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Review: Outlaw Breaks Feat. Gemma Fox & Sweetie Irie Dutty

Label: Left

One of the best of the current crop of ragga chat tunes. A hyper-catchy tweak-bass melody underpins sweet scat from new talent Gemma Fox and vocal stabs from stalwart Sweetie Irie. "You say we're heavy/you say we're rough and tough but dem nah ready," sings Fox. No shit. Dutty beats + dutty bass = 100% dutty dancing. Read more » 

Review: Cyborg 1 Shockwave

Label: Invader

Only need a guess or two as to Cyborg's identity, but this slab isn't anything to die for. Although it features nicely organic beats, the A-side's a touch redundant. And while the flip's "Roughneck" twinges some nerves with its ragga sample and its varied keys, its similarly a bit tracky. Useful, probably, though not decapitating. Read more » 

Review: Gareth Oxby Timewarp

Label: Poodle

Ooooh. A thumping couple of numbers here from half of the UK's rollicking Tribalation. The simple and irresistible formula: start by fusing tough, organic percussion with understated synth and bass tones. Slide in dub-evoking vocal sample (title cut) or outlandish laser effects (the flip's "Vacuum Dub") and stand back as the floor sweats. Read more » 

Review: Pieter K Rapport

Label: Offshore

Pieter K's already displayed his talent at complex drumwork, but he dabbles further into melody on "Rapport"-experimental, deep headphone business with a melancholic feel. The flipside's "Nexus" is like Drexciya gone d&b, all bubbling underwater electro bleeps, crunchy glitch sounds and hairpin turns. Read more » 

Review: Referenced For Your Safety

Label: Pork

My introduction to "Pork and the Future Sound of Hull" was at a house party in LA. Somewhere between those quaint coastal towns, the label happened upon Bloomington'ndiana and the music of Referencered. For Your Safety takes downtempo formulas and gives them a vigorous shake. Hauntingly beautiful at times, disorienting and goofy at others, the album coaxes smiles either way. Even the song titles ("Electronic Beats Made Easy") get to poke fun. Even "Tribute to the PSS-140" (named after an old Yamaha keyboard) wears this lo-fi aesthetic on its sleeve. Read more » 

Review: Nick Holder Rockers Delight

Label: DNH Records

Nick should have called this "Bootlegger's Delight." Side A is Barry Brown's "Step It Up" reworked for the DJ. Flip over to a dancefloor version of Linval Thompson's "Rock Me." Great for a house-to-dub transition. Read more » 

Review: Top Buzz Living in Darkness Rmxs

Label: Dark

Modern-day drum 'n' bassists attack Top Buzz's 1992 rave classic "Living in Darkness." Urban Takeover's Mulder turns in his usual jumpy bits, but the tear-out award goes to Rascal & Klone, whose much-anticipated version preserves the alluring trumpets and dramatic buildup of the original, and channels them into a charging dark roller after the drop. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Mas Confusion

Label: !K7

Music Aus Strom, which achieved cult status via Funkstrung's stewardship in the late '90s, awakes from its dormancy with this extremely coherent (if slightly dated) first compilation. It's the kind of thing you'd have expected two years ago in the heyday of pre-glitch melodic IDM, but that's not to say it's not wonderful. Read more » 

Review: Books On Tape Throw Down Your Laptops

Label: Deathbomb Arc

Mixing guitar chords with shuffling breakbeats of various tempos in spy-chase like sequences, Books on Tape proclaims its stance as "beatpunk," and features members of indie bands Bright Eyes and Slow Coach guesting with main man Todd Books. Forgiving the "we're so punk that we're making electronic music!" attitude, Throw Down's got occasional out-of-the-ordinary moments, mostly when some yelping vocals are thrown in, though any rawness they might possess is constrained by unyielding beats. Read more » 

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