Pushing Red

Faultline 5 flyer backFans of deep Drum & Bass are likely to be familiar with Warm Communications, one of the most interesting D&B labels of the 2000s and certainly one of the best American ones, along with say, Offshore and Violence. I got to meet label owner Heath EHL in Sept 2003 when we booked him at a Faultline party at The Tenderloft, and although the cops broke it up and he never got to play, I really liked the dude and have remained interested in the music he plays and releases. So naturally I was jazzed when I found out he’s launching a new imprint called Pushing Red, “Here to further expand the possibilities of dubstep / techno.” The icing on the cake is that he’s got four excellent tunes from my SF friends Jus Wan and DJG to kick things off.

pushing-red-logo

Here’s the announced release list:

RED001 – JUS WAN
A. AZURE
AA. DWELL

RED002 – DJG
A. AVOID THE NOID
AA. DUALITY

RED003 – REMIXES
A. JUS WAN – AZURE [ F REMIX ]
AA. DJG – AVOID THE NOID [ HEADHUNTER REMIX ]

I’m also a big fan of Headhunter and really like the couple releases on 7even I have by F, so I can’t wait to hear the remixes. All in all this looks like a solid start to a new techno-y dubstep / dubsteppy techno label. Be on the lookout for 001, out soon on full art promo (a respectable decision.. fuck white labels.. haha).

See Pushing Red @ Myspace for audio clips.

April pickups part deux

Dubstep

Martyn – Great Lengths CD (3024) [3024005CD] – see previous post!

Instra:Mental / Breakage : Futurist / Late Night (Nakedlunch) [NL 002] – A great 10″ F I N A L L Y getting a full release. Futurist is a shimmering slice of synthetic electro dubstep (dubstep electro?). Late Night features gorgeous pads and a minimal groove skating along over big fat Breakage bass weight. Both tunes are devastating and a fine addition to the mellow end of the dubstep spectrum. And, the sleeve has Agent Cooper’s face on it!!

Pinch : Attack of the Giant Killer Robot Spiders! / Teleportation (Planet Mu) [ZIQ236] – Attack has an IDM-screwed kilter with deep bass pulses and wobbles, not to mention an excellent b-movie title. Teleportation is a slower and more straightforward piece with the brain of the track in the eerie ambiance and dub techno stabs.

Drum & Bass

Vampire Records Presents… Once Bitten, Twice High (Vampire) [VAMPCDLP1UK001] – Compilation on Phil Source Direct’s uneven and stylistically scattered label. I grabbed this for a few tunes on the cheap but have come around to a couple more. If you can be bothered to dig through the weeds, check out System “Final Enemy”, Bal “Remembrance”, Resound “Razorback”, Survival “Wet Summer”, and ASC “Caesium”.

Martyn – Great Lengths

Martyn - Great Lengths (3024) [3024005CD]

Martyn – Great Lengths (3024) [3024005CD]

Hooray for the much-anticipated debut full-length from one of my favorite producers! Martyn found his own artistic voice, hit his stride and launched his own label before writing an album, so he’s made it look easy. On “Great Lengths” he puts his own melodic and emotive spin on dubstep, house and even ambient bridge tracks, all with strong techno and garage influences. The album is highly listenable: catchy, hooky, deep, and innovative yet familiar right out of the box. It’s hard to pick favorites but I’m especially drawn to Elden St, Seventy Four, Little Things and the undeniably upbeat lead tunes, Right?Star! and Krdl-To-Grv. If you’re a vinyl collector there’s a good chance Vancouver & Natural Selection are already in your crate on 12″ (3024 002) but they deserve the reprise. Martyn has also achieved a rare feat in my mind by making a song with Spaceape that doesn’t bug the crap out of me, perhaps by employing a couple filters to spice up his monotone. I wasn’t sure about the other collaboration, a slow-building dubstep vocal workout featuring dBridge, but it really grew on me. Then the other clog dropped and I realized (I think) that dBridge sang the vocals, which makes it especially impressive as he’s known more as a producer than a vocalist, but quite believable when you remember his brother is Steve Spacek. Packaged in a very nice three-fold digipak with more of the label’s psychadelic cartoons and design by Erosie.

April pickups

Drum & Bass

Alix Perez : Im Free / Melanie – Shogun Audio, SHA024 – Im (I’m?) Free is a catchy bleepfest, love this one.

Data : Muted / Splice : Metalheadz, METH 077 – Muted is one of those simple two-step tracks that slowly wormed its way into my subconscious. Not as into Splice, similar synthetic techstep sounds but a bit harder with a dirty reese.

Alix Perez & Sabre / Sabre : Everglade / God Fearing : Metalheadz, METH 076 – Everglade is a solid acid dancefloor tune. I’m a bit more partial to God Fearing which is eerie and syncopated.

Subwave : Dreamcatcher / Special Skills : Metalheadz Platinum, METPLA 008 – Continuing the Metalheadz love-in, Dreamcatcher is another solid headz a-side but again I picked this up for the flip: disorientating, breaks-heavy, stabby.

Spirit : SHK / Nightshade : 203 Records, 203001 – First release on Spirit’s sister label to Inneractive featuring the much-anticipated hands-in-the-air raveout SHK. Nightshade has a nice groove, more along the lines of his mellow Soul:r side, like his track Holding Back or Orchid.

Dubstep

Marcus Intalex : Debbit / Four Three Three : Revolve:r, REVOLVER014 – If I’m not mistaken this is the first solo dubstep 12″ from Mr. Intalex. Debbit starts out as deep roller then the techno pads come in and shit gets real emotional, in a good way. Four Three Three is carried by a 4-4 housey beat with a big layer of dub techno awesome sauce.

The Roots Of El-B : CD : Tempa, TEMPACD012 – I love some El-B tracks but I wasn’t buying 2-step at the time the 12″s came out. Figured this was a good buy.

L-WIZ : FIRST STEP / MOJITO / PRAYER ROOM : RED VOLUME RECORDINGS, RVOL 008 – Something for everyone here. First Step is as big a dancefloor half-step tune as L-Wiz have yet to release but maintains a Reggae skankin’ feel. Mojito is the pretty side of L-Wiz, for fans of Amy Diamond (their tune, not the pop singer). Prayer Room is also nice, minimal and stabby but with a broken beat swing.

Benga / Skream : Technocal / Trapped In A Dark Bubble : Tectonic, TEC 026 – Unusual bassline on the Skream tune, pretty much bubbles darkly like it says on the box. Technocal is a solid Benga swing beat with kind of an acid-lite feel.

New oldskool jungle release – Scientific Wax Retro 001

SWR001A SWR001BEquinox of Scientific Wax has launched a sister label, Scientific Wax Retro for oldskool jungle sounds. The first release is Equinox “Babylon” b/w Nebula “Destiny” on a clear red vinyl 12″ (SWR001), limited to 300 copies and exclusively available by mail order from the label. Babylon is a previously unreleased 8-bit tune from 1994 while Destiny is new but in a throwback style. Fierce stuff and essential for oldskool lovers! I got my copy, now go get yours

March pickups

I thought I would kick off my little blog here with some quick mentions of tunes that floated my boat over the past month or so.

Drum & Bass

Dom & Roland / Dom & Gridlok : Funk Hunt / Catscan : Dom & Roland Productions, DRP007 – This is the side of Dom (and Gridlok) I love. Two funky techstep tunes that roll like no other, thickly layered with interesting samples. Reminds me of another great record on this label, “Bump In The Night” off Dom’s album.

Fanu / NSF : Poltergeist / Come Back : Lightless Recordings, LIGHTLESS005 – Poltergeist is spooky, dark drum funk. The b-side is a Jekyll & Hyde twistup of James Brown (I think) by Sick and Destroy of Germany’s Neurotic Sound Foundation collective.

V/A : Magnetic Fields : Camino Blue – Latest in a series of digital compilations from this German new-school atmospheric D&B label. I pick up almost everything they release. Like most compilations there are a few substandard tunes but this one has some gems by Modemellow, Kytel, and label owners P.B.K.

ASC / Resound & Furi Anga – Smartbomb / Waterpipe (Vampire) – This has been out for a while but I finally grabbed it on digital. Smartbomb is ASC doing deep, ploddy techstep but with his usual attention to atmospherics while Waterpipe is a lively and fidgety dancefloor tune with that characteristic Resound flavor.

SOLAR : NORTH TO FUTURE / STEP TWO : OUTSIDER MUSIC, OUTSIDE 021 – Another solid 12 on Paradox’s label dedicated to breaking new talent. North to Future really grew on me with its retro emotive beats, pads, and subs. Step Two sounds exactly like Paradox and there’s nothing wrong with that : )

Dubstep

Horsepower Productions : Damn It / Kingstep : Tempa, TEMPA 042 – Damn It is a smorgasbord of dub samples with sax, melodica, gunshots, guitar, breaking things, chimes, vocals, just about everything but the kitchen sink. Absolutely love this tune.

MARTYN / 2562 : Yet / Kontrol – Tectonic Plate 2.1, TEC 025 – Sampler from the next Tectonic Plates comp. Pure goodness.

Coalition Of The Killing “We Are The Glitch [DJG Remix]” (Blipswitch Digital) – Local Bay Area dubstep flavor. DJG has long been one of my favorite local DJs and now he’s writing excellent dubstep tunes. Buy this here.

Breakage : Together / Rain – Digital Soundboy Recs, SBOY019 – Robocopped! Two amazing tunes, sampler from Breakage’s forthcoming album “Foundation.” Together is Breakage at his minimalist best backing the raw energy in Roddigan’s voice.

Untold : Sweat / Dante : Hot Flush, HFT006 – New techno/garage-influenced dubstep from London’s Untold. Really into his other releases on Hessle and his label Hemlock.

Toasty / Search & Destroy : The Knowledge (Untold remix) / Candyfloss (Loefah remix) : Hotflush Recordings, HFRMX001ii – Loefah’s Candyfloss remix was one of the first dubstep tunes that really turned my head. I was never into the other mixes it was backed with but with the new Untold mix of Knowledge I finally had good reason to grab the vinyl.

Shed – Martyn & Surgeon Remixes : The Lover Upside Down (Surgeon Remix) / Wedged Chicken (Martyn’s 131 Remix) **IMPORT** : Ostgut Tonträger, OSTGUT020 – Nuff said. The Martyn mix is a bit slow for dubstep mixing but it’s great. Reminds me of the Danny Breaks mix of Amon Tobin “Like Regular Chickens.” Samples of people talking about chickens… why not?