Switching years is the perfect moment to reflect on the past year and to look forward to what’s coming next. When it comes to 140BPM sounds, 2018 looked rejuvenated by new producers making waves, proactive crews keeping release schedules hectic and actual hits shaking dances worldwide. I have to say, though, that I’m expecting even more from 2019 as the energy and creativity seem just right at the moment. So, rather than compiling the best 2018 releases, I thought I’d open this first 2019 roundup with a few producers that you should definitely follow this year as they’re bound to provide great music.
I could have chosen plenty of producers with trailblazing imprints such as Sub Garden, Sub Audio, Indigo Movement or Simply Deep all showcasing some fresh talent. I’ll only pick five though - starting with Tubz. Hailing from Liverpool, Tubz released one of the best grime beats of 2018 in the form of “Victory”. He will continue 2019 in a similar fashion with You Get Me? which comes out February 23 through Chameleon Audio. Kodama is another name you should pay attention to – he has only released a few tunes at the moment but his melodic take on dubstep caught the ears of Sub Audio between others. Head to his Soundcloud to hear why – his skill in harmonic hooks and crystalline arpeggios is unrivalled right now. Mungk has already had a few releases through some springboards crews – “Ganesha” on Abysmal Entities, “Jungle Dub” on Sub Garden and the Salem EP on Blackfox – but his productions are promising in that you can actually hear it reaching new levels with each release. Given the quality of “Tribe”, which recently saw release through Indigo Movement, and the fact that he’s already got new ones lined-up, I’m looking forward to hearing what he’ll bring to the scene this year.
A couple more producers for 2019. Rakjay is definitely on the radar right now – both producer and MC, he’s already been featured on Siege Collective, Strictly 140 and Glome Sound. 2019 looks set to be big for him as he contributed vocals to Hypho’s debut on Loefah’s venerable Swamp81 imprint. Production wise, Rakjay recently provided excellent beats to fit Logan’s relentless lyrics on “Move From We” and “Shellington Season”. I’ve already mentioned J-Shadow in here, but he’s another producer I’m expecting to see breaking through this year. Though his first releases are only a few months old, he already has his particular sound where he seamlessly melts breaks, hardcore, grime, UK Garage and more in pieces that unveil their own world. He’s been racking up releases in the past few months too, so 2019 is looking promising.
Returning to this month, January is traditionally slower on the release front. Obviously there was still fire to be found in the depths of Soundcloud, Juno and Redeye. Elusive collective OUTOFTHEWIRE has been one of the most consistent and interesting names to follow recently and their “Black Google” free download might help you understand why – taking cues from dubstep and trap, OOTW delve into a deeper sound touching on noise music, with heavy subs going alongside layers of saturations and weird mechanical murmur. Though Qant’s sound is a more regular variety of dubstep, similar themes can be found in his recent two-trackers for Sub Garden, which couples halfstep beats with indecipherable strata of cold, factory-made jingling and breathing. “Widerstand” showcases this sound, complete with an oscillating bassline that harks back to the origins of the sound. Fellow Parisian artist Ourman had a new release this month as well, this one through Manchester’s Locus Sound. Ourman was one of the revelations in dubstep in 2018 and Parade brings three more tracks to the table to explain why, where excellent sound design, heavy percussion, detailed bass allow Ourman’s talent to shine throughout. Hailing from Budapest, Leap also came up with three more bangers on the Tell ‘Em EP, out on Silent Motion. While “Smokin’ Ourz” displays his taste for breakbeat and hardcore-influenced bangers, the title-track and its VIP aim for effective dubstep wobblers which I’m impatient to hear on a dance floor.
Some of the bigger players in the scenes revolving around 140 BPM made moves in January too. Hebbe had a massive 2018 thanks to releases on DUPLOC, White Peach and especially the ubiquitous “Mad Hatter”. Numina, with his first release of the year, recently got published on impeccable Belgian imprint Overdue. Heavy-hitting percussion, growling basslines and a fantastic use of space arrange three more flawless takes on Hebbe’s sound. Teffa’s been quieter in the last few months but eventually followed up on last year’s White Peach and Foundation Audio EPs with Faulty Line. Coming out on Cue Line Records, this new EP gathers four original tracks and a remix from label-owner Gaze Ill, focusing on a deep and weighty sound. The title-track and “Four Dimensions”, a collaboration with Berrik, would be my picks here - showcasing Teffa at its height.
Internet is an intertwined world, where people act on different scales and plans. As an additional side note to this feature, I’ll mention a release whose conception and compiling-phase I was actually involved in, and that I think deserves a note here. La Dub War Vol. 1 is a free download which came out through The Bass Society. It documents a dub war that has been going on in the French scene in the past few months, which ended up bringing together producers beyond cities, crews and styles. It is testimony of the current energy going on in that scene, and includes its share of great grime and dubstep dubs.