review: Following their beguiling "Signals" EP, enigmatic Primer returns to Rarefied with four more trips. With its desert sand storm textures and staccato vocal clip, "Nowhere And Nothing" isn't quite as bleak as it sounds, it's actually super warm and intense. The same can be said for "Drowned"; while sombre and introspective, the dub sounds and elements are buoyant and eventually rise into something pretty hopeful after the second drop. "Tal (part 2)" provides closure for those of us who are still nursing sore minds from "Tal (part 1)" on Primer's debut release as it uses the same mystic elements to wind down the chaos into a subtle woozy brew. Speaking of woozy, "I Had A Faraway Dream" brings us back home with a beautifully sleepy harp, stumbling kicks and a vocal that seems to melt into itself. Singular. No one's doing it like Primer.
Review: Newcomer Primer crash lands onto planet Rarefied with four beguiling fusions. "Tal" is an off-beat mystic brew that flexes in and out of an Indian vocal with mesmerising effect, "Signals" rolls off a slippery electroid drum arrangement with just the right levels of cosmicity while "Make Contact" is a cascade of chimes and a lush loosely hewn two-step. An untitled track closes the show with an overwhelming hurricane of reverse textures and sludgy drama. Connection made.
Review: In the words of Mystik himself... This has been a long time coming. The shimmering chords and heavy rolls of "Misty In Roots" were written between the two antipodean modern day dub dons years ago but it's remained on dub until now. It's back by two more heavy system testers; "Sabu" takes a deep breath before coiling up with percussion then springing into action when the kicks skip in. "2 Steps Backwards" takes more of a trad dub stance with swaggering spaced out beats and a delicious array of old school FX work in the mix. Misty in roots; clear in message.
Review: It's the release that recently moved Skream to tweet he'll make 140 music again, Rarefied dig deep back over the vaults for their first remix release. First up is the Skream co-signed remix of T. A. R.'s "Amplivagant" in which Navy Cut captain J.Sparrow flips the bassline into a steamroller of a mix where the groove has a technoid mind of its own and the demolished results speak for themselves. Flip for Crypticz twist on Primer's "Signals". Switching out the skittering two-steps for ghostly amen echoes while keeping the tone and vibe just as eerie and haunted, it's another remarkable remix. Absolute solid gold.