We’re pretty much waist deep into 2018. No better moment to shoot a cheeky peep in the rear view mirror and see what we might have missed…
A solid barometer of how inspired a genre is, and how many new talents are emerging with fresh perspectives and approaches, new labels are the fuel of the future, sowing seeds for times unknown, investing in new-gen names, unchartered sounds and ideas. Or they’re just straight up sick imprints who’ve tapped into a strong source of dark gully arts.
Either way there’s been a serious spate of new label activity across the entire bass landscape this year so far with exciting dubstep and drum & bass labels popping up all over the shop. 18 for 2018, and we’re not even in over our heads yet. Whether they’re already on your music map or not, let’s take this 2018 midpoint vantage point to celebrate the fact they exist…
As Maztek explained to us earlier this month, 0101 is a new chapter in his musical trip where he can focus on his own sound and the people who excite him. So far, so excite: since launching in March he’s smashed our features with his second album Warpath (which featured collaborations with the likes of Gridlok, Virus Syndicate, Redpill and Aeph) he’s also introduced rising Spanish neuro roustabout Alderstorm and already set to drop even more fresh fire in the form of next month’s Uncoded EP. He promised us he had a lot of new to drop, he wasn’t lying. Read the full interview about the label and his album here.
Precision tribal rollage from Cardiff-based Quartz and Berlin-based Survey: Acrylic is dedicated to the darker side of the dance and it’s shaping up with serious promise and detail. They marked the label’s sonic remit out in style with this killer mix in January (featuring the likes of Gremlinz, Overlook, Rhyming In Fives and loads more) the hit the ground running with the launch release Shrunken Heads in March. It came complete with an obscene shakedown from the one and only Kid Drama too, just for good measure. Watch out for more crucial compounds from Acrylic very soon.
Nottingham crew Spyda, Blu Bomma and Slipz have been denting the dance for many years now with their own events and headline appearances at key jump up raves. This year they’ve levelled up once again with a brand new label sized layer. They launched in true style two months ago the infectiously hooky herbal homage All Ganja Man featuring souper sharp shooter Serum on the dials, all wrapped up Sypda’s archetypal arachnid flow. Prepared to be slayed…
Icy vibes: new US label Bleak Winter is every bit as cold as its title suggest. The launch release from Ghent’s ARtroniks set the scene vividly in January with the rattle snake bassline roller Riddle countered by the gently mournful ebb and flow of Manta. Momentum gathered in April with the equally stark and subtly savage Dystopian V/A vinyl only EP featuring Karnage & Mark IV, Korin Complex, Iant, Deadroom and Nixsin. Another EP entitled Bristolian Grime is set to drop very soon. Long may this Bleak Winter continue…
In case DJ Hybrid wasn’t quite busy enough with Audio Addict and Deep In The Jungle, last month he added a brand new imprint to his collection: Boom 93. As hinted by the label name, this one pays direct homage to the foundation jungle spark that started a fire that’s been burning out of control for 25 years. The man himself took care of the launch with two of his trademark amen-splicing sledgehammers Riddim Runner and Don’t Watch and we understand he’s going to follow it with one of his most detailed and ambitious jungle adventures to date. Expect developments on this around September / October. Boom!
Reload! Jungle don Remarc has rebooted his cult foundation imprint Dollar Records in the form of Dollar Digital. Originally launched in 1993, Dollar were responsible for agenda-setting records that shaped jungle drum & bass in its earliest carnations such as R.I.P, Ricky and Cape Fear. More of less dormant since the mid 90s (besides of the occasional reissue) the label came charging back into the game this January with the same pace and energy as one of Remarc’s famous happy slapping DJ mixes. The Evolution EP featured two brand new cuts (Bad Man Tune from Remarc himself and Forward from Turno) plus two crucial remixes from Serum and Bladerunner. Jungle kings old and new; it doesn’t get more authentic than this.
Dubs Galore is a brand new imprint courtesy of French sub craftsman Von D. It’s still at the 001 stage for now, but this skank-addled launch release Frictions is all you should require for the all-important radar inclusion. Rootsical, laced with myriad trippy details and blessed with Rider Shafique’s instantly distinctive smoky dulcets, it sets the label’s stall out with warmth and clarity. Watch out for fresh dispatches after the summer from Von D himself and the currently unavoidable Hebbe. Vibes galore.
Sounds like a quaint olde schoole English boozer, actually a dope new imprint from Nomine. Exploring the currently fertile 120-130 bass and broken beat badlands, the label complements the no-rules energy and aesthetic already established on Nomine Sound (most notably recently with his brain-tickling four-piece EP The Fear) The label kicked off in February with two spacious dark funk jams from Berlin’s Cocktail Party Effect and we have it on good authority more foxy fire is en route imminently.
Brand new UK imprint Glassy are dedicated to 140 fusion, innovation and breaking down any perceived boundaries between the genres. Vinyl-only, they launched in May with the divine Commute from Six Sunsets (backed with an equally remarkable Light from JFO & Sativa’s BFM project) and have since followed it up with a massive 15 track compilation Shards. Featuring forward-facing fire from the likes of B:Thorough, Skintdisco, Beanzo, Arta and loads more, it’s right here on their Bandcamp page, it’s an exceptional document stacked with future talent and you can pay what you like for it. Glassy and classy.
Long standing champions of deep bass and blurred-boundary 140 shenanigans, Keep Deep went from platform to platters this year when they launched their own label operations. Their monthly missives have all hit the sweet spot so far thanks to a wide sonic range that flexes from the gnarly swampy bass of Skuvlow and Tony Rocky Horror to the blissed out charms of Fabricator. Just listen to the wobble on their latest release from Dedicut and you know what time it is. Keep up with Keep Deep.
From Great Yarmouth with love: Kikuji is a brand new endeavour from Matthew D Bayfield, the same man that gave us freestyle beat playground Purple City Souffle and tasty but short lived Great British Bass Off series. Kikuji follows suit with its own distinctive open armed style but with more of a focus on the 140 axis. Noclu (who also took the honour of launching Duploc’s consistently on point label a few years back) set the benchmark with the stunning Folding Shadows EP. It’s Noclu’s deepest and most beguiling body of work Noclu has ever created to date, (you can read about it here) and it sets the tone for future Kikuji excursions, including a forthcoming broken beat and desert rock EPs. Both from well known heads under top secret aliases!
We recently represented the wealth of D&B talent coming from Belgium right now and the same extends to the country’s healthy state of dubstep, too. Joining the likes of Duploc as a dedicated platform for deeper 140 shades, Corneel Goethals & Maxime Verloove’s vinyl-only Overdue imprint launched in March with a crucial three track EP from the man himself, entitled Venery. They’ve since followed it up this week with a thoroughbred stinker from Denver’s Dalek One in the form of Breakthrough. Check it above, it comes with two equally toxic slabs Witchcraft and Terror Strike.
Okay so Hybris’s new label Pseudoscience actually launched last September. But being as that launch release was called Say Hello To The Future and the next two releases have landed this year, and consequently compounded what the label is all about and capable of, we’re including it in this round-up. Expressing Hybris’ deft turn of trippy phrase to new levels, so far we’ve been assaulted by an obnoxious Internet Expert and had our Dots seriously joined by Hungarian newcomer MVRK (who you might recognise from appearances on Vandal and Proximity) As Hybris explains on his Facebook, he wasn’t in a rush to sign any other artists when he launched the label, but MVRK changed that completely with the insane Voyage. Who knows if this will open the gates to more new artists on Pseudoscience but one thing is certain: Hybris won’t release any old guff. Pay attention.
Feeling restless? You won’t be once you’ve finished soaking up the seven releases Rstlssnss have hurled at us since February this year. The remit is simple: no boundaries, no rules, just straight up D&B rawness from tomorrow’s headliners. Since Fractale lit the fire in February with his killer double header of raw tech (Abe) and cosmic stepperism (Groovebox) it’s been fire after fire with every release from the likes of Sl8r, Rizla, Chorux and more. The brainchild of Marky and longtime UK D&B industry bulldozer Calvin Reid, Rstlssnss is active and hungry for new talent. Check their Soundcloud for a hurricane of restless freshness and details on how to send demos.
Not just responsible for the biggest and longest running D&B raves in Bristol, D*Minds’ RUN collective now run a label operation, too. Critical Impact, Break & Skibadee’s long-awaited Creeper / Death Wish set the benchmark when the label launched in May and we’ve been told to expect the full D&B spectrum in due course. But only when the releases feel right and are ready to propel into the ever-chaotic game. “There wont be a flurry of releases on the label,” they told us earlier this year. “We want to take the time to get Creeper and Death Wish out before deciding on exactly what comes next but there’s some exciting prospects in the pipeline.” If the releases are anything as good as their raves, RUN will be a label to keep glued to the radar.
MORE Belgian goodness. Soul Lab kicked off 2018 the way they meant to go on with a free LP on January 1. Featuring the likes of Alexvnder, Fragment, Lasu, Henry and stack more new-gen names, it sets the scene with clarity: they’re building on a bedrock of deep rolling, sun-kissed soul. They’re not averse to the odd cheeky skank or brock out, either; as proved by Diplomat’s Stepper and MelloDrama’s savage groaner King Of Fire. Seek and support.
EVEN MORE Belgian goodness. Ghent’s very own Long John Silver James Marvel is going for gold with his brand new interplanetary buccaneering mission Space Pirate. X marks the spot from galley to gully; Space Pirate attacked the year with a full album Space Pirate Trainer VR OST. Written by Marvel and co-captain Abis (with cabin boy cameos from Cedex & Higher Underground and MC Mota) the album both soundtracks the actual game and hurts the dance with the gnarly dancefloor signature that’s scored James Marvel several Drum&BassArena Award nominations over the last few years. As various artists in our recent Belgian feature revealed, Space Pirate has some serious loot to splash over the coming months. Expect plenty of hooks (not sorry)
“All Sully productions, all vinyl…” The remit of Sully’s new persy imprint is simple but the sound more certainly isn’t: Raw, uncut jungle where the breaks sing and the atmospheres singe you down to the core, Uncertain Hour extends the exemplary body of work the long standing UK producer has developed on a rollcall of respected imprints such as Rua Sound, Astrophonica, Rupture and Keysound. Uncertain Hour is only one release deep so far but man does it scorch… The rampant drummage and classic sample on Vacancy and the flighty space-bound planet blaster Digitalis are both Sully in his breakbeat element. No wonder the vinyl sold out in half an hour. Set your clocks for more Uncertain Hours very soon…