Datacide 17 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

Various: Osiris Music 50 [Osiris Music UK]
Simon Shreeve (one half of Kryptic Minds) has been in the bass music game since the early ‘00s and stacked up and impressive, heads-down, grafting, back catalogue to boot, turning out drum and bass, dubstep and lately, finding his true voice over the last few years, in more crossover techno excursions under his Monic guise on labels like Tresor and his own Osiris Music UK.

There are definitely some parallels to be made with Pinch and his Tectonic/Cold imprints in their shift towards merging dubstep with techno and deep house into new broken forms and in building solid stables of rotating, like-minded artists. The labels rarely disappoint in scope, vision or production values; they’re always highly crafted, tech, never overtly “experimental” but always pushing the envelope with a moody restraint. Sometimes this tendency can end up sounding a bit muted, a bit formalist for sure, but then there’s a sense of an embedded long game involved, not for radical short, sharp, shock treatments. It’s horses for courses innit.

This compilation marking the fiftieth release is a well-picked sampler of the last few years’ output, with plenty to pique an interest in further exploration of the back catalogue for the uninitiated. Definite highlights are the two Monic tracks, and Killawatt’s cyclical, gritty, bass wobbler “Pressgang” from 2015, still sounding out there as a front runner (although nothing’s yet to surpass the belting, syncopated broken beat Monic version of Manni Dee’s “Sister Nobody” from 2014 in my opinion).

Ian Martin: Sleepwalker [Panzerkreuz]
Viewlexx continue their run of low-key re-presses/re-releases, this one originally from 2013. Never heard of him before? But I’m impressed enough to go digging after this. Quite an achievement; to make a record that seems to synthesise an entire hallucinogenic trip, or the soundtrack to some unfinished, budget-pulled Italian zombie flick. The tone stays within an eery, almost John Carpenteresque, lo-fi Bladerunner Vangelis vibe throughout. Simple, direct, lush, detuned – you’re transported to bleached out, dystopian film rush clips off the cutting room floor; empty suburban shopping malls, streets before dawn, radioactive sunsets, and lonely drug abuse. [Read more →]

Datacide 16 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

[Oblivion Fringe]
In space no one can hear you scream. These are maybe not prime time dance floor tracks, but both are expertly crafted and pristinely cold, languid, metronomic, deep-space probes that strap you in and take you far into the void. The engines cut out and you float, suspended, contemplating the silence of eternity. Both cuts as solid and airtight as each other.

Aluphobia & Hataah
A fine, short, cut of ethereal, psychedelic Bass minimalism. Like lying back and watching thick curls of skunk smoke floating lazily in a pale winter light while tinges of paranoia develop as you wander what you’re doing with your life.
The drop out into (little more than) a murky thudding heartbeat seals the track’s expert reined in dynamics.

Bad Feeling/Insulin
[Hanger Management HNGRMGMT001]
His best and most slamming release to date and probably my favourite Bass release of the moment. Drenched in dark warehouse rave vibes, he’s definitely beefed up the low end and fine-tuned his chopped breaks and kicks aesthetic. In fact I would go so far as to say; no-one does it better! Proof that keeping it simple always leads back to something stronger. ‘Bad Feeling’ could almost be of Somatics/SNS/ADC/Anibaldi Italian broken beat vintage, just as ‘Insulin’ hints at a Mover vibe too! This is a must for any fans of that era/sound. [Read more →]

Datacide 15 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

[Tri Angle 32]
Lackluster, infuriating? Or just disposable and instantly dismissible? Is this the contemporary conundrum? Caught between the ADD and mindless craving for “more” of the social media generation/addicts and the online “like” hype and bluster of the progenitors themselves. Why even bother to release albums anymore? I’m genuinely lost for words with this particular one even after multiple listens. I wanted to like it. I follow and, more importantly, support his output by purchasing the material. I like what I perceive he is sonically stretching for. I’ve listened to this stone cold sober; after a few beers; blind drunk, but it irritates and annoys me in all states.
The simple fact of the matter is there are no bones or balls to any of it. It feels obtuse and willfully obscure. What he may think is discipline and tech skill can just as easily be dismissed as pretension, even arrogance. “Snow Leopard” my arse! (I’ve tracked one in the Karakoram my friend and only ever saw its footprints, much less imagined a shitty racket like this as a soundtrack to their elusive beauty). Any of these tracks would bring a dance floor to a rapid standstill and see punters heading to the bar or for a smoke. Nothing wrong with that. So then as a listening album where’s the focus? It stutters and farts and crashes and jackhammers away, coated with the usual soft synth pads, washes and cod sci-fi FX/design, disappointingly veering into the weakest and most tired of breakcore undynamics. Only by the end of the 7th track “Pandemic” do we get any sense of slamming groove or focus evolving. And “Burnerz” finally gets into gear (for all of 3 mins or so) in a kind of vintage Italian Broken Beat stylee (think SNS, Anibaldi, ADC and their ilk). But by then so what? There’s a limit to the interest one can hold to repetitive “deconstruction”.
This should by rights be the last statement Rabit makes in this area, but after his even more useless and wretchedly awful 12” with Dedekind Cut on Ninja Tune I fear the man really has disappeared up his own proverbial.
I had a History teacher at school who used to score through whole paragraphs of our teenage scribblings with a red pen and capital letter “WAFFLE!”. Funny I should think of this and in my cantankerous middle age fully appreciate this now, but there we have it. Waffle indeed.

[Tectonic TEC088/TECCD020]
In contrast to Rabit’s fart-in-the-wind of an album this just seems to get better on repeat listening and feels like a well researched, deeply knowledgeable journey through past and current genres.
I have to call him out though. His biggest, most shameful faux-pas is kicking off the whole thing with an utterly by-the-book old-school breakbeat ragga re-fit(shit). Absolute derivative nonsense. By this stage I think we all have to agree there’s nothing more to say or update on the matter. My advice: avoid, delete or fast forward. It’s a better listen without.
Skirting the edges of Deep House, Techno, and Bass, the rest of the material proves a masterfully tech exploration of route finding. There’s no pointless probing or faffing around on the arrangements. They choose their line and go for it, taking in their influences without fuss and with almost casual confidence.
“Gravity” is long slow builder; a subby, banger that kills it on the breakdown with a re-polished, wobbly, reese and vintage doomcore claps. [Read more →]