Low End Lowlife: 07.02.12

Bearded's resident ranter Matthew Bayfield

Posted on Feb 7th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 07.02.12 Right no procrastination today. I've just wasted that much time stuck in snow related traffic I could probably have watched at least two thirds of Gone With The Wind... Instead I got to watch a man in the Mercedes adjacent to me wet wipe his dashboard trim to within an inch of it's (admittedly tedious) life and look bloody proud of himself. I hope when that man gets to the pearly gates Clark Gable is waiting up their to slap him all the hell up and charm the unnecessarily thick layers of foundation off his wife. The world is too beautiful and exciting to give a toss about car interiors or what music Carl Cox is pretending to play you shallow little shells of men. Anyroad here comes the sun!

This week sees new the release from N-Type's always exciting Wheel & Deal imprint (yes I might have got a pathetically tenuous driving link in there). They've been caught hanging around this column before and frankly, it's about time we got on the Alexander Bell to their mother in a bid to curb this loitering. We've spoken to the community support officer, but it turns out it'd be too much paperwork to actually launch a complaint and have been encouraged to sack it off.

Either way they've fly tipped another classic on my turf in the form of fresh signing Surge and his new 12" ‘Leech’ / ‘Swaying Mantis’. A-Side 'Leech' starts with a spacious, tension laced atmosphere replete with sparse tribal rhythmic patter and a lurching bass line that lodges in the mind like an S Club 7 trained tumour. I'm not sure Bupa surgeons could pull this one out if you slipped them a brown envelope and your single mother's mobile digits. The infectious sound is only further aggravated by that proverbial unicorn horn of a dubstep track: a vocal that actually seems to fit the production it is placed on. The pensive, yet silky vocals of Pyxis wrap around the overall mood of the track expertly and don't feel like one of those chart targeted pieces that feature any old wobbly production and some stock R'nB vocals about "living for tonight" or some bollocks. On the basis that Drake is too busy wetting his bed and Madonna is abusing her status of apparently "old and cool" ripping off Diplo productions it probably won't, but this track actually deserves to get some proper radio exposure... Whilst we are on the topic of radio please allow me to detour briefly: Chris Moyles. What a complete cunt. Anyway on the flip side of this track we get 'Swaying Mantis'. It would be easy to say this is the weaker of the two productions, taken into account the immediacy and infectiousness of 'Leech' but given a few spins 'Mantis’ sinks just as deep into the memory banks, albeit through a different access point. Opening on spare keys and a bleeping synth not unlike an audio effect from popular 80's piece of shit 'Wargames' the track opens out into a lurching bass throb of such weight it sonically resembles a diesel filled ocean liner about to capsize. This oceanic scale is only furthered by the building synth strings in and scratchy percussion that push through from the back of the mix, and stands out as a very unique cut in the Wheel & Deal catalogue. I've no idea if Surge spends his spare time pissed up, posing as an Italian and captaining cruise ships, but either way this journey is about fifty times cheaper than a cruise and won't end in the death of you and about 20 elderly tourists. Please do, as they say in the world of arsehole bouncers and five pound a pint drinks "get on it" as it really is marvellous.

Boka also return this week and drop the first two of three in their "Artillery" series, which focuses on new talent in the bass music arena. Vol 1 features Killawatt, who we spoke about at length last week (for those not paying attention) who also released the fantastic Shakuhachi EP through Wheel & Deal last year, alongside Ipman for two new cuts. A side 'Xibalba' is a collaborative effort between both producers and cements Killawatt's atmospheric traditionalist style with it bubbling bass swells and cinematic string work. Over on the flip Ipman is given a solo spot with the standout 'Mob Mentality'. The track is rich in cinematic style with its twinkling piano keys and ominous orchestration. The full swell of orchestral sample which finally drifts through over a prolonged drop only helps to emphasise the aggressive snarl of the bass line that powers the piece, and is a truly exciting slice of noise to digest. Volume 2 in the series comes courtesy of Compa, dropping his ‘Sentence’/’Beginning’ 12". These tracks are less muscular than Vol 1, but come twice as heavy with some of the deep, darkest sounds of the dubstep spectrum. A side 'Sentence' is the more brooding of the two tracks, carrying cavernous hollow spaces filled with skittering, reverb heavy cymbal and percussion barrages. 'Beginning' continues this vein of spacious dread, with a sound perfectly suited to fans of Truth or Kryptic Minds through all the B-movie esque audio samples and dank chimes and clatter. With many people currently favouring the frenetic, synth overkill sounds it is particularly interesting to see new producers emerging who look to the more traditional (and I'm aware this music has barely been about long enough to have an "old school" category) techniques of atmosphere, mood and painting with negative space.

Wrapping up this week comes a clutch of productions from Nottingham's Spamchop whose curiously titled 'Cuckup EP' you can now get your hands on courtesy of Mimm Recordings. Title track 'Cuckup' is a garage inflected techno joint that is delicately invoking of the nineties, with it's electro styled synths, pops & whistles, all nestled nicely on a big rising bass swell. At one point it might have even been given that wonderfully snobby 'IDM' tag too. The track has a truly eccentric flair, particularly the bizarre synth warbles which sound a bit like someone attempted to document the deflation of living balloon animals. Over on the flip there is another slice of left brain shuffle with 'Blerghz' again carrying a set of electro synths that this time resemble living balloon animals being over inflated and left to fly of into the stratosphere, whilst the surging sub line keeps the ascending vibe of the track moving nicely. Final track 'Frames' takes things on a much more rhythmic journey, with dense, tight packed percussion and an almost constant throbbing bass. If you like your sounds through a slightly more psychedelic filter this is definitely a release worth investigating. Additionally if you pop over to the Mimm Clothing Store here (http://www.mimm-shop.co.uk) you can bag the record with a tasty new sweater featuring the lovely artwork that so elegantly adorns the vinyl. Just in time for all this wonderfully post apocalyptic weather!

Anyway that's it for now, as I've got to tackle the much more important task of hoovering my glove box and ironing the seat covers of my precious, precious car... Which may or may not be my mother’s.

Don't forget people you can also find me getting into numerous petty, and potentially libellous situations over on Twitter @Lowendlowlife too!