Archive for March, 2009

Pangaea / DJG / Phaeleh / Skream Reviews

Posted in Review on March 10, 2009 by joeki2000

Another 4 dubstep related reviews are done.  This batch includes the following releases :

  1. Pangaea – Bear Witness / Mosaix (Hotflush Two)
  2. DJG – Bunker / Apophenia (Tube 10 )
  3. Phaeleh – Fire / Isolate (Surface Tension)
  4. Skream – La Roux – In for the Kill (Skream’s Let’s get Ravey Mix) (no label)

First up Pangaea drops his new 12″. The A-side Bear Witness is immediately grasping towards the “dubstep track of the year” award. If you’re into Pangaea’s previous releases you will love this new stuff no doubt. The bass is something else, it’s deep and full. The rhythm is swirling like a deep house track (there’s obviously less room for garage sounds on this release). The sounds on the background add a nice and jazzy feel to the song. Not quite as deep as his previous 12″ ( You & I / Router ) but this side is deffo up there. The AA side is more of a return to post garage sounds with double basses . Melody wise I think it’s the weakest track Pangaea has made up to this point but it sure is a danceable tune (in the vein of previously reviewed Martyn) . This is just a must have release for any electronic music lover.

DJG had also released his best material to date with the Bunker / Apophenia split. The bass on the a-side packs a punch but is almost neutralised and forgotten by the subtle atmospherics created. This is a true dark room stepper with a great vocal sample in it. The AA side is a bit darker though again a fitting vocal sample relieves some of the tension. The track is slow in the build up before the two drops and also has a slight techno vibe running through it, not unlike Bristol electronic music wizard  Peverelist productions.
All in all I’d say one of the most consistent releases this year.

Fire / Isolate is my formal introduction to Phaeleh though I hear he made some tracks mixing dub & lounge etc. before. Little of that remaining on here as this is just pure old dubstep at 140 bpm’s the way we like it. What’s in a name as the opener Fire literally could set a room on fire. It’s intoxicating with it’s rolling bass line. Isolate has a more gentle approach and is less direct but multiple listening sessions will up the appreciation level for this one as well. Though I’d reckon the A side alone is well worth the purchase.

Skream already has a 12″ under his belt (which will be reviewed later) but it is with this new white label production that he has set the community up in motion again. This remix of La Roux’ – In for the Kill track was dropped at one of the Forward Parties in London and with a reception that well just had to see a release. The voice of La Roux coupled with the repetitive deep bass line Skream has put underneath works very well as a party closer. The second drop adds some d&b/breaks elements into the mix but unfortunately the track ends prematurely, this tunes only real miss. If you are going to get one white label this year, let it be this one.

That’s all for now, Peace out.

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Martyn – Great Lengths (3024)

Posted in Review on March 4, 2009 by joeki2000

The first noteworthy dubstep full length of 2009 has finally arrived. Martyn unleashes his album “Great Lengths” ‘pon the dubstep masses. Here is a review of the CD version of the album (the 2×12″ has less content !)

The album opens with The Only Choice. I get the impression that this track serves little other purpose. It starts with a computer voice repeating the label name 3024. It’s rather undanceable and is quickly forgotten.
Next up is Krdl-T-Grv ( I have no idea what that means ). Here we get our real first impression of what the album is going to sound like.  Heavily garage influenced sounds and deep sub basses, a combination Martyn has mastered on several earlier other releases ( a sound not unlike TRG etc.)
In the second part the garage melody is just played backwards which makes it sound a little repetitive.
Track number 03  Right_Star! was already featured on BBC1 Experimental radio sessions.  It’s more trademark Martyn stuff with a slight techno vibe running through this one.  A very upbeat track.

Seventy Four
is where things  start getting interesting. A super heavy techno bass is the foundation of this track plodding away at a casual 117  beats per minute. This is a slowed down techno track rather than dubstep, but it works! The melody is so good and the bass is deffo the deepest Martyn has ever gone.  It makes for a good variation and it’s actually a very accessible track.
Little Things ups the tempo back to about 136 bmp’s. I really love the tempo in this song. It’s classic dance floor stuff  and again the sounds of TRG come to mind or some of the artists on 7even records.

Vancouver
is still my favorite Martyn track so I was happy to see it included on this album (even though it is a shorter version). A great blend of dub & techno sounds.
Unfortunately , after this track comes the albums only real disappointment. The blueprint for the track created by Martyn is  ok (though a bit mellow) but the vocal contribution to These Words is absolutely horrible. And I can’t bring myself  to sit through the track.

Bridge
brings more experimentation but I feel it doesn’t work completely. The piano interlude creates a nice pause in the halfway point of the album. Other than that it does nothing special for me.
The second part of the album is where things really get down for me. After those two shaky tracks it’s just plain goodness from here on.
Starting with Elden St. .  Again we barely reach 130 bpm’s so another slow track. It has a very chilled out vibe with more Garage sounds creeping into it. A very warm atmosphere and again very accessible : a wider audience will enjoy this track.
Far Away is perhaps the highlight of the album. A heavily techno influenced track that also never gets above 130 bpm’s. But the melody and mood of this track is awesome. Even the short vocal sample adds something to the whole. I guess it’s a rather sad or melancholic tune : the kind I like.  Again I can see a very wide audience enjoying this and at the same time the bass is still deep enough for the pure dubheads.
Hear Me was also featured on the BBC1 Radio show and is for me a trademark Martyn track. This is what I had expected the album to sound like. Class A stuff and after Vancouver, perhaps the best dub track he has done.
The next track contains the second vocal contribution. On  Is this Insanity? The Spaceape makes his appearance. Seeing as I’m about his biggest fan I loved this track. But I guess if you’re not a fan of him you might not like it. The song even has a Kode9 vibe to it, but then twists into a Garage induced stepper in the second part. Weird combinations but they work for me.

Brilliant Orange
has Martyn doing some more experimentation. This ambient escapade works really well. It’s a beautiful track, even though I don’t think it quite fits within the flow of the album.
Closer to the album is Natural Selection which was already released on 12″ along with Vancouver.
There is a bonus track after this one. The most garage induced track on the CD and a real treat as far as I’m concerned.

I think this album is a great success. I don’t think it contains 14 instant classics, but that’s not the point of an album. It’s consistent. Martyn could have made 6 or 7 Vancouver‘s  or something like the TRG remix he did.  Instead he made a varied album that contains dub, techno, ambient, garage even a bit of grime and gave his own twist to it. On top of that, the production is some of the most stellar I have heard.
A great album sure to score high on my End of Year list.