Conflict – Triton Rack EP
The Korg Triton stands as one of grime’s most influential pieces of hardware. First released in 1999, its soundbank is responsible for a ton of grime classics. Birmingham’s Conflict has made it his go-to piece of equipment. “Triton Rack”, his latest EP, collects dubs from his own archives and rounds them up into a seven-track project. ‘Untitled 5’ features modulated synths that zap the brain, like a dub-style take on the classic grime format, while ‘Untitled 7’ sounds like extra-terrestrial music thanks to discordant samples and chaotic arrangement. Bass and background melody pop around tight percussion lines on ‘Untitled 8’, and the drumless ‘twilight mixes’ are a reminder of just how avant-garde grime can sound. “Triton Rack” works on several levels: the tunes are banging, and Conflict has the creativity to make sure the EP isn’t your standard cut and paste revivalist job.
Skelecta – Selective Hearing Vol.3
South London based producer Skelecta makes grime and garage, and his latest EP, “Skelective Hearing Vol.3”, is a three-track, name your price release via his own label. Opening track ‘Clangerz VIP’ sets the mood with industrial-strength riffs and hard-line bass, while closing tune ‘Piano Keyz’ is a downtempo cut with soulful keys and vocal samples. It’s the second track, ‘Saturn’, that’s the standout. Labyrinthine melodies play out above hard-hitting percussion before the tune eventually transitions into two brief, funky breakdowns. Grab “Skelective Hearing Vol.3” for a selection of bangers with different flavours.
Squintz – RIDDEMSDEM
Edits are nothing new, but Wize’s ‘Wize Edits’ seem to have sparked somewhat of a trend when it comes to repurposing classic vocals over instrumentals. Grime fans will know Squintz — an emcee and producer — through his MobSet ties and debut album “Nuen Ain’t Gang”, and this month he remixes old Dizzee Rascal and JME tunes over his own instrumentals on the two-track EP “RIDDEMSDEM”. Squintz’ take on ‘Stand Up Tall’ turns the tune from an up-tempo joint into a moody and dark grime tune, while his take on ‘If You Don’t Know’ is full of scorched earth synth and hollowed bass. Grab “RIDDEMSDEM” for a modern take on two of the genre’s classics.
Flowdan x Snowman Baby – Black Rain
“Black Rain” feels experimental, and that’s down to Flowdan and ex-Aftershock crew member Snowman Baby playing around with different flow patterns. On ‘Big Dilemma’, they’re slowed down; on ‘Black Mask,’ they’re sped up; and on ‘Nine Night’, they’re delivered in a measured approach. The beats — produced by Flowdan & Abstrakt Sonance — feel designed to bang on sound systems, but they’re often minimal too, influenced in equal measure by grime, drill, and wider bass music styles. Flowdan’s commitment to finding new approaches to grime music has kept him a fixture of the genre.
SusTrapperazzi – Return From Shibuya
While drill emcees continue to rack up millions of views on YouTube, a small cohort of producers have released EP’s consisting of drill instrumentals or drill-grime hybrids. It doesn’t feel like a ‘scene’ as such, but it feels like it could become one. Most importantly, it’s exciting music. SusTrapperazzi’s latest project, “Return To Shibuya”, is a seven-track EP of drill instrumentals. ‘Funk 4L’ and ‘Business Meeting’ are two effervescent cuts, blending drill’s rhythmic patterns with soulful melodies and pulpy keys. Elsewhere, ‘Instatiable’ and ‘Memphis’ are hard-bodied and unrelenting, injecting the often emcee led drill format with some of grime’s sound system edge. Overall, “Return From Shibuya” sounds fresh. Like Nammy Wams’ “Tekisse Music”, the limit of SusTrapperazzi’s productions feels sky-high: they can stand alone as pure club music, provide the launchpad for the flows of a willing emcee, or become one part of a growing underground movement.
Mr Skandal – Project X
Mr Skandal’s “Project X” uses choir samples, string riffs and brass patterns to create fifteen intense grime instrumentals, each track made in collaboration with another producer. A rumbling, modulated lead line runs through the heart of stand out track ‘Toxic Waste’, while cavernous bass and dramatic choir samples give ‘Unleashed’ an atmospheric edge. Elsewhere, ‘Pace Setters’ features AMS lines from beneath, ‘Authentic’ is all hyperspeed string runs, and ‘Ghetto Flutez’ is a creative take on classic sounds.
Beton Brut – Nervous Network
Beton Brut translates to ‘raw concrete, and the tunes on “Nervous Network” certainly carry that quality. Signal-jammed vocal samples are transmitted through pulsating bass and machine-gun percussion on title track ‘Nervous Network’. The result? Intense and club-ready grime music that takes inspiration from the genre’s past yet still sounds modern. ‘Screw Loose’ features more signal-jammed vocal cuts that twitch in and around chaotic rhythm patterns and unflinching low-end. “Nervous Network” is an exciting debut release.
WEN – SLP 005
On “SLP005”, Wen delivers heat and heat only. An asteroid-sized percussion line gives ‘LET ME B’ its bass, while a clawing bass pattern chugs its way through the rest of the track. It’s an addictive, screwface inducing, and rude piece of UKG, each kick drum hit burrowing itself into the deepest crevice of the brain. ‘ZERO IN’ follows on a similar heavyweight tip, though feeling slightly more expansive, thanks to dissonant sounds in the intro and a cosmic bass pattern in the verses.
Zha – Spice
Zha’s latest record, “Spice”, frees up the dub of the same name, along with three other tracks. ‘Spice’ is built around gravel-pit bass and skippy rhythms, pure speaker pressure designed to light up raves. Elsewhere, ‘Grief’ melts the brain with piercing bass; ‘Harm’ feels like drill done in a sound system music context and closing track ‘Two Rumours’ is a lesson in heavy minimalism. Grab “Spice” for four screw face inducing heaters.