Big August dubstep update

A quick break from all the metal related music to bring you the big August 2009 dubstep update (just 4 months remaining to the end of year feature lads!). This time I will be focusing on some of the labels that have been shaping up the scene this year, rather than reviewing just records.  There are a few big names in there which everyone would have expected. There are also a few surprising small labels and even some disappointments.

Planet Mu :
It is and always has been one of the biggest dubstep related labels and Planet Mu has really confirmed this year. It has a slew of full length albums (a tradition that Planet Mu is keeping alive) under its belt.
Boxcutter‘s – Arecibo Message and FaltyDL‘s – Love is a Liability have been my favourite full length’s so far. Both are in no way traditional  albums but rather a statement of all the influences surrounding and probing into dubstep combined into one colorful mesh.  But there is still more to come later this year ( a new FaltyDL EP and Mary Ann Hobbs Radio 1 compilation album called Wild Angels amongst others…). There’s also been a few strong and varied EP’s on this label this year : the deeper work was provided by iTAL tEK, Jamie Vex’D covered the rougher area’s and  remix EP of FaltyDL‘s Human Meadow track was highly enjoyable. Planet Mu isn’t lacking in the singles department either :

  • Brackles – LHC
  • Gemmy – Supligen
  • Pinch – Attack of the Giant Robot Spiders
  • Distance – Night Vision [ Skream Remix]
  • Starkey – Creature

are the most noteworthy tracks out so far for me. Next to these more established names, Planet Mu also featured some new artists who are making names for themselves like Floating Points and Legion of Two who are showing great promise. Ikonika will finally see a release on Mu as well later this year.
The only really dissapointing release on this label for me has been Raffertie‘s Wobble Horror! . I can not for the life of me understand anyone enjoying this.

Hotflush / Hotflushtwo
Hotflush is the label of Paul Rose aka Dj Scuba. Traditionally he has a lot of techno influenced dub on his roster. He killed it last year with his own full length A Mutual Antipathy and this year is shaping up great as well. Don’t expect too many anthems coming out on this label though. So far, no full length’s have been released on this label. This has been compensated by two EP’s from duo Mount Kimbie. Maybes was a good EP but the latest one, Sketch on Glass even surpasses it (it is more danceable and less obscure but still genius). Paul Rose has only one release on his own label under the Scuba moniker so far, but Klinik / Hundreds and Thousands is a nice techno/minimal induced stepper. Two releases from London’s Sigha in similar style also color the discography. Releases from Pangaea and Untold are strong contenders for dubstep single of the year too. The signing of Joy Orbison will only further highten the expectations towards this label.

Deep Medi Musik :
The variaty displayed on this label is enormous. It started out with one of the dark anthems of the year : TruthThe Fatman fpllowed by more dancefloor oriented stuff (Skream and Goth-Trad). But the label also showed to have eyes for the deeper tunes, as Clouds and Calibre saw releases later on the year. The highlight release os far though has to be Silkie‘s full length City Limits Vol. 1 , strong contender for dubstep record of the year.

Tectonic :
Tectonic bring a mix between classic dubstep and techno crossovers. 2562‘s –  Love in outer space and MartynYet are schoolbook examples from this.  But they also dug in a little deeper this year, combining the deep tunes of FlyLo and Joker on the Glendale Galleria/Untitled_rsn 12″. Jack Sparrow‘s single on tectonic was more trademark stuf and the dancefloor crackers were provided by Skream & Benga Tectonic Plates volume 2 mixed by Pinch is a compilation album of sorts so you can basicly catch the label’s whole catalogue from this year and get a bonus mix by Bristol badman Pinch.

Hyperdub :
Hyperdub has been one of the most exciting and consistent labels over the past few years, but their output this year has been disappointing so far to me. A lot of  “experimental” stuf sure and they deserve credit for that. But I’m missing the big tunes.  It started out good with Joker & 2000FDigidesign / You don’t know what love is : summer dubstep classics. A few mediocre releases followed (Cooly G, King Midas Sound and L.D. to name a few). Mediocre is perhaps not the right choice of words. Renewing certainly, but not that memorable. Perhaps the highlight so far has been Kode9‘s own release on the label. There should be some interesting releases lined up for the fall and winter though.

Tempa :
Traditionally another big label, Tempa’s output so far has been lacking in 2009. Benga released a mediocre 12,  I’ve never really liked Horsepower Prod. and El-B‘s album can’t save the label from simply underachieving this year.

Hessle Audio :
Another underachiever as far as I’m concerned. The two highlight releases are 12’s from Joe and Untold. I think Untold has released a lot of quality music this year, but Anaconda is not one of those.

NakedLunch :
NL could just become the label of the year if they manage to get some more releases in before years end. This small Irish label has some quality lined up this year. Releases from Insta:Mental, Breakage and Jus Wan really put this small label on the map this year.

There are a few more labels that deserve mention, but I’ll wait for them to get a few more releases in. The dubstep year end feature is going to be a sticky affair with a lot of good tunes out there or in the process of being released. Can’t wait for some more dub to come my way! Each and Every.


One Response to “Big August dubstep update”

  1. dancefever5000 Says:

    I just discovered your blog- awesome!

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