Low End Lowlife 20.09.11

Matthew Bayfield delves into the deep end.

Posted on Sep 20th, 2011 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife 20.09.11 It is always important to keep a sense of perspective when conversing with other humans. Take this column for instance. It isn't a definitive round up of the whole of UK bass music. That would be impossible; there's tons of the stuff being pumped out daily and with each of those passing days I become less sober and slightly more downtrodden. I wouldn't even attempt such nonsense. This is merely a cluster of highlights which I probably got a bit smashed to at some point over the crushingly dull working week. By the same token, if a woman ever tells you that you are mentally stable whilst carefully glossing over the fact that this woman, a supposed professional, doesn't eat KFC on the basis of the treatment of the chicken before the little pecker gets his neck broken and thrown in a deep fat fryer, ignore here. A human, professional or otherwise, can in no way be a barometer of sanity or the human condition if she has never found herself curled up under a wheelie bin in the snow with nothing but a mini-fillet to fend off the bitter Dickensian frosts of Lincoln (where I'm aware Dickens rarely trod).

So with all that in mind, here's a run down of some of the sounds I might just be bumping next time I snooze under a tax funded civil amenity with a cholesterol molesting bag of poultry based marvel. Listen to me. Not her.

The noisy buggers who are 16 Bit make a subtle return to business this week with their new 12" ‘Dinosaurs’/’Boston Cream’. The A side; 'Dinosaurs' is the sort of aggressive white noise rampage you'd expect from these seasoned veterans of the more sonically straight forward end of dubstep, carrying a scuffed up 8bit vibe, complete with some eighties styled B-movie SFX, not too far removed from the scuzzy raves folk like Borgore, Datsik or Banana Bomber are regular purveyors of. Over on the B there's very much more of the same albeit with slightly more of a delayed shuffle, still guaranteed to get the same results when dropped at a dance and well worth flailing about to in an uncoordinated manner. The wax is released on Chase & Status MTA Records, but we won't hold that against it. If I want to listen to a duo plagiarise every popular style of sound from there respective era I'll fire up a Hall & Oates record boys, so get your shitty pork pie hats and hit the showers. We don't need another Tinie Tempah remix thanks.

Pulling things out of the sonic gutter (alas I'm still in the professional one) and launching them to an altogether more placid arena comes the Lando Kal / Stillcold Mysteries split 12" on Stillcold Records featuring a lovely slice of spaced out hip-hop/house/juke type merriment. Frontside comes 'Rhythm (Version)' by Lando Kal; one half of electro hip-hop production crew Lazersword, and follows on nicely from his 'Time Out' cut earlier this year. Taking in some squeaked out cut up vocal clippings not unlike you might find on a Javelin record and laying them over a slow sub thump and incessant metronome combo, the track carries a very subdued but addictive groove. Things crank down a notch further on the B with Stillcold's 'Opinwide'. As the name suggests it's a very broad sounding house cut which moves on a set of soft hitting subs and washes of pitch shifted vocals and spare synthesizers tics. I'm not sure that Dignitas organise any club nights but this might be just the platter they need to pull in their most specific of punters. Gently addictive, not unlike a laudanum laced hanky.

This week’s highlight however comes on Modeselektor's somewhat impeccable 50 Weapons label and is the new twelve from faceless Amsterdam posse Anstam. A side 'Baldwin' is a claustrophobic arrangement of organic sub hits peppered with a gentle touch of eastern styled strings which are in turn offset by a shearing distorted bass wobble, leaving you with a sound that is somehow almost both insular and slightly danceable. 'Carmichael' on the B-side is a more uptempo (in context of the A. it's hardly a party track) number featuring a bubbling synth which morphs and warps over a steppers rhythm and spare percussion hits. Again, although the sound is nowhere near the jump-up party stylings of say, 16 Bit, it manages to still be a moveable tune. If you are a fan of Jack Sparrow's recent works on Tectonic, or the condensed space soundscapes of those such as Goth-Trad or Old Apparatus this is surely worth skipping a Wetherspoon's Double G&T to sample.

Finally, keeping spirits bouncing whilst I'm under a bin is the new Hemlock Recordings releases courtesy of Pangaea. Hemlock don't drop a massive amount, but every time they do it seems it's crucial. Having seen the likes of Fantastic Mr Fox, Untold and that James Blake fella all pass their way Pan's new 'Hex / Fatalist' 12" is another infinitely detailed set of arrangements that lands somewhere amongst all the many obscure pigeon holes UK bass keeps vomiting up. Who cares what genre it should read on your iTunes. It's bass fuelled and addictively fidgety. So just crawl under your green wheelie bin, gingerly unwrap your 3 piece with gravy and bounce 'til the council worker arrives.