January is historically quiet on the release front. Not here at Organic however! What will pass the musical test this month? Bass barometer Mick Muttley gives it too us straight!
Moresounds - Moresounds EP (Astrophonica)
This release felt really off-colour and bothersome the first time I listened - the loud shouting of the titular "Blood" word on the opening cut, and a reggae/dancehall swagger gone wonky on "Estacion", stretched out through an extended mix. Halfway though, things started to fall into place, and I could see myself loving this in the future. I was right. Most of the fills are fit for riddim territory, like closer "Riddim Again" with its ag-core bassline lurching about all over, the complete work subducted by dubstep space glomeration sweeping up dust and spitting it in blasts of lurid bass sine. "Flocon" is particularly effective, reviving halfstep drum & bass but never being just that; it's got the junglist energy with its tribal drums and razzy mentasms, but overall "Moresounds EP" is about putting more in until things get drizzly on the windshield. Luckily there's plenty of pretenders Charlie Fracture and Neptune's imprint is wiping off the platter. Fire...
Boxcutter - Gnosis EP (Cosmic Bridge)
Om Unit's label serves up a surprising 160 BPM release of electronica that celebrates "slowfast" - an oxymoron that was inevitably going to happen somehow with the onset of dubstep fracturing into bass music, speeding up to old school drum & bass with a mixture of half and double time drums. Raw like sherbert stirred with 7Up, the texture fizz is refractive of 90s Warp and Flying Lotus, one of Barry Lynn's many contemporaries. Lynn was doing this before Lotus though, playing in Nijmegen, Holland where I met him with Planet Mu's 0=0 at a label all-nighter. Such identity loss - face when I was introduced was hazy - isn't evident on these tracks, as they channel the spectogram of "Bad You Do (Halfstep Mix)" up 20 or so BPMs. Gnosis is knowledge of spiritual data, and Boxcutter certainly has a knowing of dubstep's previous shamanic connotations; where people were packed in dances ranging from Vexd's nervy angst, to Mala's hypnotic reverentiality. His arpeggiated electric guitar on "Not The End Of The World" reigns in Robert Fripp working with David Bowie on "Heroes", while a pleasing lack of squelchy LFO (in its place, pure sub, mitigations with vocal fragments and trap percussion) renders the EP a step forward from a land now populated by carbon copy post-step in all genres. Worth buying.
Garden City Movement - Entertainment (BLDG5)
Named, inconceivably alike to one of Antoni Gaudi's famous architectures, "Casa Mila", "I used to be someone else" is a fine line to begin an EP that offers full entertainment in the veins of post-dubstep and garage, with a healthy smattering of melancholy and (a)musing lyrics. The pacing of the sounds is very structured on conventional buildup/breakdown see-saws, but Garden City Movement trump emulating post-rock's non-electronic devolution; a game of loudness and fetishization of riff. This is music transcendent in instrumentation (gloopy synths, grainy guitars, die-cut drums) that turns riffage (see the D Major swooning of "Move On") into extra. "Move On" has a very fine arpeggiation with glockenspiel winding the mid section to rain samples that speak "movement". Nothing belies inconsistency, leaving you appreciating the sounds on offer further. Best of the pieces here is "Entertainment": what marries the ambiguity of sounds to lyrical themes of codified consistence: "Sometimes I'm thinking that I / but it's only lust / sometimes I'm thinking that I / it's just not enough" is followed by "Our thing our thing / now this is real". A veil of unease falls over the entire record, perfectly peppering the more traditional electronic soundset of synths, clicks, pops and slides.
Hidden Sound - Trust (Unreleased SoundCloud download)
This is the sort of stuff Photek could be doing forthright with the post-dubstep style of tracks like "Pyramid". Unsigned right now, Hidden Sound from www.subvertcentral.com has been ear-worming his way into minds of more thoughtful junglists of every variety. This was discovered via The Beat Ranch, the Subvert Central forum for posting tunes. With a thread titled "a minimal techno / jungle / dubstep tune", crossover with bass music was imminent on the speakers. "More like a background 'back of the mind' track, second half has a twist. Made in Reaper, loving the new DAW." The early beat pattern is reminiscent of Hessle Audio's Joe, whereas the second half cuts up the Amen break with swanky delays added to the potion against obvious dance floor brews. Hidden Sound's more downtempo beats are a mixture of BoC, Plaid, Autechre and Bola. He transcends influence to regulate recognition with carrot (dance-ability) and stick (work longevity). The eerie bass arpeggios of the breakdown sound like an airplane ready to take flight.
Various Artists - Uprising (Project: Mooncircle 33 Track Compilation)
I usually get disconcerted about large compilations on quality terms. Because no matter how strict the submission process is, some (almost) objective junk occurs. When I started reviewing for Organic, "Uprising" entered my inbox. I gave it two chances. Then I decided to save a more dedicated listen for now. Back in October it had some choice tracks, particularly Night Logic's "Unkleness" with its live percussion smorgasbord.
The compilation flows well at least. For DJs the selections are over time palatable. For changeable listeners rewards are more pronounced. Since we experience trying to unwravel the real meaning of the tunes as artworks themselves. "Escape" by Sieren is an early example of ecclesstial beauty as a prolonged effect. That's thanks to the technique of slotting the vocals in between drum pulses gracefully. Overall the comp is chock with moods, my.head - "Counting" another gem with the unquestionable Burial fundamentals: woodblocks, emotional vox, deep synths, and enwombing bass.
This is a prime mover of a large record collection done right. Well paced, lit with underexposed artists who deserve audience, and tightened in its benchmark quota. Treat yourself with no hesitation from the short SoundCloud preview.
Akito - Metamessage (Sub Skank 003D)
Released: 10th February 2014
Seriously heavy techno/dubstep bass and square wave power plodder on Akito's titular "Metamessage", the type of track you could see yourself skankin' to in the club before you've heard it once. Mashing up Doc Scott techstep set subtle aggression with a grimy 3AM feel thanks to pixelated prism sound effects, Akito, one member of the Sub Skank collective - a club night turned label - makes use of a small palette across the 4 track EP to dab his presence in hefty shades of gray. That capacity for steely beat-work runs throughout, the alternative mix of "Metamessage" implanting some waxed syncopation and piston vibes. "Aqua Tryst" takes us into the realm of Instra:Mental genre crossing, a bass groove harshly laid like a first time waiter for a collection of Royals. It almost sounds like a white boy version of the "Jah" sample Goldie used augmenting the track. Gunshot rhythms weld together the beast. "Bordello Bounce" polishes the EP off like a bullet to the brain, hitting all the synapses to trigger nerve spasms. This is a substantial early release of 2014 with plenty of potential to do damage this year onwards.
Audion - Motormouth [Single] (Ghostly International)
Out now via www.drip.fm
This really is something obnoxious from Matthew Dear. A stuttering groove resists bracing synth sirens, bitcrushed vocal samples formulate a rhizomatic construct on the progression. Other enchantment-enchainments happen listening. 3 minutes have passed, it's barely started. After that a "Hi hi hi" sample gets twisted like a bent-out-of-shape cardboard box in a landfill site. The bug-esque synth is then left to do its Kraftwerk "Autobahn" inducing work, fizzing out of shape like fat from a frying pan, onto surrounding parts of picture. "Motormouth" abhors vaccuum mentality, never settling into a rigid groove and always permeating meat of what preceded it. It's tone is ironically sultrily addictive, such is the detail befitting the constant influx of changed stasis. The texture, however, is something you'll really have to discover for yourself!
Agree with my selections this month? Anything I've missed, or anything that I should be checking out for next? Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me at @MuttleySV on Twitter.