There’s quite a bit good stuff coming lately in all formats and for both the DJ and the casual listener. The lines between house, techno, dubstep, garage and gods know what else are blurring even more so now than when some of these genres were invented. The dubstep scene in Bristol and London is bringing back sounds that have flown under the radar for awhile. The darker side of dubstep is giving way to a fresher take on 2 step and garage. This is more recent EPs I’ve been into and another post highlighting the LPs I’ve been digging will follow shortly.
1. Basic Soul Unit & Lerosa – Panorama Bar 02: Part 1 [Ostgut Ton]
Starting with what is probably the strongest release of the whole batch, Panorama Bar 02: Part 1. The first EP from Tama Sumo's forthcoming mix cd on Ostgut Ton, titled Panorama Bar 02. Featured on the EP are two relatively new artists, Basic Soul Unit and Lerosa. Both artists use a similar sound palette based on nostalgia, yet still both feel relevant and fresh. Lerosa, on a much harder tip then we're to used outshines by a very small margin. I couldn't careless about the upcoming mix cd, but this EP is top gear. Keeps your eyes peeled for Part 2 featuring Levon Vincent and Steffi.
2. Lerosa & Donato Dozzy – Snake at Number 2 [Apnea]
Next up we have some more Lerosa, this time with Donato Dozzy on the techno imprint Apnea. To be honest, I was skeptical of this combination because I haven't been able to really get into any of Donato Dozzy productions. Lerosa on the other hand hasn't made much music that I don't like. Four tracks sewn from the same material, stitched quite differently. The main track, “Big Snake” has what sounds like disco/funk samples for percussion, with some wicked reversed synth lines along with some occasional bleeps and bloops, all resting on some dubbed out bubbles and bass. If Lerosa were steering the first track, Dozzy takes the desk for track two and three, bringing the dub to the forefront. While it seems, Lerosa brings up the rear with his idiosyncratic electro tinged beat excursions.
3. Ibex – 360 [Rush Hour]
I don't know how anyone is supposed to keep up with the constant release rate, matched more impressively by high quality standards, but Rush Hour Recordings are doing it large. Nearly every release from their relatively short discography has something I've dug or have though, someone else may be interested in. The latest is 4 Detroit jams from Ibex. Even though they fit into nice tracks, I imagine these to be made in long passages of jamming on some analog equipment. “Scatterbrain” to me is the standout track. Although, I really do enjoy all of these, I can’t tell the difference between the original mix and the dub mix of 360.
4. Lee Curtiss – Smoking Mirrors [Spectral Sound]
Switching gears to a little bit more mainstream release, we have Lee Curtiss's third EP with Spectral Sound titled “Smoking Mirrors”. One track, and it's good one. Lee has an uncanny ability to build a track around very simple elements. Lee gives us a main synth with a healthy delay, female vocal samples, bongo loops, and a simple bassline. Many may think this is average, but this is a fantastic track to really build up some climax.
5. Rennie Foster – Songs for Homeless Housers [Greta Cottage]
A new artist to me, Rennie Foster, brings up our next highlight on the recently established Greta Cottage Workshop. Besides being released on the strangest label name I've heard in a bit, this is awesome stuff. I'm not huge fan of “Belladonna” or “Ghostlife”, but “Butterfingers” and Water Drums are stunning examples of the house and techno hybrids largely favored in my selections. “Water Drums” is really something to talk about to. I've bought plenty of minimal trying to be cool, using water effects that are just thrown in for some ambience. The track starts off with what sounds like some splashing in puddles which works it’s way into a solid foundation for the track. Eastern samples round out the track. I’m sure we owe much to digital manipulation at how fucking cool it all sounds, but I'm inclined to stop trying to figure it out and just listen.
6. Roof Light – In Your Hands [Styrax]
Moving into more broken beat tings, is an EP with a longevity and genre-bending capability many only wish to attain. Styrax is keeping us on our toes by switching up styles and gives us some garage, post-dubstep. The lead track, “Around Here”, lulls you in with melancholic chords and lazy beats, but the vocal samples really give the song the soul injection it needs to stay afloat. “Heart like an Airport” picks up the tempo while using the same ingredients; more on the souful dubstep tip, comparable to 2562 or Martyn. Reverb chambers set high in the mix for track 3 "In Your Hands". Radiance rounds out the EP with a Bristol perspective on Detroit rhythms ranging from P funk to Basic Channel. Give this is a go even if you think dubstep is a dirty word, no wobble 'round these parts. Late, late night vibes, major wind-down grooves.
7. Phaeleh – Lounge [Surface Tension]
"Yacht-garage", says Boomkat. Weird description and fuck knows who their trying to appeal to. Regardless, Phaeleh's recent EP on Surface Tension is fantastic. Jazzy, chilled dubstep; like Joker exchanging 80's neon synthesizers for an Ibanez guitar and a Fender Rhodes. Geiom remixes the title track Lounge into a more dancefloor ready step. Modulating syncopated synths really give the track a dose of energy and movement ready to keep a party going. The final track is a remix by Phaeleh of Vaccine's Atrium (no idea what the original sounds like) which is like dubstep created with trip-hop sounds.
8. Landslide – Parables (Rolling Dub) [Landmass]
Next up, is a dope release from Hospital Records Landslide. If you're so inclined you can check the original (grime), instrumental, or the Ramadanmam mixes but you can keep 'em. Landslides own Rolling Dub version is the clear standout track. Probably the most peak time type stuff I'll buy in regards to the current garage styled dubstep. For some more killer Landslide creations check out his Dreams and Visions EP on Landmass.
Until part 2, stay safe and support the artists by buying the music. Hopefully Loose Ties Mix 3 will be ready soon and possibly an exclusive interview from a much overlooked producer.