So Tectonic, run by DJ Pinch, has been one of my favorite record labels for a long time, especially since the release of Tectonic Plates, Vol. 2, one-half compilation, one-half epic DJ mix, that showcases dark, contemplative, future bass-permutations across 2 CDs. They’ve just released one of the biggest singles of 2010 with Darqwan, aka 2-step legend Oris Jay on the AA side alongside Jakes, boss of Bristol-based Hench Records, which specializes in the heavier, more industrial side of the dubstep ‘ting. Darqwan’s track is broken beats, quiet vocal cuts that float in and out of the mix, and unrelenting, saturated eyes-down bass jabs. Jakes’ track has a swung, smooth gallop and crazy low bassweight, in addition to horrifying samples about the end of the world and the Mayan calendar.
Second, I don’t know how it took me this long to hear about it (big ups to Rub-a-Dub for making me aware of this and for hosting it on their server) but Skream recently released a four-track EP of originals and remixes that are totally free. There’s little consistency in the EP itself, with bangin’ bwah bwah trashers alongside a subtle 2-step bootleg remix of, yes, Show Me Love, but I’ve always been a fan of Skream so I figured I’d provide this for you freegans out there. You can download that all here.
Lastly, I went over the Hench website and saw that they’ve been posting free promo tracks from their mixtapes.
Their most recent give-away is some serious industrial darkness, accompanied by completely inane autotuned ethnic samples which I’m willing to overlook because the bass is so bangin’. This one’s from label artist Amirah. Thanks guys!
So everybody’s been talking about the death of Dubstep (not to mention the death of hip-hop, authenticity, and the author) and the ascendance of lighter, more party-oriented steppas’ delights; you know, the funky, 2-steppy, post-garage stuff that’s been ruling the dancefloors on both sides of the pond. I’d tend to agree that some of this half-time wobbly shit is getting a little old as musicians prioritize industrial synth patches and raved-out aural violence over the percussive subtlety, minimalism, and negative space that early Dubstep borrowed so well from Dub itself. I’m not saying the wobbly shit is no good, I’m just saying that to include banging wobble bass at the expense of the many elements that make a tune worth hearing is a sad mistake, and one that’s being made all over the place. I won’t name any names, but you know who you are.
Regardless, what I mean to say is that, despite all these (understandably) resentful listeners claiming the death of Dubstep left and right (shortest-lived genre ever?), the eyes-down, half-time skank is in fact alive and kicking, thanks to a few innovative artists doing their thing, both in Europe and the United States.
First up is Gemmy, part of the “purple” contingent- you know, Joker, Ginz, Gemmy, Guido, Rustie- that’s managed to tastefully incorporate elements of West Coast hip-hop, glitchy chiptune jams, and bashy Grime, among other things, into the Dubstep vocabulary to stretch the sound just that much further. He’s just released a new single on Earwax, one of my number one labels right now, having released some of my favorite work from Ginz, Liondub, and Jack Sparrow. This is some square-wave, half-step euphoria that builds and drops in all the right places; subtlety certainly isn’t the name of the game, more like satisfaction, precision, and bass-weight. “Last 3 Digits” is definitely the highlight of the single. Buy the vinyl at Boomkat, wait for the digital release, or head over to the Earwax website to enter for a chance to win a signed, limited-edition test pressing direct from the label.
Up next is Sepalcure’s debut EP on the indefatigable Hotflush record label; these two dudes, Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) and Praveen Sharma are a little bit more on that syncopated, ethereal end of the spectrum, with dense layers of unusual, yet coherent, percussion arrangements, crisp, swingin’ hi-hats, liquid atmospheric sounds, and soulful vocals that create the right mood without being overly referential or tacky. ‘Cuz we all know how tacky soul vocals can be. The four-track EP is undoubtedly feeding off of the energy coming out of this flourishing UK house scene, but manages to retain that marijuana-friendly lean-back lighters-in-the-air vibe that makes us love Dubstep so much. This four track EP is out on vinyl, and available digitally at Beatport.
And while we’re on the subject of that PURPLE ‘ISH – which I may get sick of at some point but definitely haven’t as of yet- I just stumbled upon this brand new Kavsrave EP out on Numbers, another infallible record label with an EXTREMELY AWESOME website.
Though I doubt this record needs any help getting sold, it’s worth talking about; it’s riding on the same contemporary wavelength with gorgeous, floating RnB vocals, fat, saturated synths that can satisfy you even through laptop speakers, and unmistakably hip-hop influenced drum-machine beats that will turn any hype dancefloor into a cavern of nasty stanky slow dance. Download it over at Boomkat and keep your eye on Numbers because I can assure you that label is the future!!
Nic Thayer has been busy, real busy putting the final touches to his debut album on Passenger Records. It features some fantastic collaborations from the likes of Black Noise, as well as this it features guest vocals from N’FA, SPORTY O, Sway and MIKE BEATZ & LEX-ONE. You may remember Lex-One from the rather infectious worldwide radio and club hit Riverside (Let’s Go).
Listen to Nick Thayer – Just Let it Go
Listen to Nick Thayer – Just Let it Go on Soundcloud
Just Let it Go Tracklisting
Bring On The Drums
Can’t Touch Me Now ft. Lex One & Mike Beats
Let It Go ft. NFA
The Pressure Point ft. Sporty-O
Reach For The Lazers
Give Me Some More ft. Sporty-O
Grey Sky Blue ft. NFA
Rockin It ft. Black Noise
Divide And Conquer
Mercedes Benz (Nick Thayer Club Dub) ft. Sway (Bonus Track)
Download Free Nick Thayer Tunes
To celebrate the fact that Just Let it Go is now out, he’s giving away two free 320kbps tracks for free!
Remix Nick Thayer’s Gonna Getcha
It doesn’t end there,Nick’s been very generious and also offered the parts of one of tunes on this album yourself. To get involved, simply download the parts and get involved. All he asks is that you label your creation as this: Nick Thayer – Gonna Getcha (YOURNAME’s Remix).
Whether driven by their influences or written from pure discovery (most likely a merger of the two) CASXIO sounds like a band that stepped out of the seventies and transported their sound into the present. The glowing neon keys and funky back beats on their Seventeen EP are simply seductive. Hearing this music makes you just want to shake your ass and throw up those ones (you know, that index finger gun you flash and wave when the funks got hold of you). It’s actually a tease, as we only get two newbies here; “Seventeen” and “Boiling Point”. The other three tracks are remixes of the title track.
“Seventeen” is a song that would fit beautifully into an uplifting scene from a disco documentary, or Pete Tong’s record bag during sunset at Café Del Mar in Ibiza. Floating vocals, a pounding 4/4 kick, the crash of cymbals and the short, driving guitar rifts make this track the perfect choice for soundtrack work. It’s vintage without sounding dated. “Boiling Point” kicks things off on a somber piano tip, making you think for a second that an electro ballad maybe coming. The mood is mellower here, but the chorus reels the funk back in. This is solid head-bobbin’ music, the kind that triggers your swagger a little bit.
The Glass drops serious funky, deep tech house knowledge with their mix. The wah wah of the acid bassline makes it bang nicely. It’s perfect for that 5am get-em-back-up-and-moving set on the decks. Golden vs. Public bump 80’s flash and synths with their interpretation. They even toss in the classic electronic triangle stab (think “Ring My Bell”) for good measure. Skrillex AKA Sonny Moore pitch the BPMs up a bit for their remix. Again we get a taste of classic 80’s club culture: Thumping pads and synths arranged for the big city dancefloor, claps, quick loops, catchy chorus and all. This is party music for the unpretentious.