November was a weird one. Compared to last month’s outflux of releases from some of the most revered labels in the 140BPM scenes, this month seemed a lot quieter – save the noise around the announcement that Commodo’s “Rikers” is coming through Deep Medi next month. When it came to writing this second installment of the 140 Roundup though, I struggled to actually shorten the selection, as many releases seemed to deserve a mention. This isn’t simply a case of understated releases; this is also due to the fact that some of the most distinct voices in these sounds at the moment came up with some unique music through these four weeks.
Let’s start with one of the biggest tracks released this month – TMSV’s remix of Mani Festo’s “All Potential Badboy”. It's located at the end of a breakbeat-heavy Denham Audio x Mani Festo split EP for Beat Machine Records that would deserve an entire mention in a feature for 130BPM sounds. This one seems to exist between genres, slotting the original breakbeat within a dubstep pattern, while evoking the flow of TMSV’s uptempo, footwork-infused tracks. It is one of the best expressions of his own sound the prolific Dutch producer gave us lately.
On more of a classic tip, but with the same effect, Indigo Movement’s founder Duckem produced one of his finest beats yet in the form of “Bad Catnip”, which just came out as a free download through Manchester’s Locus Sound. This one takes us back to minimal, ‘06 halfstep, pulsing through with a steady beat highlighting the track’s impassive lead – but it does so with a specific Duckem vibe, which permeates through esoteric, flowy atmospherics. In a similar vein, Von D’s second release on his own label Dubs Galore once more brings forward his taste for the dub roots of dubstep, but with a distinct weight that prolongs the label’s inaugural “Frictions”. “Hardcore Dub Music” may be the most notable track here, but the EP works well as a two-tracker, as “Sly Clap” complements the first track with a spacier vibe.
Things get more exploratory with Southside Dubstar’s latest, courtesy of Le Lion and Fill Spectre. The former’s “Reso Intu” hits heavy with its midrange onslaught, mashed over skippy percussions. Fill Spectre follows through with a deeper effort that retains the same amount of swing, creating a beat that seems to crumble under its own pressure. The two producers finally come together on “Techa”, which melts the best elements of the first two tracks to form a beat that kind of sounds like it’s being heard from outside the club, or tuned in between two radio stations. Just as skippy and adventurous is Prettybwoy’s latest effort, which came out this month through POLAAR. The Japanese producer has long asserted his own take on grime, using urban percussion works and fragmented structures to develop his reconstructed sound. As such, Parallel Lives, sounds like a perfect follow-up to 2016’s Overflow, but it does take this sound further and may well be Prettybwoy’s best release yet. This is grime and breaks read through the artist’s own prism, where fractured beats underline ambient textures, and melancholy tunes emerge from the void. A rewarding listen as a whole
LFK’s another producer that found his own voice pretty early in, and managed to express that with a very personal sound. If you missed on the numerous free downloads and releases he published in the last three years, a catch-up session came up last month in the form of Discography, which brings together 36 tracks from that time, showcasing his melodic, haunted twist on dubstep. Or you could also have a listen to the latest two tracks he released through his Bandcamp – a short, floating number called “Infused” and the urgent vibes of “Childhood”, one more fantastic track to LFK’s credit. Montreal-based producer SBK. is another producer that got noticed, in the world of dubstep, for his essential use of melodic elements. His latest EP came out this month’s via Vienna’s dynamic Sub Audio Records, and acts like a perfect illustration of his sound. Problem City EP unveils a wintery vibe, with soft textures, snowy sounds and intoxicating hooks. Though the whole EP is worth a listen, “Catch A Thief” would be my pick here, showcasing SBK. at the height of his production skills.
On the grime side of the spectrum, Namaste’s Hybrid EP, out through Simply Deep, is another EP that deserves a mention on this tip. The Bristol-based producer brings melodic elements to the foreground, delivering four tracks that evoke memories of the Purple sound era, interpreted in a more contemporary way. A promising effort, with tracks such as “Hybrid” or “UV” being able to bring character in any mix. A couple more releases to round things up – the first one being Aztek’s Synesthesia EP for Indigo Movement. Indigo Movement has already demonstrated with its relentless publishing schedule its ability to showcase up and coming producers at their highest point and though Aztek is no newcomer, Synesthesia indeed gathers four of the Low Figure’s member best tunes. “Wide Eyed” in particular is excellent, stumbling through with class, discreet chimes and elusive percussion. On a more epic sound, “Behind Enemy Lines” is another standout moment within an accomplished effort overall. Finally, I couldn’t not mention the first edition of DUPLOC’s newfound Duploc Selects series, an intense ten-tracker that brings together some of the top figures of the current dubstep scene: Zygos, Juss B, Khanum or Markee Ledge all feature, as well as 140 veteran BunZer0. The tracks are as good as the lineup suggest, with Zygos’ “Ditcher” and Surreal’s “Omni” being two of my personal picks.