If Kevin Martin’s last album London Zoo was a dystopian soundclash, his first full-length in six years offers some hope and adds some shade to The Bug’s often dark surroundings.
London Zoo was a tank, that waged dirty warfare on the ears. ‘Skeng‘ shook rooms too.
Angels & Devils on the other hand, adds subtlety to Martin’s sound craft. It’s not all about chest-rattling. The album is well-titled, as the album pushes and pulls between light and dark in two parts. There’s a heaviness to it but it’s not just about unleashing dynamic frequencies, it’s a clammy smoke-filled cavern where your breath is hot and the air stings your eyes.
Liz Harris of Grouper sets the scene on ‘Void’, a distanced dubby choral ambience reminiscent of Massive Attack’s Mezzanine.
The songs when without guests like ‘Ascension’ can sound utterly alone seeking out solace. Miss Red voices the pattern on ‘Mi Lost’, a solitary organ reinforces the point and Gonjasufi plays the seeker of redemption on ‘Save me’.
Side two moves into the dark and gets devil angry coal-face of red-hot with The Bug’s regular MC counterparts returning things to an uneasy regularity. Flowdan shakes things up alongside Godflesh Justin Broadrick cheese-wire guitar line and Martin’s pummeling intensity is heralded. Roll Deep’s Manga takes us back to a grimier time on ‘Function’, while Martin references trap music production in his own unique way and the now defunct Death Grips couldn’t sound more at home in another’s mud than Martin’s.
Flowdan’s flow sounds paranoid (“snipers on my rooftop) and deep in the belly of the beast-type and Warrior Queen has no patience left as the reggae foundations of the music shake around her. Flowdan has the last say offering up his murky dancehall surroundings on the last track ‘Dirty’.
The album’s lighter first half Angels, brittle and lost, take us to the fire and burnt finale occupied by the Devils. One could exist without the other but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
Long-time drum’n’bass producer dBridge has a new EP called Move Way out next month on R&S Records. Most notably, the release will feature the title track, a collaboration with Skeptical which plays out of speakers like a tonne of dub half-time drum & bass bricks, a relentless quake with a Rasta urging the listener to move their bumbaclot.
On the B-side you have ‘Plain To See’ and ‘Death Of A Drum Machine’ a widescreen D&B rolling cut. It’s released August 12th. Get a load of this:
Northern Irish producer Unknown has teamed up with White Collar Boy / Frank B vocalist Gemma Dunlovely for ‘I Cry’*, a new track on an EP of the same name on Belfast’s Champion Sound Recordings. ‘I Cry’ is a shuffling atmospheric downbeat garage track. The EP is out on vinyl at the end of June / July for digital and also features two more original tracks and a remix from fast-rising Northern Irish producer Ejeca.
Ifan Dafydd, the Welshman who was formerly James Blake roommate continues his post-dubstep explorations synth runoff explorations with Alys Williams on the vocal sample. ‘Celwydd’ means lie in Welsh so Google tells me. The track is taken from a compilation called Recordiau Lliwgar which features another Dafydd track is out on double 10″ vinyl in March. Previously.
But her voice is one that deserves its own place and ‘Stars’ her debut single produced by Redlight is a great first spotlight, a slice of live-wire club soul with twisted vocals with nods to dubstep rhythm. It’s released on Toddla T’s label, Girls Music and Ninja Tune.
Twisting a first album Adele sample into an effusive dubstep production, Oxford man Alfie MacGibbon’s ‘I Made Up My Mind’ has the sound of a big club track: snarky synth bleeps, mournful female vocal and headnodding percussion. Toronto rapper Price gives this one an extra dimension, like the middle of a mixtape feel.
LHF are a collective of future dubstep and garage producers living in London, Mumbai, L.A., New York and Rio that are coated in the aul mystery cloak. Consisting of people who have musician names like Amenra, No Fixed Abode, Double Helix, and Low Density Matter, they have released an album called Keepers Of The Light under the LHF banner on Dusk and Blackdown’s Keysound Recordings.
None of which has any bearing on ‘Tandava’ other than background info as this track doesn’t appear on that compilation. In fact it sounds nothing like the dark hallowed sonics that appear on that album. ‘Tandava’ is the light in the dark, it’s positive and upbeat in tone, not resting on uncertainty. It’s completely at odds to anything on Keepers Of The Light in that its shuffling beat and unfolding piano melodies recalls Four Tet rather than anything more blacked out and grimey.
A (un?)official video by Miguel Bidarra for my favourite track from his new Kindred EP, which I highly recommend you pick up now on Hyperdub. ‘Loner’ is the shortest track on the three-track release, the tightest and the one mostly likely to be played in clubs. The other two tracks at near 12 minutes ‘Kindred’ and “Ashtray Warp’ inject Burial’s trademark metal-clack dystopian rhythms with a freshness via arpeggiated synths and low bass rumbles.
Fresh new sounds out of Cork from Ian Ring and Rachel Koeman, a duo going by the name of Young Wonder (Twitter) who released their first video today for ‘Tumbling Backwards’, a direct to the head dubby pop thrill that you could imagine sounding big on the radio.
In a move that surprises me little considering his form for producing music videos for hot new acts, Brendan Canty will release their six-track debut EP on Feel Good Lost Records on April 14th on limited physical release and digitially. That EP is an impressively put-together first release filled with big beats, pitched vocals, euphoric synths, a sample from The Avalanches and Rachel Koeman’s sweet timbre. Canty and Feel Good Lost also did the video.
Download ‘Tumbling Backwards’ below and come back here next week for a Daithí remix of the track. More remixes on the way from: Sun Glitters, SertOne, Sacred Animals, VAARsity (of Zombie Computer) and more..