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Sonic Router

Sonic Router 007 - A Dubstep Column For November
The Quietus , November 2nd, 2009 13:34

Oli Marlow looks after your bass needs for November

Sometimes you discover an album so good that you don’t really want to let anybody else in on it – let alone break that subtle bond of non-piracy trust a label extends you by way of a promo copy - so that you can bask in the illuminating glory content in the knowledge that you’ve happened across something intrinsically beautiful. It’s happened to me before with Fog’s 10th Avenue Freakout album on LEX Records and to a lesser extent Nostalgia 77’s debut LP way back when, but that’s exactly how I felt 8 weeks ago when I received an inconspicuous package containing the relatively unannounced new 2562 record, Unbalance.

Now that the secret's out, available to purchase in its perfect digipak glory, I’m honestly overwhelmed with a glad feeling. People around the globe will be clawing their way through the colourful synthesis and bursting out over the dance floor sensibility of Dave Huismans - the producer behind the numerical moniker. His first LP, Aerial, released on Pinch’s Tectonic label was a taut affair, shuffling from rigid technoid drums to a broken swung stutter, cemented with a consistently booming low end and a synthesizer style that reeked of ingenuity and measured culpability but his follow up raises the bar further, pushing the synaesthesia out from the greyscale of Aerial and into a kind of muted orange.

Clean, stark and so stylistically perfect everything on it demands your attention; littered with so many shiver inducing moments as the drum patterns on ‘Dinosaur’ or the bounding synths and parps on ‘Like A Dream’ it’s simply a must purchase if only to dive into a world so perfectly thought out and sculpted.

Also announced earlier this month, by Blackdown in a comprehensive interview, is another thing I’m happy to be able to now talk about; Punch Drunk Record’s human catalyst, Peverelist’s debut CD. Jarvick Mindstate is the collection’s title - referring to the fusion of man and machine as in the case of Jarvick, who invented the mechanical heart valve – and having been privy to an ahead of time listen - after loitering around in his Rooted Records workplace a couple of months back, managing to leave with only a hand scrawled CDR rather than the brown bag full of 12”s as is usually the case on each visit – I can confirm that, in a similar manner to 2562, Pev has styled a unique take on the dance floor.

Choosing to lollop around the conventional dubstep structure, Peverelist reveals his genius slowly, painting the mean times with rough patches of reverb and multi-textured percussion, his work always demands a complete and thorough listen, as his most celebrated moments come at th last evolution. He perfectly unfurls subtleties and those deft arrangement touches in troves; his command of bass is also one of the most obvious pleasures, disgusing it so perfectly from the mix that you can hear, transforming the low end pressure into a purely physical act that happens upon you.

There’s no date set for ‘Jarvick Mindstate’s release just yet but his label, the afore mentioned Punch Drunk, is set to be busy on wax with the imminent release of Guido’s sophomore 12” ‘Beautiful Complication’ b/w ‘Chakra’ amongst other scheduled releases. As a member of Bristol’s new slew of producers fusing the slower booming kick drums synonymous with hip hop with instrumental funk, Guido here stands on the edge of crossover appeal with the wonderfully weird A-side. Warping a strong female R&B vocal with bounding bass pulses that meld into a laser tinged lead line and moments of uplifting strings he perfectly contrasts the voice’s melody; underpinning its slightly autotuned pang with rude boy swagger and making it undoubtedly his finest moment to date.

Sticking to the Bristol postcode, Guido’s close associate Gemmy is also set to reveal new material in the form of the Johnny 5 EP on Planet Mu which is pencilled in to drop on the 23rd November. 4 tracks deep it more than solidifies the producer’s talents for fusing tough bass with overtly infectious lead riffs. But the South West’s claim staking doesn’t stop there, Headhunter will be imminently returning to the fray with two EPs on Tempa; Sex At The Prom which features the Modeselektor remix of Headhunter’s stand out album cut ‘Prototypes’ - which has been constantly battered and play listed for months - and 3 Mad Ps,’ a three tracker that duly pushes him away from the glittering techno chords of previous work and headlong into thick 3rd-beat-of-the-bar snare drums and high pressure bass lines. A 12” that really displays the producers welcome diversity, much like his more funky tinged cut, ‘Love Dup,’ due for release on Soul Motive.

November also seems to be a busy time for Scuba’s Hotflush imprint who, after releasing the ghostly double pack Aesaunic EP which contains one of the most minimal and lovely Scuba production to date 'Symbiosis', are sitting on a new EP from Sigha. The London based producer has proved on two previous occasions to be ‘deep like the proverbial pit’ and the 10 minute epic ‘Rawww’ doesn’t do much to dis-sway my gloriously shit statement. Sigha is seemingly so inundated by delayed textures that he physically drips them at every turn letting his kick drums and white noise percussion do most of the work spurring this sprawling opus forward. The accompanying two tracks verge on ambient work with ‘Hold Your Heart Up To The Light’ pattering its percussion like rain over the clouds of mechanical hums and reverberations and ‘Untitled 2’ pumping out the 4x4 drums atop wooden creeks and mottled swells of synthesized noise. It’s Sigha’s bass work that gives the tracks the identity though, they’re a pair of purely frequency focused precision heaters that feel brilliant when played super loud.

Joy Orbison is also returning to the fray with the first release on his Doldrums label, following up his impossibly successful ‘Hyph Mngo’ (b/w the immensely overlooked ‘Wet Look’ I might add) 12” with ‘J.Doe’ b/w ‘Brooklyn Calling.’ The A-side further embellishes the talent for housey piano chords, cut up vocalisations and rolling drum breaks that Orbison has quickly become idolised for, but the flip hints at a different, more bass centric style, which forcefully works neck muscles in stripped back more UK Funky type of manner. He’s got remix work coming, a remix 12” of Jose James’ ‘Black Magic’ should be in shops now flipped with a remix of the same track by Untold, as well as a release on Will Saul’s Aus Music label and additional Doldrums singles.

Speaking of Untold, his double pack EP, Gonna Work Out Fine is out now on his own Hemlock Recordings. Working best as a summation of his recent production activity and featuring 6 tracks the EP focuses on his penchant for exploiting the bass groove on each hit of the kick drum, filling the space the driving stabs leave wide open with all manner of subduing house chords and twisted melodics. ‘Palamino’ and ‘Stop What You’re Doing’ are the obvious initial standouts, screaming “wheeeeeeeeeeel” for their rolling drum lines and insane bass pressure repectively but the remainders are littered with the astounding touches of a producer so far on top of his game its ridiculous. He’s also confirmed that the remix 10” that inspired the whole of last months column, the one featuring that James Blake remix and the Pangaea remix of ‘I Can’t Stop This Feeling’ will be in racks and baskets by the end of November too, so keep your eyes peeled, rumour has it that none of the Hemlock releases will be getting a repress, so invest at every opportunity.

Words: Oli Marlow for

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