— GRIME & DUBSTEP MONTHLY ™ —

A temporary home for monthly Mixmag Grime & Dubstep reviews while the magazine remains out of print — here are September’s picks.

(Sundaysaurus by Asami Watanabe)

Album of the Month: Sundaysaurus – ‘Pretty Poison’ (Chow Down)

Stunning

Highlights

1. Comet Crush

2. Potatohead

3. Disco Laundry

‘Pretty Poison’ is the debut album by Seoul-born, Tokyo-based producer Sundaysaurus — a deft and sumptuous nine-track record stitched together like a patchwork quilt. To be released by Manchester-based label and party, Chow Down, it’s a record that feels in part, loosely anchored in the vivid, new-gen grime sounds that first started to pool in the early 2010s, but there are also myriad nods to the sounds that have defined Sundaysaurus’ own club experiences. Aside from ‘Ice Monster’ — the album’s beautiful, heart-wrenching opener — there’s room for spiralling grime trips (‘Comet Crush’), all-out rave euphoria (‘Disco Laundry’), scurrying breaks (‘Sakura Jungle’) and bolshy, inverted club-pop (‘Solar Panel’). Despite sudden shifts and breakneck left turns, each track bleeds into the next with deliberate ease too, thanks largely in part to the widescreen scope of the record as a whole; Sundaysaurus’ sound maybe singular, but on ‘Pretty Poison’, she never loses sight of the bigger picture. One of the best debut albums to be released this year. 9/10

(Kamran)

Tune of the Month: Kamran – ‘Destruction’ (1000Doors)

A brave new world

Kamran’s debut EP, ‘Transmission’, listens like a breath of fresh air and ‘Destruction’ — one of five tracks inspired by and shaped by his Iranian heritage — is arguably the best of the lot. An incendiary take on OG grime sounds, refracted through a contemporary lens and spiked with nods to sweet-boy RnG and upfront club rhythm, it bookends an EP that sees Kamran reconnect with both his inner self and his music after nearly a decade producing as Moleskin. Beat of the year contender? Probably. 9/10

Silas – ‘Genesis’ EP (Mean Streets)

Thoroughly impressive 

Silas debuts on Trends’ Mean Streets imprint with the fierce, sabre-toothed growl of ‘Genesis’. Comprised of four tracks, it navigates bruising, smoked out trap (‘Power’), pulsing, neck-snap 8-bar grime and ghostly, low-end hybrids like ‘Evil Monastery’, showcasing a sound rooted in exploration and experimentation. Final cut ’Tribe’ — a thumping, upfront twist on funky a la early Champion productions — is also superb. 8/10

Lemzly Dale – ‘Farewell’ EP (Pearly Whites)

Ingenious — pure and simple

The genius of Lemzly Dale never ceases to amaze and on ‘Farewell’, he brings the Midas touch to four original productions that feel rich, lavish and full-bodied. The sultry, new-money swing of opener ‘Zinger’ — a luxurious, breezy twist on hotel lobby music — is a revelation, while the the cinematic, widescreen drama of Bond-esque villain theme, ‘Paperboy’, is garish and dramatic. Title-track ‘Farewell’ continues the theme apace, steeped in piano glitz and faux romance but cut with razor sharp claps and subtle grime flashes, before the washed out, dreamscape strings of ‘Hope’ start to drift away over the horizon. A marvel. 9/10

Thelem & ONHELL – ‘CAUSATUM’ (CHAPTERS)

Scorcher!

Thelem & ONHELL unite on biggest, baddest new single ‘CAUSATUM’ — a joint effort out now on Thelem’s CHAPTERS imprint. Made in just a day and lifted from Thelem’s forthcoming ‘Analogic’ EP, it details crunching low-end pressure, scorched-earth textures and blasts of face-melting, cosmic white noise. Not for the faint hearted but a monster nonetheless. 7/10

Head Space – ‘Bandito’ (New World Audio)

Artillery barrage 

Weaponised, late night dubstep bangers from New World Audio here, this time by way of Russian producer Head Space, who returns for a second outing on the label with ‘Bandito’. The title-track is especially bludgeoning, heavy on both whirring sub and sense of menace, albeit punctuated by short, hushed passages of subdued, mournful respite. The EP also comes complete with a booming remix of ‘Void’ by Q-100 and a further Bisweed flip of Head Space original, ‘North West’, which although breaks-y in part, is utterly devastating. Listen with caution! 6/10

Kodama ft. LX One – ‘Cronauer’ EP (Subaltern Records)

Barcelona stand up!

Subaltern tap Kodama — a new signee based in Barcelona — for their latest 12”, ‘Cronauer’. Comprised of five tracks, it sees Kodama collaborate with dubstep vet LX One on the scything, hardbody title-track, which serves as a looming entry point to his producer world. The gorgeous, hyper-bright, xylophonic melodies of ‘Piranha Plant’ are a delight, while third track ‘Dorsia’ reverts to a more bruising formula, albeit offset by subtle, filmic crackle and delicate melody patterns that lurk below the surface. ‘II Tempo È Oro’ functions around deft piano keys, lo-slung beats and Italian spoken word verses — a real left turn in the context of the EP — before the blissed-out boom of hazy final jam ‘Crookshanks’ closes out. 7/10

Barom – ‘Don’t Leave, Never Arrive Please’ (Off-Switch Audio)

A total surprise package

German producer Barom dazzles on ‘Don’t Leave, Never Arrive Please’ — a sweltering six-track plate of inventive new-school grime sketches. Opener ‘Dusk’ is a mazy, square-wave onslaught awash with nifty textural flashes and bonkers FX, while ‘Agon’ again chops and screws away at conventional grime patterns at will. The contorted, bubblegum melodies and playful glare of the title-track is the EP’s most intriguing cut, while the rasping, neon-lit screech of ‘Bright’ is also a potential show-stealer. Final tracks ‘Pour Gold’ — a baroque, cartoon-y, hi-pressure flip — and the rolling charge of ‘Inim’, offset by delicate, trinket-box melodies, sign off on a record that’ll take many by surprise. 9/10

Hi5Ghost x SAULE – ‘CXT002’ (Cutcross Recordings)

Two of the best face off 

Sicaria Sound’s Cutcross imprint is already laying down markers two releases in, with Hi5Ghost and US producer Saule going head-to-head over four tracks released on chrome-plated USB. The format, which sees the pair share a track each, before remixing an original production of each other’s, aims to help artists connect and cross-pollinate. Hi5Ghost’s ‘Long Way Home’ — a crunching, iced-out lurker — and moody, dungeon-dwelling Saule heater ‘Affliction’ set things in motion, before the pair trade blows, with Hi5Ghost going full battering ram on his breathless remix of Saule’s ‘Lockscrew’. Saule’s jittery, skeletal percussive mix of Hi5’s ‘Breathe’ is a worthy riposte, spotlighting just how far two producers can push each other — even operating in different continents. 8/10

Captain Over – ‘TRANSMISSION 03 (via Bandcamp)

Listen good to do good

Captain Over has worked tirelessly over the last few years, quietly exploring grime and beyond via a multitude of self-released records, even working with Trim on 2018 debut single, ‘Sick’. ‘TRANSMISSION 03’, the third volume in a mixtape series that sees him flip grime, rap and RnB classics and personal favourites, is both punchy and brilliant, as the colourful space-jazz of his ‘What You Need’ edit and syrupy, ray-gun funk of Kid Cudi’s ‘Day n Nite’ twist both attest. Available exclusively via Bandcamp, all proceeds will be donated to Refugee Action and Stop Hate UK, with Captain Over also intending to match all donations himself. Pow! 8/10

Von D – ‘Hunedoara’ EP (Infernal Sounds)

Another one!

Infernal Sounds, one of our favourite labels of the last two years, continue a hot streak of releases by enlisting Von D and ‘Hunedoara’ — a deadly three-track plate that follows recent 12”s for Deep Medi and Artikal Music. The title-track is scything and grandiose, a total battle charge of an instrumental cut with serious weight — it hits front and centre from the off — while B-side cut ‘Akasha’ functions around twisted, looping fairground melodies and again, more signature, monstrous bass weight. Final track ‘Layers’ is the curveball of the three, cut with complex, intricate sound layers (no pun intended) and swirling, oddball FX that showcase a lighter, more playful side to Von D’s output. 8/10

Monitor

Jakebob continues a stellar 2020 apace with the release of debut album project, ‘Smokers’, which details 12 fresh grime instrumentals — including collaborations with Spooky & Jack Dat — and 3 vocal tracks … out now on Chameleon Audio, it compounds a remarkable breakout 12 months and signposts an increasingly bright future … Tik & Borrow are also at it again, this time via Dirty Beats — their new EP ‘Umans’ spotlights is system-rattling dubstep at its grizzliest … also be on the look out for XTR002 — a 9-track compilation spanning grime, breaks and funky by all Australian producers including Secundus, Shinobi Yurei and Open-eye … it drops October 1 via Sydney-based label, Extra Spicy … looking ahead, listen out for Repulsion’s monstrous ‘Uh Oh’ EP via Next Level Dubstep and Commodo’s ’Stakeout’ EP for Black Acre— a part two of sorts to May’s ‘Loan Shark’ EP, spotlighting why he remains streets ahead of 99.9% of the competition. 

(Commodo)

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