Bruza – Deal Wiv It
“Deal Wiv It” is Bruza’s first release in a while, and it sounds like he never left. ‘Pick It Up’ sees him make light work of a cavernous Silencer beat as he briefly details why he left the music game. ‘Man Or Mouse’ and ‘Stop It’ are full-tilt bangers, as Bruza and a prestige cast of grime emcees spit head shattering lyrics over intense productions by Terror Danjah and Danny D. On the title track ‘Deal Wiv It’, Bruza asserts his idea of what it means to be British, admonishes grime’s naysayers and shouts out Mark Noble. It’s tied together by his flow, which bops around the pockets of a ska-influenced beat courtesy of D.O.K. It’s the standout track of the EP, and that’s down to Bruza’s ability to communicate sensitive social topics while still delivering a banging tune. Overall, “Deal Wiv It” serves as both a reminder and an introduction to one of grime’s most inimitable emcees.
TONCALi & AKA AFK – Brasa No Mapa
The latest heat from Brazil’s grime movement is “Brasa No Mapa”. Released on Tash LC’s label Club Yeke, the record features two key players from the scene in Brazil, producer TONCALi and emcee AKA AFK. Opening track ‘Hard’ lives up to its name with piercing bass lines and unrelenting bars, while the title track ‘Brasil No Mapa’ is packed full of head-spinning production and chaotic lyrics. There are two standout tracks on “Brasa No Mapa:” ‘Contagem’ features earworm hooks, while AKA AFK and N.I.N.A lay waste to a beat full of glitches and suped-up rhythms on ‘Sem Simpiata’. Overall, “Brasa No Mapa” is another stellar addition to the canon from Brazil’s grime soldiers, showcasing two artists putting their own spin on the grime sound.
Kenny Davis x Dullah Beatz – Radioactive EP
Earthspin Recordings have been busy this month. “Radioactive” is a joint EP by Kenny Davis and Dullah Beatz, the first of four releases from the camp this September. ‘Tunnels’ opens the EP with mutant bass, choir stabs and an all-round eerie feel, while ‘Loft’ takes Dullah’s amped-up trap formula and mixes it with ten-tonne basslines and crunching melody lines. Elsewhere, ‘No Permit’ is built around tense string runs and ominous vocal cuts, but it’s the final track, ‘Wide Awake’ that’s the standout on “Radioactive”. Here, horror movie samples, gunshot sounds, and more eerie choir cuts are blended together. The result? Instant screwface. Overall, “Radioactive” is the type of dark, unforgiving instrumental grime created to be heard in a tiny, smoke-machine filled room at 3 am.
Y U QT – Dancehall Damager EP
South London Pressings is the label from U.K. scene stalwart Riz La Teef. This month, production duo Y U QT step up for their second release on the imprint, “Dancehall Damager EP”, which features two generations of patois emcees in Riko Dan and Logan_OLM. ‘Dancehall Damager’ sees Riko let fly over tight rhythms and slabs of bass, while ‘Like That’ features Logan delivering judgement day flows over twisted UKG production. Grab “SL004” to hear two great emcees flowing over beats that are as dark as they come but never skimp on making you want to move.
Dinero Drives – Just Warming EP
More heat from South London, here, this time in the form of a two-track grime EP from producer Dinero Drives. ‘IDK Riddim’ is defined by driving bass lines and murky synths, while ‘Sarajevo’ kicks off with high pitched synths before launching into unrelenting bass patterns. No frills here, just banging 8bar grime made to detonate the clubs. I can’t wait to hear more.
Walton – 6TRAX
Manchester’s Walton returns with “6TRAX”, a record made up of tracks created early last year in the first lockdown. ‘Cold Winter’ alternates between distorted techno rhythms and pulverising bass stabs before switching up halfway through to something a little hazier. ‘Barracuda’ is armed with a rousing lead riff, while ‘Strobe’ and ‘Dread III’ journey into the more noise-influenced strands of bass music. Elsewhere, ‘Drops Of Glass’ shimmers with melody, and the stand out track ‘No Turning Back’ is a full-throttle club banger that sounds like a supercharged version of the Pulse X formula. Overall, “6Trax” is weird and wonderful, with Walton balancing the more experimental aspects of the EP to make the clubbier elements hit that little bit harder.
Acre & Filter Dread – 6 EP
Another EP with 6 in its title, this time from U.K. producers Acre and Filter Dread. “6 EP” and “6Trax” are unrelated but end up working as companions to each other if you listen back-to-back. The mood on “6 EP” is sustained bass pressure, as opening and stand out track ‘Flash Speed (VIP)’ leads with heavy kick drums and a distorted fog of bass, while variations in the melody and drums play out underneath. ‘Drum Special 2 (Dark Bass Edit)’ follows the same path: lots of brain-melting bass with mutated samples rumbling away in the background. ‘No Matter What Others Think’ closes out the record. It mixes bleeps, eski clicks, banging percussion and more bass madness into a loud and uncompromising club tune. Overall, “6 EP” ventures into the harsher aspects of grime and bass music, so turn it up loud and prepare to have your head blown off.
Eone – Modulated Afterlife EP
Neo grime producer Eone comes through with “Modulated Afterlife”, a self-released EP exclusive to his Bandcamp page. Title track ‘Modulated Afterlife’ opens with rising bass lines and echoed eski sounds before sliding into the drop, where Eone blends head twitching melodies that feel primed for big sound systems. ‘Soul Gems’ gets its power from atmosphere building, as Eone crafts heady low-ends with modulated vocal cuts. The rest of the EP features remixes from a handful of neo-grime producers, my favourite being Real Tears’ take on the title track which is a mind-melting speaker breaker.
TIME94 – Your Love EP
More neo grime, here, this time from Greece via the USA. TIME94’s latest project – “Your Love EP” – is released on Missouri imprint Roadwrx, consists of the title track and two remixes. ‘Your Love’ kicks things off with mangled one-shots, choppy vocal cuts and glitched out melodies that all come together for a certified smash. Elsewhere, Eone and Gastah provide the remixes, with each producer putting their own spin on the title track.
Project Hilts – Still Here
Hilts came to prominence in grime as a member of The Square. In the years since, he’s gone on to form an eight-piece band named Project Hilts. On the band’s debut EP — titled “Still Here” — grime is one of many influences, a moving part alongside jazz, soul, and rap, creating an incredibly focused and engaging mix of seemingly disparate styles. ‘Lonely Days’ sees Hilts chat lyrics about opening up and shouldering the burdens of the people he holds closest, while on the title track ‘Still Here’, we hear him stand tall in the face of adversity. Behind the flows are a talented group of musicians who craft tight rhythms and body moving instrumentation, while Liv Browning adds depth to the tracks with her vocals. All the moving parts come together, making “Still Here” an EP primed for repeat listens.