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.
[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.
[Raid System Japan]
‘Supra’ and ‘MR2’ get stuck in with heavy, thumping, broken Bass beats with shards of rave cheese and Trance arpeggios sprinkled over the gaps. And it’s a shame really, because he almost gets away with it. ‘Supra VIP’ strips it back to a throbbing, cavernous, bare beat work-out but it ultimately lacks spice.
Three tracks of fuzzy, aggressive, distorto blasting broken beats and demonic incantations and screams, which succeed in conjuring an unintentionally mucky, old school vibe. This makes it stand out from the crowd and sound fresh as a result. ‘Redu’ isn’t even Bass per se and could be lo-fi, industrial Techno from a Drop Bass Network era.
Hatcha seems to have been extensively A&Ring the best producers and tracks of late. His recent slew of quality releases has far outstripped the tiresome Reggae/Rasta shenanigans and braggadocio of Mala’s Deep Medi camp and followers. DCult keeps the beat on a tight, straight 140bpm Trap pulse and the vibe, looking for trouble; all repressed, bad neighbourhood, menace and blurts of gnarly saw bass.
Russian producer DWise gives a superlative lesson in bitterly cold, mechanistic resolve. The shifting, clanking, rusty beat slowly evolves and invokes a ghostly, night time T-34 advance across the steppe in white out conditions, while the engines thrum a deep gurgling, tubercular bass, lashed into and out of hearing by squalls of suspended drone and digital wind. The result; industrial without resorting to the clichés.
The Dub/tech scientist ARtroniks expertly delivers a bubbling locked groove, double time bass battering while the beat holds solid and slow. The production is glistening and second to none as usual.
Something about Hench productions always hits harder and heavier. Jakes seems to have an ear for the punchiest beats and bass around. I can totally forgive the re-work/use of the famous Dead Dread sample ( when the (almost Gabber weight) hammer drops and pummels out a stark, merciless, neo-dungeon vibe that builds to sadistic bass wobble, deliberately devoid of all sophisticate pretension. Totally on fucking point and again, less is more.
[Phantom Hertz Recordings]
Off the Future Hertz Vol. 1 compilation. “You’re a fucking rat in a maze!” Warehouse vast, ultra phat, heavy low ender that will level it with suppressed anger and menace when played out. Enough said.
Hell Yeah! A Techstep veteran comes in from the cold and drops some blueprints with no fanfare whatsoever, proving that he never lost his hardcore. Just the way it should be done. While these tracks may not be as bass heavy as some and have a (pleasing and accomplished) loose, sketch quality (that attempts to hide nothing of their construction), they put dense, knowing, druggy acid and militaristic marching drums through the prism of hangar reverbs, the results of which skirt genre definition. Neither Dubstep, nor Bass, which can only be good.
Max Mudie/Mutated Minds/Hectic
Every track here; just as strong and heavy as each other, which for a four tracker these days is very rare! A blueprint for the future surely? Listen and learn.
Max Mudie serves up two tracks; ‘Bryanstone Road’ a lashing, chromite, industrial clanker with superbly filthy, nasty bass rasps and ‘Dusk’, which slams with densely compressed, gritty low-end broken beats and frenetic, chopped breaks and laser shots and swipes of bass gnarl, not unlike in Aquarian’s territory. Mutated Mindz’s ‘Blitz’ goes into a more monochrome, floatation tank vibe – very metronomic and pulse driven but hanging with foreboding dread and bad trips. Hectic’s ‘Fire’ hints at clichéd MC bubbling hype but keeps it in check and washed out enough in reverb to bury it densely in the murky bleep and bass. It really works here and creates an oppressive, neo-rave, psychedelic spin to a played out formula.
The dry crackle of radioactive, digital cockroaches infests the spectrum and a paranoid, skittering Trap murk pushes the minimal deep sound into an even more bombed out, rubble-strewn landscape. Nothing remotely pleasing to cling to, just a digital wasteland – a bold sonic achievement.
Mantis/March of the Elephants
‘Mantis’ is a relentless, wailing, psychedelic, locked groove/metronome bludgeoner that will nail your head to the floor! ‘March of the Elephants’ evokes the title perfectly, all stampeding bass/beat combo and unleashed, washes of howling pads. For once the ARtroniks remix fails to better the original.
Too muted for the dance floor but this is late night, alone in bedsit land, listening. A repetitive strain injured wrist wanks out a languorous, depressive bass that achieves a grotty, fetid load of liquid genetics (like the third wank of the night at 2am). Enough to make you hate yourself and your addiction to smut certainly.
A cybernetic and highly polished slab of throbbing, jet-black deep dubstep. Functional and one for the bag certainly, but lacking boldness or character and ultimately destined for the digital landfill.
Locked in the Cellar/Pyrotechnic
Tribal drums are normally always problematic in dance tunes (with their bullshit Balearic/Salsa House connotations or, even worse, at the other end of the spectrum, William Fucking Bennett’s Cut Hands atrocities) but here they work to full effect, no question and put an original layer to the Amazonian nocturnal murk and slam. Possibly the epitome of the gnarly Hatched sound du jour, ‘Pyrotechnic’ is another iconic, expert slice of predatory lurk and menace with razor sharp swipes at your guts and snarling, building, rib-cage pummel that will smash and rip over the sound system. This is a must have tune for Bass-core heads.
Nothing particularly slamming but as suggested by the artwork, it does conjure a cartoonish, skeletal lumber and walking dead shuffle of grubby, brittle, graveyard dub.
Infekt / Sectra / Wulf :
Milc presents Deep
Three stand outs from this compilation for me: 1) Infekt: Abandoned – A cavernous, almost Tarkovskyan, bass haunter, oozing bleakness from the devastated forbidden landscape of the Zone. Man’s dreams and desires… 2) Sectra: ‘Encrypted’ – A petrified, crackling distortion mangles the beat into a totemic spine and locks us into a no-frills, head-banging groove with sub-low pressure and sonar probes. Fine dub filthiness. 3) Wulf: Like Water – Another complexly constructed, cinematic slice of dub drift and restrained intensity.