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Reviews: Bass


Review: Neil Landstrumm Bambaattaa Eats His Breakfast

Label: Planet Mu

If you’ve ever cared about jungle, garage, or rave music, chances are pretty good that you like non-sequitur vocals, disorienting bleep melodies, and grime’s shuffle-and-slash percussion. Maybe that’s why Neil Landstrumm’s third album—which relies heavily on those ingredients—seems a little calculated on paper. However, in practice, Bambattaa Eats His Breakfast comes off more like Landstrumm tapped into the "sample anything" ethos of breakbeat ‘ardcore and filtered it through a bunch of quasi-modern reference points. Read more » 

Review: Cloaks Versus Grain

Label: 3x3

Something wicked, wonderful, and unique has been brewing in the U.K. for some time—the rips, tears, and jagged edges of the utterly relentless Cloaks. This is true industrial music, the sci-fi sound of robotic alien factories tearing apart twisted sheets of metal and welding them back together into chunks of beats and bass. Informed by dubstep but standing well outside the genre, Versus Grain draws on Meat Beat Manifesto, Techno Animal, and Merzbow, buzzing and crackling its way through tracks like “Against,” “Rust on Metal,” and “Detritus”. Read more » 

Review: Nosaj Thing Drift

Label: Alpha Pup

As the West Coast’s so-called “lazer bass” scene has blown up in the past year or so, Nosaj Thing (a.k.a. L.A. producer Jason Chung) has been one of those artists you often hear about without actually hearing any music. With the release of his debut album, Drift, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be hearing a whole lot of Nosaj Thing’s tunes from here on out. Read more » 

Review: Alexander Nut Rinse:08

Label: Rinse

The term of the moment is “wonky,” but when it comes to Alexander Nut’s superb blend of urban beats, it’s all about soul, swing, and a distinctly contemporary kind of swagger. The mix starts off in the sunshine poolside, glowing under the warm rays exuded by tracks like Marco Polo’s “Relax.” But the reflection in the infinity pool gets more refracted and strange as the album progresses, leisurely shifting between raw, slightly disorienting electro beats from hip-hop’s razor edge and oversized U.K. basslines distilled from dub’s massive echoes. Read more » 

Review: Peaches I Feel Cream

Label: XL

After years of simultaneously shocking and delighting listeners with her foul mouth, oversexed imagination, and raw electro beats, perhaps even Peaches has grown a little bored with her shtick. Sure, I Feel Cream has plenty of profane dancefloor workouts, but the album also features a few creative left turns that are far more interesting. The bluesy stomp of “Talk to Me” recalls Beth Ditto ofThe Gossip, while Peaches goes Italo and actually sings on “Lose You.” Hip-hop dalliance “Billionaire” may be cringe-inducing, but at least she’s trying new things. Read more » 

Review: Kush Arora The Dread Bass Chronicles

Label: Kush Arora

San Francisco producer Kush Arora makes digital dancehall for us to dance to in 2012—a futuristic, globalized, bhangra-infused ragga built for the impending eco-disaster foretold by the Mayan calendar. Together with a series of vocalists hand picked from the finest in the global dub club—MC Zulu, Warrior Queen, N4SA—Arora effortlessly splices together Asian and digital-dancehall dub. Proof positive that global bass has progressed far beyond mere genre-mashing, Dread Bass is concerned with aesthetics and textures. Read more » 

Review: Starkey Starkbass

Label: Lo Dubs

Starkey’s productions brilliantly ride the jagged line between hip-hop, grime, and dubstep, so it’s exciting to get a glimpse of the musical peers he thinks are creating similar sounds. The mix is packed with crazy blipped-out synths, over-the-top crashing wobble effects, maddeningly complex beats, and a nearly endless supply of relentless, manic energy. Listen closely and you can pick out the differences between Raffertie’s teeth-rattling tweak-outs, BD1982’s dubbier productions, and Wonder’s straight rawness, but the breakneck pace may leave you disoriented. Read more » 

Review: Buraka Som Sistema Black Diamond

Label: Fabric

Looking for a complex, introspective album?

Review: Harmonic 313 When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence

Label: Warp

Harmonic 313 (a.k.a. U.K. production veteran Mark Pritchard) might not have a three-page Wikipedia entry just yet, but the guy has all the makings of an obsession-worthy producer. When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence is Pritchard's best work thus far-the clearest summation of 15 years in the beardy breakz game, not to mention a creative leap forward that leaves much of his past behind. Album standout “Quadrant 3” speak 'n' spells the concept-Detroit-style hip-hop shuffled up with gamey nostalgia and bus-ride melancholy. Read more » 

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