April seemed like a quieter place compared to last month’s frenzy. There was still plenty to be found all over the 140BPM spectrum though, including some promising insights into the next few months. One of the best releases came in the form of Infernal Sounds unearthing two old school dubs from veteran producer Cluekid, whose break and dub infused tunes helped shape the future of dubstep in the late 00s. The fourteenth addition to the IFS roster brings “Mistik World” back to life, allowing us to properly taste its crisp production, tight drum programming and lovely esoteric atmosphere. On the flip, another archive tune, “Bunn Da Sensi”, reaches for that mix of breaks and dub that made tunes such as “Jay’s Reese” such classics. Though more recent, another long-awaited dub eventually got released this month, as Sector 7 Sounds decided to put Jook’s “Flying Nimbus” to wax. It’s easy to see why it attracted such expectations – “Flying Nimbus” finds the perfect balance between weird atmospherics and a killer drop relying almost entirely on a massive distorted lead. The track is efficient and defiantly catchy, but you shouldn’t overlook the rest of the EP, for example “Rolling In His Grave” and “Bittersweet” are just as competent.
For Ep's that work in their entirety, Silent Motion’s latest offering was not one to miss. Grouping eight tracks together, including two collabs and three remixes, it perfectly portrays the aesthetics of Nottingham’s SkintDisco, bringing heavy-hitters, crystal-clear arpeggios and refined layers of noise. The producer’s signature “trippy shit right” sample resounds throughout, while SkintDisco offer potential classics in “Uno Bish” or “Stella”. The remix side gathers some of the best players at the moment, with Ceiva’s great rework of “Stella”, Glume & Phossa’s killer take on the title track and Cartridge bringing “Debts” to further depths. Following on last month’s Tomos EP, Zygos had another impressive moment this month with Drained, the latest EP to come through TRUSIK’s imprint. “Run Down” and “Drained” illustrate the Belgian producer’s ability to couple intense basslines with a unique sense of dynamics, with hi-hats giving both tracks their circular motion. The lead track, “Direkt”, a collaboration with Teffa, is just as noticeable, propelling one of the best basslines I’ve heard this month with scratchy leads. For a more meditative variety of dubstep, Ourman’s new EP is one to listen. Released through French imprint Egregore, it further evidences why Ourman quickly became one of the most promising young producers in the scene – Double Vision collects four tracks showcasing impressive sound design, sharp subs and drums, great sense of space and an ear for catchy melodic lines. The title track and “Drifting” would be my pick here – “Double Vision”’s stop-and-go tactics just really work, while “Drifting” adds an interesting psychedelic side to Ourman’s sound.
London-based duo Traces have been amongst the artists I was eager to hear more from since first hearing their 001 self-release and “Odds”, a tune they put out at the end of last year through Rarefied. Their new two-tracker came out this month through Kaarbanik Sound – “Scorched” is a deep dubstep wobbler, simple and effective, centred around its filtered bassline and waves of percussion echoes. “Illuminate”, which completes the package, rolls in a similarly deep fashion, with a welcome melodic twist on Traces’ style. I mostly focused on dubstep this month, but there was obviously fire to be heard in other styles – I’ll mention one grime release, Moarrish, the initial offering from Red Lagoon, Felix Dubs’s new label. Felix himself is in charge of the release and provides three convincing examples of trap-leaning grime, impeccably produced and aimed for the dancefloor. “Belly”, which features MCs J.Dot and JayEye, definitely stands out, but the entire EP is worth listening, as “Love There” and “Moarrish” are fuel for any 140BPM set.
I can’t help but mention a release I'm involved with to close things up - La Dub War Round Two. I mentioned La Dub War in my January feature, but here’s the info in case you missed it: a dub war that’s been going on in the French scene since last December. The first compilation gathered all the tracks from Round One, grouping twenty-ish tunes from some ten producers abroad style, crew and city borders. Round Two just went up as a free download compilation and goes even further as the clash expands – around fifty tracks, twenty producers, showcasing the diversity and current dynamism of the French bass music scene. If you feel fifty tracks is too much to get a grasp of the whole thing, I did a mixed version of the whole thing which went up as Trax Magazine podcast 348 – go check it out and download the whole release through The Bass Society’s bandcamp.