Low End Lowlife: 11.10.11

Matthew Bayfield reports...

Posted on Oct 10th, 2011 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 11.10.11 It's been a slightly disjointed few weeks in the Lowlife camp of late. Admittedly things haven't quite been running at the pseudo-Sobibor level of efficiency both you and I are used to. I could come with the bog standard excuses; a myriad of admin backlogs, recession, pre-marital tensions, post-natal depression, the constant bombardment of shallow & vacuous marketing campaigns from high street stores leading to eating disorders in my numerous teenage children or any other number of hazy, loosely qualified to diagnose but I've read a couple of copies of 'Hello' in the hairdresser's so I'll have a crack anyway illnesses to get me off the hook but we'd all know I was lying. The truth, much like the word itself, is both basic and simple: Bad parenting & low, low Gordon's Gin prices in most high end supermarkets. So you see; I'm just a victim in all this; a mere grain of dust dancing on the shores of eternity. Here's what my gentle spirit trips the light fantastic to as it lingers in creation's ether... I mean Great Yarmouth.

The first slab of wax to drop kick the shit out of both my speakers and pretentious prose this week, courtesy of the perennially grafting Deep Medi Musik, comes from Japan's premium bass purveyor Goth-Trad. The title track of this double 12" set, featuring none other than Max Romeo (a man who, alongside recording with Lee 'Scratch' Perry has had his track 'Chase The Devil' sampled more times than Kerry Katona has fuelled her coke addiction through money she made off of selling her coke addiction stories) is an expectantly bass heavy production laced with dubby pianos, tense layers of keys and an urgent rhythm all offset beautifully by a deep, soulful and, most importantly, positive vocal courtesy of Mr Romeo his'self. Another standout from the EP comes in the form of 'Falling Leaf' which takes a tense set of chiming synth lines and lays them over a low slung rumbling sub and a stuttering set of highly organic sounding percussion hits. It's an instantly absorbing listen and is possibly the most cinematic composition yet to come from Goth-Trad. On the second platter things take a sharp turn for the dark 'n' dank with 'Itinerant Priest' & 'Sublimation'. Both tracks hit as hard as anything Deep Medi has offered up thus far. 'Priest is by far one of the most aggressive tracks of this year, bordering on relentless all-out sonic warfare from about a minute into the rhythm and never letting go of its audio chokehold whilst 'Sublimation ' comes strapped with a relentless barrage of shuddering low frequency not too dissimilar to the sonic works of Digital Mystikz member Coki on his 'Urban Ethics' LP and is set off with ominous gothic bells and a steady pulsing heartbeat like synth. If that isn't recommendation enough I'll probably just go back to writing my dream set list for if Simply Red ever go on tour again....

Bristol bigwig Gemmy is keeping it local this week with his second release on World Of Wonders, following on from the 'Jah Know/They Live Under The Stairs' 12" of a few months ago (potentially a few months; my timekeeping hasn't really been bringing its "A" game since, well, whenever it was.) Coming on strong once more with that squishy Bristol sound, all warping synth lines and skittish 808 slaps, this newest pair of audio concoctions sounds something like a pared back Timbaland buried down a K-hole. A-side 'Too Far' has something of a wistful, James Blake processed style R'n'B vocal entangled in a heady set of the thick synth lines that are the bread and butter of Gemmy himself and many of his Bristol brethren, found most famously of course in the works of Joker. On the flip comes the paranoid bounce of 'Da Dodgems', which sees a skippy little set of beats swamped by tense strings and a fogged out swirl of keys. It's a bizarrely claustrophobic listen, particularly on a bass heavy pair of headphones. Don't say you weren't tipped off.

Throwing Snow, a new name currently in demand on the remix circuit and in general, drops two new'uns this week after the well received pair he threw out for Ho-Tep Records a little while back (again, that timescale is purely based on phrasing and not any actual measurement of time). This 12" marks the first release for budding new label Sneaker Social Club, and if it is a preview of the level of quality to expect from later releases then the SSC may blossom very soon. A-Side 'Shadower' is a slightly murky groove of tight sub thumps and ethereal vocal trails that build into a fabulous steel-pan led breakdown around the halfway mark and might just be a late runner for track of the year on my headphones. In a moment of bourbon-laced butterfingered tomfoolery I also played the track at 33rpm as opposed to the prescribed 45, and bugger me if it isn't still a majestic sound when screwed right down. Over on the other side (in physical context, not spiritual) is 'Sanctum'. This one comes with more wispy vocal slices and washing synths like something out of the Vangelis playbook, but takes things on a bouncier, steppers style vibe, complete with a big brassy tech sound at the forefront to keep you on time and on track. Two things I rarely manage to achieve in unison... Until next week hombres! (Potentially)