Friday, 27 December 2013
An artist who shouldn't need any introduction to regular readers of the blog, Sepia has spent 2013 turning his hand across the tempo spectrum and proving himself as one of the most consistent new producers the scene has to offer. 'Wouldn't Be The Same' sees him in sundown, zoning out, hands in the air mode: a butter-wouldn't-melt vocal, the sort of intricate percussion that has become something of a signature to his sound, a quietly catchy plucked top line, and a bassline that meets Phaeleh and Burial in the middle.
We uploaded a clip of the track to YouTube in June, and six months and a corrupt project file later it's here as something of a belated Christmas present, not to mention a good way to round off another great year and nod on to an even better next one.
Download: Sepia - Wouldn't Be The Same [WAV]
Sepia - Wouldn't Be The Same [320kbps]
Sunday, 15 December 2013
It's end of year list season, and though the feature has never cemented itself as a regular one on these pages - in fact, it's only been done once before this - in a year of such notable transition as that just passed, it seems a run through of some of the defining releases of the last twelve months might serve as an opportunity to take stock. Of course, since the list will reflect its own themes, there isn't much to add other than a note for those tunes that will inevitably have slipped the mind, and those others which only just slipped the net. So, in no particular order - because, frankly, there's nothing in it - here are our top 13 tunes, and 5 of our favourite free downloads, for 2013. Enjoi:
Tessela - Horizon [R&S]
One of the year's most consistent producers, any one of Tessela's releases - remixes included - could have appeared here. His masterful judgement of stop-start rhythms has set him apart, and left more than a few dancefloors wide-eyed too.
Boofy - Since When [Bandulu]
Tight sampling, sharp drums and a bass lick that'll make you screw your face up. Grime in its purest form: demands a reload.
Karma - How Ya Feel [System]
Those who've been following the blog for more than a few years will say that Karma has been long overdue some vinyl with his name on it. This was as good a way as any to end the wait.
Wayfarer - Reflections (feat. Animai) [Uprise Audio]
The word "anthem" is an easy one to throw haphazard into a press release, but there are few better ways to describe this arms-to-the-sky number from Wayfarer.
Etch - Scattah [Keysound]
Blew out the booth monitors on its first airing at Fabric. Enough said?
Commodo - $pace Cash [Deep Medi Musik]
You'd be hard-pressed to name a tune released this year with as much effortless swagger as '$pace Cash'; Commodo proving himself incomparable all over again.
Taiko - Spray Can [Uprise Audio]
It's all about the drums in this one: while some producers have spent their time chopping breaks and fills, Taiko just makes his own.
Wen - Commotion [Keysound]
The tune that set the stall out and sent a whole wave of new producers trailing, for better or worse, through grime sets and DVDs searching for soundbites. The key here, though, is that Dot Rotten's cameo isn't what makes the tune stand up: it can do that all by itself.
Alex Coulton - Too Much Talk [92 Points]
Simplicity reigns: one of the year's most infectious beats,
Killjoy - Memories [Tumble Audio]
The extraordinarily prolific backbone to one of the UK's most exciting new labels, Killjoy's second release for Tumble Audio is tough and fun in equal measure.
Gantz - U Wont Mind (Thelem Remix) [Black Box]
Two Hedmuk favourites on one tune; Gantz' offkey source material teasing Thelem into the leftfield with amazing results.
Dubkasm - Victory [Sufferah's Choice]
Dubplate exclusive to Dubkasm and Aba Shanti-I before going on sale and selling out two presses in a matter of hours - a third is said to be on the way - it's safe to say that this one has captured its audience fairly successfully.
Youngstar - Pulse X (Blackwax Remix) [Liminal Sounds]
A tune that, in many ways, sums up the year quite nicely: a touch of grime nostalgia, an elastic garage bassline and a healthy dose of breaks all bent into something which somehow manages to sound like none of its parts.
As ever, you can share your thoughts on the list either in the comment section below, over on the Hedmuk Facebook Page, or via Twitter.
Free downloads are now a staple of any modern day music scene, but the price - or lack thereof - needn't reflect the quality: here are five of the best from 2013.
Caski - Patient [Download here]
Heavy grooving and moody as hell, this is unadulterated dubstep goodness.
Dark0 - Violate [Download here]
A highlight of the 'Zero' mixtape, this is grime with its sights on the headtop.
Geode - Pistachio [Download here]
A late but more than worthy entry, this one swings and grooves like its going out of fashion.
Hugo Massien - Mystik [Download here]
A few name alterations later and Hugo Massien still comes with it slick as ever.
Sepia - If We Could Only See Us Now [Download here]
First hitting the Hedmuk radar in late 2012, a producer whose sound has only grown since and is set to take 2014 by the horns: you actually did hear it here first.
Saturday, 14 December 2013
With previous contributions to Uprise Audio providing the highlights of, chronologically, 'The Uprising EP' and 'Live To The Future' picture disc sampler and subsequent compilation, it seems about time that Wayfarer be given the opportunity to make a full solo statement on the label. And the 'Afterlight EP' is a statement, as equally demonstrative of what a Wayfarer EP sounds like in 2013 as it is suggestive of what the coming year might hold.
The title track is as grand and self-aware as we've heard him yet: a driving, broken-steppa rhythm - not dissimilar to that of the anthemic 'Reflections' - married with a sub that'll pin your ears back, gently. From here on in, though, the beats become more scattered and coarse as 'Azuma' deconstructs 2013's seemingly ubiquitous "dark roller" format, with pounding kicks punctuated with successive flurries of shaker, hi-hat and hand percussion, whilst 'Nomad' continues this deconstructive theme, stripped back to a swollen, lurching bassline and delicate, incidental percussion. And just as the record turns to pick itself apart from the inside-out, 'Zeg' nods back to the opener's lush pads and rounds off the release with the kind of assertive style that has come to be expected from this up-and-comer.
Wayfarer is a producer with intent, and this was never going to be a handful of 'Shaman' or 'Reflections' re-runs; instead, and all the better for it, we have a snapshot which looks back as much on the journey to this point as it does, through a methodical deconstruction of what has come so far, to the possibilities that the next leg might offer.
Wayfarer - Afterlight EP will be released digitally on Monday the 16th of December, exclusive to Beatport for until December 23rd, with the 12" vinyl to follow in January 2014.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Not unlike Anti-Social Crew's melodic offshoots from the dank beats pioneered at early FWD>> and DMZ nights, the saturation of dubstep with dark, lurching halfstep over the last couple of years has in turn seen a response from producers seeking to inject some added melody and groove into the genre. Geode, along with his Chord Marauders cohort and the likes of Phaeleh, Jack Sparrow and Ruckspin - among others, of course - speaks of clarity, restraint, momentum and in his music combines a love of expressive jazz notation with those most exciting moments when modern day genres, like garage and drum & bass, begin to push out into new ground and establish their own movements. With the aforementioned Chord Marauders' second compilation fresh on the virtual shelves, and an appearance from Geode on this site long overdue, we caught up with him for a chat - and he decided to throw in a free download too, which happens to be, for our money, one of the best beats he's produced yet. Lucky us/you.
Hedmuk: To introduce yourself, what's your name, where do you hail from and how would you describe your sound?
Geode: My name's George Harris, raised in Herefordshire but based in London, and I would describe my sound as beats with momentum, punctuated by cluster chords.
H: Plenty of people will have first come across your name through the Vie EP, released earlier this year on Innamind: how did you first get involved with the label? Should we expect to see more from you on Innamind in the near future?
G: Innamind was one of about three labels that I had earmarked for potential releases towards the end of last year. I sent Jeremy (Innamind boss) a quick message with downloadable copies of some WAVs and he got back to me positively. Since he was moving to London from New Zealand, we linked shortly after - I believe at a FWD night - and decided to push on with an EP from there. Unfortunately I don't have anything planned on Innamind at the moment, but I'd definitely like to release with them again at some point. Jez runs a tight ship and it's the first place I'd go with any of my darker material.
H: Since then you've released twice with Smokin' Sessions; do you feel like you've found a good space for your music with the label? How important do you feel it is to be well-represented by the labels you release on and by the rosters and sounds that they are defined by?
G: Yup. I think Zeb Samuels (Smokin' Sessions/Deep Heads boss) has created a very successful platform which has propelled many melodically-minded producers; the history and artist roster of Smokin' Sessions was an important factor in signing with them as well. I have enjoyed working with the label because it's meant I can freely explore my deeper and jazzier sounds. There's no real attention to what the label is defined by, in fact it's quite anti-hype and I think a lot of the output defies easy definition. I like music that way, not too self-aware or self-referencing.
H: You're also a founding member of the Chord Marauders collective/label. Tell us a little more about the project: what was it that first set it in motion? Who exactly is involved, and what would say are the principles that tie you all together as a group? And with the Groove Booty compilations and B9's solo album already delivered - what else have you got planned for Chord Marauders?
G: The Chord Marauders comprises myself, Congi, B9 & Jafu. We wanted to create a platform to release our own music, feature upcoming artists we're feeling and engage with the people who go out of their way to buy our music. The principles that tie us together would probably be mutual respect, not taking it too seriously, and plenty of fresh ideas.
As you mention, Groove Booty II has just dropped and has been well received. Next up is Congi's album; currently being finalised and coming out early 2014 at the usual place. Myself and Jafu are due a solo project each next year and we'll also be moving into physical releases if all goes to plan. Going forward we'll be continuing with the compilations, although perhaps annually rather than biannually as the inevitable admin can distract from creativity a little. And we're also in the process of organising a night in London, more info on that to come via our Facebook page.
H: It's unsurprising that you'd be involved like this in something which appears to be album-led since your own repertoire - swinging all the way from dubstep, to drum & bass, and back down to house - is so comfortable in its variety. There appears to be a jazz influence floating through your chords and incidental drums, but what would you say are your musical touchstones? Are these things you were exposed to whilst growing up or was music something you discovered for yourself?
G: A bit of both I suppose. There was always weird and wonderful music playing in the house growing up, DJ Kicks: Nightmares on Wax being the CD I am most nostalgic about. My focus on jazz notation is definitely inherited; I find myself glazing over to any music with ballad chords, I guess that kind of reaction requires a certain amount of parental conditioning.
But I think my focus on drums & percussion probably comes from my early years as a producer, learning FruityLoops inside out, mashing up jungle breaks and bulking them up. I have about 200 tracks of mad Amens, quirky melodies and subs: they're all poorly produced but they familiarised the shuffles, percussive licks and momentum I try to build into my music now. Like many artists of this generation it was drum & bass that gave me the production bug, tunes like 'Metropolis' by Adam F, Photek's 'Consciousness' and 'Flute Tune' by Hidden Agenda.
It's funny, the only music I didn't ever really listen to until recently was dubstep, but I find music at 140bpm with the snare on the 3rd beat the most liberating for my own projects, the perfect balance of speed and space. The stuff that grabs me is the steppier, garage elements of the scene – Cluekid, Congi, early Martyn, Circula, Promise One, K-LONE.
Sometimes I need to go on a complete tangent stylistically and genre-wise to keep my interest flowing, which is why you'll hear me posting house and drum and bass tunes from time to time. I don't really get that casual genre snobbery that floats around on VICE articles because I'm always striving for that unspoken soul and style that ties producers of different brackets (Medlar, Robert Glasper, DjRum, B9 & Jafu, Melodiesinfonie, Detroit Swindle, J-One, Harry Love or MJ Cole) together. Imagine if DjRum made a tune at 140, Jafu made an instrumental piece or Robert Glasper got on some garage...they'd still have dem feels.
H: Finally, can you tell us about the track you're giving away here, and whether there are any forthcomings or anything else in the pipeline that people should be keeping an eye for.
G: I chose 'Pistachio' because it's a strange tune that doesn't fit with much of my other stuff. I thought the miscreant Hedmuk readership would appreciate it anyways! Release-wise, there are some bits and pieces planned for Chord Marauders and Deep Heads, along with collaborative vinyl releases with Promise One and D-Operation Drop. Keep an eye on SOULECTION as well.
Big up, and thanks for the questions, Will.
Download: Geode - Pistachio [WAV]
Geode - Pistachio [320kbps mp3]
Monday, 2 December 2013
Competition: Win a copy of Akkord's debut LP, plus 2x guestlist for the album launch party @ Project 13, Manchester
One of this year's standout releases, and from two of the UK's most exciting musical minds, Akkord's debut long-player is the sort of record you might play to someone trying to write off electronic music as mere button pushing. Forward-facing, progressive, original, genre-defying, interesting and - an adjective not often seen alongside those descriptions - genuinely danceable, Indigo and Synkro, along with the likes of Troy Gunner and Biome, who also feature on the album, have delivered on the huge promise of their early limited-press releases. Recent mixes for Resident Advisor and Boiler Room, meanwhile, have seen the duo applying their years of experience behind the decks.
To celebrate the release, Project 13 will be hosting the official album launch party in the basement of Manchester's 2022NQ. Support comes from fellow Mancunians Biome and Acre, as well as Edmondson - a recent signing to Indigo's own Electromagnetic Fields imprint.
We've linked up with the guys at P13 to offer the chance to win 2 spots on the guestlist for the launch party, as well as a copy of the album in the format of your choice. To enter, simply head over to the Hedmuk Facebook Page and publicly share and like this image. The competition will close at 5pm on Thursday the 5th of December, a winner will then be selected at random by an independent third party and announced via Facebook and Twitter.
For more information on the party, including how to purchase advance tickets, head over the the Facebook event page here.
The album is also available to purchase from the Houndstooth store now.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
As far as statements of intent go, 'Since When' is up there with the best. One of the sharpest instrumental cuts to have bust into the grime scene for some time, it's first play on Rinse FM - courtesy of Messrs Kahn & Neek - had a lot of heads turning. Though those already familiar with the name Boofy, most likely off the back of his earlier, sub-drenched dubstep beats, might not have guessed in his direction, this assault of flutes, skittering hats and belching bassline was no one-off. Since then - pun wholly intended - Boofy has come with a steady stream of perfectly balanced heaters, carving his own corner into grime and contributing, in no small part, to the sound's recent resurgence. And while some might complain of producer's of simply re-hashing old staple sounds and themes and presenting them to a virgin audience, Boofy manages to show off his influences proudly - everyone from Maniac, to early Dizzee, to Dot Rotten - without surrendering to them: his beats incorporate an inventive approach to rhythm, most notably in those hi-hats, and, perhaps most importantly, the structure and control of a tune's energy, effectively removing the need to ride a whole track out on one cliched sound or sample.
Hedmuk: To introduce yourself, what's your name, where do you hail from and how would you describe your sound?
Boofy: I'm Boofy. I sleep and eat in Bristol and my sound's heavily 140-based and with a major UK influence.
H: Some people may have first come across you through the deeper, rolling dubstep tunes you initially became known for, but had you always been making a broad style of music? How much has your recent grime output been a big switch in focus in terms of what styles you're making?
B: Well, I haven't made a great amount of material of every genre but I experiment a lot, if that makes sense. Regardless of my releases, I haven't really just stuck to making one desired sound, but I put out what I'm confident with.
And yeah, it definitely has. I still get a lot of people still reppin' my older sounds which is wicked because I didn't know it reached out to that many. I won't stop making what I want, but I think at the very least, I know what direction I'm aiming to head in.
H: Have you always been involved in making music?
B: I have. As long as I can remember. I started playing instruments from young and learned how to write and read music, but it wasn't until my early teens I had a chance to sit down on a computer and get to grips with the tech side.
H: An obvious characteristic of the grime tunes you've been coming out with is the clips cut from old radio sets: how much, would you say, is that about trying to capture that sense of energy from grime's early pirate radio days, where the MC took centre stage?
B: Yeah it is, but at the same time all I've done, without consciously thinking about it, was run through some of the old sets I had on my block tower of a PC that's been out of use ever since I got my Mac. Pirate days definitely had energy that we all still feed off. I think it was the rawness of the genre.
H: Have you plans to be working with any MCs in the near future? Are there any that you'd be particularly keen to hear vocalling one of your beats?
B: One of my favourite MCs at the moment is Merky ACE and there's quite a few MCs I'd be keen to get some vocals down from. But then again it's another one of those things where I'd want to focus on sculpting something with someone, rather than make a beat and fling an MC on top of it. I've sent a few bits off to some Bristol heads, old friends who've I've always rated and other guys who have put in work so just got to see what we can come up with, but it's definitely in my interests.
H: Along with signing the Nank EP to Tumble Audio you've played at a one of their notorious Nottingham label nights; how did you get first get involved with the label, and how important is it, do you think, for labels to be getting involved with the actual live/performance aspect of the music that they're releasing?
B: The involvement with the label was due to a mutual hook-up with this skeng-man called Willum. Pretty sound guy, you should meet him (laughs). In all seriousness though, it was shortly after 'Nank' was uploaded to your YouTube channel that we got in touch with each other, so big ups to you.
What those guys are doing in their city is important, they've got a sound and a live audience along with it: it goes hand-in-hand. I now think it's essential for other labels to do the same, or at least something similar. You can see how a DJ reacts to their crowd and whether they can play the right stuff; anyone can make tunes, but not everyone's a "selecta", if you know what I mean.
H: You took the step of setting up your own label recently, alongside Lemzly Dale; what was it that made you want to take things into your own hands and start doing things independently, and how important was it that you'd be releasing on vinyl?
B: The whole vision started off as "I miss grime white labels" and not many people were doing them as much as they used to - obviously due to the way the industry has rapidly changed over time. Then before I knew it, I was on a roll getting it all sorted. Releasing on vinyl is something, in my opinion, that you aim towards. As well as that, Bristol has a healthy vinyl culture: I thought it would be important to get involved and play my part in it.
H: What are your plans for the future of Sector 7?
B: Future plans for S7S, we're back in the blueprint stages again. There's quite a few projects that are possibilities but nothing's concrete at the moment; just planning for next year really and the aim is to step the game up after a successful first release. Just taking our time and not rushing, building on the foundation we have made for ourselves really.
H: Logan Sama caused a stir recently by suggesting that the current crop of producers making grime in Bristol were making life difficult by keeping things close-knit and releasing mainly on vinyl; how important to you, though, is that sense of community that is apparent between the Bristol school of producers? How much would you say that it's about keeping an aspect of dubplate culture going in a largely digital world?
B: I could say so much on that situation, but I think I'll keep it simple. Our community for music is important. We all constantly strive to better ourselves, and what's more motivating than surrounding yourself with people who all want the same thing? It's not like we don't send tunes out to people or whatever, because we connect with a lot of artists and producers all over, but our city isn't the largest so, being on the same page with music, we all bump into each other and just link up.
And as for Logan, he basically just said he plays what he gets sent and vinyl's dead ever since he stopped cutting dubplates. Don't get me wrong, I do respect Logan and he plays a big part in bringing in new producers, which is what the scene needs. But because he doesn't take vinyl out with him anymore, and some Bristol guys are doing physical only releases, he can't play it. The whole point of physical is 100% not because hipsters are trying to take a step back, we're just trying to keep an aspect of physical in an industry full of files and desktop folders. But I don't know, that's just my opinion.
H: Take us through how you approached the mix you've done for us.
B: I've got together a bag of tunes which are some all time favourites, personal favourites of today's age, vocal's I particularly rate at the moment and producers who I rate. Thought it would be important to start with one of my favourites from when I started producing back in 2007.
H:Finally, are there any forthcoming releases or anything else in the pipeline that you'd like to put the word out on?
B: Release-wise, there should be some news on one of my bits coming out next year, which I can't give specifics on just yet because I haven't been given any myself! But I'm looking forward to letting everyone know what we have in store for Sector 7: hopefully you'll all have a chance to come and see for yourselves!
Download: Boofy - Hedmuk Exclusive Mix
Young Dot - Ride Or Die [Rotten Riddims]
Kahn - Burnin' Riddim [Dub]
Boofy - Bayonet [Dub]
J Beatz - Wave Down [Crown Jules]
Jakes - Certified (feat. Footsie) [Hench]
Saga - Friction [Lost Codes]
Lemzly Dale - Katana (Boofleg Refix) [Dub]
Wiley - One Step Further (LJ Remix) [Dub]
Commodo - Space Cash [Deep Medi Musik]
Merky ACE - Strawberry Rain [No Hats No Hoods]
Hi5Ghost & Trends - Duppy Maker [Dub]
TMSV - Gutter [Dub]
Boofy & Lemzly Dale - Banshee [Sector 7]
KIlljoy - Straight 2 Tha Neck [Dub]
Lyka - Whole Meal [Dub]
Exemen - Storm [Manchu]
Friday, 29 November 2013
Regular readers will no doubt already be aware of our appreciation for the North-West London producer, and indeed some of the tracks on this EP will already be familiar, having appeared previously as vocal bootlegs on the Zero mixtape.
Dark0 spends the majority of this latest EP indulging in melody, and the standout in this regard is 'Sweet Boy Pose': anthemic grime at its best, it sounds like Ruff Sqwad let loose on a room full of purple sound synths and is arguably some of Dark0's best work to date. 'PRS Riddim' - the title perhaps giving a cheeky nod to the Rinse FM airplay that the vocal version has received - shoots for anthem status too, with an irresistible hook beating its way past clattering snares. In another life, 'Fully Waved' is the euphoric soundtrack to a Mediterranean festival's video highlights, and 'Plasma Cannon' is the theme tune to a Sega racing game that never existed. Most probably reserved for the near-impossible final boss level. Both 'Karmmm' and 'Scyther', meanwhile, build trippy, spaced-out layers of loops on loops; the result is wide-eyed, hypnotic and, like the rest of the EP, indebted to Dark0's uniquely acute sense of tune and cadence.
Dark0 - I Ain't A Sweet Boy EP is available to purchase from Dark0's Bandcamp page now.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Download: Destiny's Child - Bills Bills Bills (Harmonimix) [320kbps mp3]
Download: Destiny's Child - Bills Bills Bills (Harmonimix) [WAV]
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Without a doubt one of the most exciting new labels around at the moment, Tumble Audio rumble onto their sixth release, welcoming Bristolian Boofy to the roster in the process. The EP's title track - all rapid hi-hats, clattering snares and a bounding bassline - has been doing the rounds for a while now, cropping up in sets from fellow south-westerners, Kahn, Neek, Asa and Joker, and thus accordingly gets some remix treatment to keep things fresh: Hi5ghost adopts a classic grime pairing of distorted synths and skittering strings, whilst Nativ takes the tempo down a little and delivers a Champion-esque synth groove for a succession of claps and snares to bounce off.
The B-side, premiered here today, rounds off the release perfectly: all the raw, pirate radio venom that Boofy captures with such consistency, but with a bass lead and rolling rhythm that hits the mid-point between grime and UK funky that Tumble have been pushing since first leaving the blocks. That Wiley's choice words for God's Gift that are sampled here - and the sore jaw he received in return - would contribute to grime being banned from Rinse FM seems almost ironic considering the genre's recent ubiquity.
With every release, Tumble stamp their unique identity onto the UK's club scene more prominently, and long may it continue.
Boofy's 'Nank EP' will be released digitally on December the 2nd 2013.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Animai's jazz tones will already be familiar to some, having recently graced Wayfarer's anthemic 'Reflections', and the east London vocalist furthers her stake on this, the latest release on DJ Crises' MindStep Music imprint. Vaun applies a characteristic light touch to the beat, with a delicate piano line falling over subs and pert kicks, and leaves the vocal the room it demands. To call this release long-awaited would be an understatement, having done the rounds and raised crowds for the best part of 2013, but when Crises got in touch to let us know that the release was coming and that they'd been shooting the label's first video for it too, the wait seemed worth it: time is a commodity well spent by MindStep, and a dedication to the details is what has always kept them at the head of their game. The video is now available to view in full above, or over on the Hedmuk YouTube channel.
The full release is rounded off by an acid-tinged remix from Simbad, an intricate medley of percussion and mids from Wayfarer, and a rolling, downtempo zoner from Sam KDC, with each producer taking their own unique approach to the vocal. The results exemplify the strength in depth of feeling that MindStep, since our very earliest contact with the label, has always been about.
Taking Over will be released on the 25th of November, and can be pre-ordered from iTunes here.
Monday, 11 November 2013
Antwerp Mansion plays host to the latest in Hit&Run's sporadic string of autumn events, this time calling in a few faces that should be more than familiar to the regular crowd by now.
Kahn & Neek will be in war mode already, following up the former's recent clash with V.I.V.E.K at SubDub in London, and packing the freshest batch of heaters and VIPs. Two more Hit&Run regulars, Wayfarer and Kanjira - both sitting on material produced especially for the night - will share the decks in a repeat of their last back-to-back session down at FWD>>, and man-of-the-moment Chimpo, straight off the back of recent mixes for 1Xtra and Trap Magazine, will be bringing his usual unique blend of bootlegs and dubplate specials. On mic, T-Man and Skittles will be proving Manchester's MC indisputable mettle.
For more information on the night, including how to secure £5 advance tickets, head over to the Facebook event page.
Download: Kahn Vs. V.I.V.E.K - Live @ SubDub London, 08/11/13
Watch: Chimpo turning tunes for some of Manchester's finest in LVL 01.2
Friday, 8 November 2013
Yesterday, this screenshot was posted on the Hedmuk Facebook Page, and the response was a tellingly mixed one: some finding amusement, others bemusement, and some taking offence at our posting it at all. That the issue was so divisive only goes to prove the importance of considering your tone when approaching someone you have never previously spoken to or had any contact with. And this aspect of 'first contact' is perhaps the most important to bear in mind.
We endeavour to listen to everything we get sent, and reply with feedback as often as possible, and have discovered some amazing music in this way - we appreciate the privilege of this position, and in turn seek to give the position its due respect.
When it comes to reading through, listening and responding to submissions it's not about being cool, and it's not even close to being elitist; instead, please consider this: if you have worked hard to produce a piece of music and you would like someone else to hear it, then the least you can do is show your own artistic endeavours the respect they deserve and spend a bit of time thinking about how best to put them across. The care and attention you've given the music should be reflected in how you talk about it: if you accompany your submission with a limp joke, then how seriously can you expect your music to be taken? There's nothing wrong with building rapport - in fact it can be very important - but trying to do so without having lain any foundations will prove difficult. The point of the screenshot is not to single anyone out (and it should be noted that it makes no additional comment on the music being sent either), but is rather to illustrate a too-common occurrence.
In an ideal world this shouldn't matter so much, but the fact is that if your submission is going to be one of many received daily then it pays to put the effort in. And this isn't a one-way street either: when we contact artists to ask if they'd like to feature on the blog in some way, that we also consider our tone is of great importance too.
The difficulty here, of course, is that different people on your submissions list are going to have their own personal preferences, but that's not to say that a few basic guidelines can't help. This forum thread, and the subsequently-produced How To Send Me Music, are both excellent resources for those looking for a further insight into how to approach sending out music to potential new listeners and supporters. And if you're still unsure, then there is never any harm in just asking: a short email inquiring as to the best way to send over music is always going to be more welcome than the results of ham-fisted guesswork.
Monday, 4 November 2013
On Sunday just gone, a mildly amusing list-style article entitled '10 Things People Say To Pretend They Know About Dance Music' was posted on the blog space of Mixmag's website by Bass Editor, Seb Wheeler. It is, for the most part, a fairly accurate run-through of gripes that might be levelled at, well, someone pretending to know about dance music, in fact the list might even be commended for its rebuttal of those claiming that "Deadmau5 can't actually mix" or that "Analogue always sounds better than digital". However where it falls down, and heavily so, is the point at which it is claimed 'that the UK has moved on from low-end frequencies somewhat' and that 'America has become the new home of bass.'
The problem here is firstly in the suggestion that, in a post-internet world, something as broad as bass music could be considered to have a home. Dubstep is probably the finest example of the way in which the internet has globalised music to a greater extent than ever before - it still astounds me to see the huge variety of countries checking in over on Hedmuk's Soundcloud page. That, though, is another conversation entirely.
The issue I really took with the piece, though, was the apparent ignorance of the UK bass music scene's current state of health, and the general terms in which it was stated. The assertion that the UK has moved beyond an interest in 'low-end frequencies' would suggest that anyone from Mungo's Hi-Fi to Iration Steppas to Unit 137 to Manchester's Dub Smugglers had decided to pack it all in and play out off a radio set. 'Low-end frequencies' is not a suitable replacement phrase for "what Youngsta plays on Rinse". Semantics aside, the UK's long-term obsession with everything low and bold is arguably seeing some of its finest days in years: dubstep pushes on, led by the inimitable likes of Karma, Thelem, Taiko, Wayfarer, Biome and Kaiju; grime as a whole is seeing a resurgence that had been bubbling away long before the recent war dubs spat stirred things up, Boofy's 'Since When' is hard as a brick is, and Asa & Sorrow are showing that grime needn't lack the production value of its Croydon cousin; UK funky, through Champion, Killjoy, Brunks and Beneath, is still laying a claim to club space; house music is the sound of the charts, let alone the underground; and that's before you even start talking about the breaks-driven experimentalism being peddled by Etch, Special Request and Tessela.
What's more, and as good a sign of the UK's continued progression as any, is that there are so many names that don't fit easily into any of the categories above but who are carving out their own lanes regardless, and taking an open-eared following with them. Wen, Circula, Troy Gunner, Sepia, Blackwax, Facta, Underclass and Akkord are just a handful of the many defying the journalists' pigeon-holes.
As with anything like this there will undoubtedly be people I've missed, but if anything that only serves to make the point more strongly: there are literally too many names to mention.
It may well be the case that what was really meant by the offending remark was that the US has seemingly moved beyond its excitement over face-melt mid-ranges and car crash snares, and that what remains is a crowd highly receptive to a more subtle sound - speaking with Innamind Recordings boss, Jeremy, he couldn't emphasise enough how inspiring it was to see people so passionate about the sound that he and others like him are currently pushing. The US is, for want of a better term, catching up and is doing so - as exemplified by the likes of the Reconstrvct crew mentioned in the article - in fine style, however it shouldn't require a misguided knock of the UK scene to express that.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
This Friday, London's legendary Fabric plays host to one of the labels of the moment and, more specifically, a fast-rising Texan's UK debut. Rabit's standout appearance on Keysound's 'This Is How We Roll', as well as providing one of the standout releases of the year with his 'Double Dragon EP' on Glacial Sound, has seen him increasingly held up as one to watch. Perhaps it's the fact that he moves so effortlessly between the delicate synth arrangements of 'Sun Showers' and the sucker-punch percussion of 'Black Dragons', or maybe just the fact that he doesn't talk much and leaves the natter to the music - either way, he's got plenty of ears on this side of the Atlantic.
In the run-up to the aforementioned debut we caught a few words from the man himself and he - hours after hitting the tarmac, no less - hooked up with BM Soho counterman and, to quote Etch, 'the Randall of our generation', Parris, to record a special promo mix for the event.
Cop the mix below, and head over to the Fabric website to grab advance tickets to guarantee entry to Friday's event.
Hedmuk: How does it feel to be making your UK debut in one of the world's most renowned clubs?
Rabit: It feels surreal, I haven't really had the chance to process it all because I've been so busy. But yeah, it feels great: I'm blessed to have the opportunity.
H: What else have you got planned for your trip across the pond?
R: A lot. I'm playing clubs in Dublin and Berlin, and one night in Bristol as well. I'll be getting in the studio with a few different people also, definitely set aside a week or two for that. And I'll be on Rinse FM for a guest spot too.
H: In your recent studio mixes you've drifted from hip hop, to synth-led soundscapes, to the off-kilter rhythmic blends of grime and UK funky, but what can people expect from a Rabit live set?
R: The same, but different. Variety...dynamics...feelings...
H: Grime has typically developed in very localised scenes and Texas most likely wouldn't be the first place that springs to people's minds when thinking about grime, but what sort of a scene is there for it in Houston, and the US more generally?
R: In Houston there is none. As far as the rest of the US, there are some parties that do well but even then the best turn out is for the US artists that have a little bit of grime to their sound. There's a big disconnect, there may be people that are into grime because Total Freedom put it in a mix but these same people wouldn't pay money if Wiley or JME came to town. There's a general lack of knowledge about the whole thing. I don't really care if there's a scene or audience for grime here: I'm not into making anyone like anything, it's either for you or it's not.
H: Are there benefits, do you think, to being perhaps more isolated from what's going on in the UK? Do you feel any less pressured to confine yourself to certain or singular genres and influences?
R: Possibly. I'm not sure, do producers in the UK feel confined to having a certain sound, because they have to represent or something? I just do what I like. There's never pressure. The only pressure is to make that shit bang harder than the last one.
H: With an appearance on the This Is How We Roll compilation, and now joining the crew for this Fabric takeover, can we expect to see more link-ups between you and the label in the near future?
R: Possibly. I'm featured on Logos' full length, 'Cold Mission', that comes out mid-November. The link up with Keysound has been fluid so far, I'm just rollin' with it.
Download: Rabit Vs. Parris - Keysound FabricLive Promo Mix
Grovestreet - Mook
Chemist - Blocks
DJ Eastwood - U Ain't Ready (Dubbel Dutch Refix)
Acre - Symbols
Wen & Parris - Time
E.M.M.A - Glitter
Dubbel Dutch - Deepa (Vocal Dub)
DJ Tev - Ready Or Not (feat. Gutta)
Rabit - Black Dragon
Strictface - Taipan Showers VIP
Plasticman - Shallow Grave (Wen Remix)
Epoch - Windmill (feat. Afiya) (138 Mix)
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Guido's 'Anidea' was, and remains as, one of the most accomplished long players to come out of the UK - nevermind just the dubstep scene - in recent times. It stretched the melodic possibilities of the 140 template and achieved that rare thing of providing an engaging home listen as well as, with tracks like 'Mad Sax' and 'Beautiful Complication', a strong dancefloor edge. Such then, after a three year interlude of sorts, is the pressure to deliver on what has become a long-awaited follow-up effort.
Keeping it Bristol, with a shift from Peverelist's Punch Drunk to Pinch's Tectonic imprint, 'Moods of Future Joy' is unmistakably a second album: keen to retain the popular traits of an impressive debut ('Midnight Savannah' even contains a thinly-veiled nod to the 'Mad Sax' hook, trailed out on piano) yet aware of the need to press on and progress; "if it ain't broke, then make something just as good to compare it to", if you will. The keys work, a continuously fascinating fusion of classical and jazz training, is all present and correct and will be welcomed by fans of Swindle, and the synth arrangements are as varied and delightful as ever; however where Guido continues to succeed where Swindle is not always as strong is in the aforementioned straddling of living room and dancefloor: 'NRG', in the context of the album, is a natural peak rising between 'Jupiter' and 'Afrika Pt. 2', and yet works just as well rolled out at 1am on a full Funktion-One.
As such, the highlights here are those which exemplify an already-proven talent: 'Same Road', 'Letting Go', 'NRG' and 'Jupiter' are enough to remind you why you pre-ordered the album in the first place, whilst the likes of 'Squeaky Jungle' hint at possible new directions and the nosing in of previously uninvestigated influences. Though very good - and a must for anyone interested in any way in the melodic potential of electronic music, emphasis on music - this isn't an album as accomplished as 'Anidea'; but then a second album rarely is: we can't wait to hear the third.
Guido - Moods Of Future Joy will be released on Monday the 4th of November 2013, and is available to pre-order now. The album is also available to stream in full over at FACT.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Since first launching as a silhouetted collective based in Manchester and self-releasing two of the most essential records of 2012, Akkord have been difficult to ignore. And it's only become more difficult since the geometrics obsessives were picked up by Rob Booth-run Fabric offshoot Houndstooth, resulting in the stunning Navigate EP.
In the run-up to one of the most anticipated LP releases of the year, namely Akkord's self-titled debut, the shadowy duo - since revealed as Mancunian pioneers Synkro & Indigo - have been sharing previews of album material via their akkordmusik.net site. Last weekend, 2000 people leaving Manchester's Warehouse Project were handed flyer packs containing the QR code sticker shown on the left, scanning which will take the savvy fan to an exclusive stream of 'Conveyor', the third album cut to be previewed so far.
'Akkord' will be released on the 25th of November 2013 on 12" vinyl, CD and as a digital download, and is available to pre-order from the Houndstooth Store now.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Part two of the three-part cypher series and taking things up a level - including the tempo - Chimpo brings a bag full of dubplate specials and classic grime instrumentals for the best MCs in the English language to ride.
And with the first run of events now complete, next week sees Levelz hosting the Manchester leg (where else?) of the Sound History Tour. Roy Davis Jr., Eliphino, Shola Ama, Sticky, Moony and Oscar Luweez each bring their own flavour to the evening, and all in the decadent surroundings of the increasingly infamous Antwerp Mansion. For more information, including how to purchase tickets in advance, head over to the Facebook event page over here.
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Competition: Win a signed test press of Thelem - Bring Me Down (feat. T-Man) / False Imprint [IMRV007]
Innamind continue to cement their position as one of the most consistent and progressive labels within dubstep on this, the seventh vinyl release from the label. Enlisting new signee Thelem, following up his latest 12" for Osiris Music, the lead cut welcomes a second new face in the form of Manchester MC T-Man, whose blistering vocal brings a cocksure swagger to Thelem's low-swung halfstep instrumental. Having already proved himself on beats for Dub Phizix, and with a Wayfarer & Kanjira collaboration brewing too, it'd be difficult to disagree when he says he's 'one of the best on road at the moment.' The B-side sees Thelem in a more meditative mood: tight-looped, revolving synths, blips and whirls skirting in-between heavy-tread drums.
This release also marks the first video outing for the label, which is premiering here on Hedmuk. To mark the occasion, we're switching up the usual 'Like & Share' formula to involve the release's visual accompaniment: to enter for the chance to win a signed test press of the record, simply follow the link below to the Hedmuk Facebook Page and repost the official video by clicking 'Share'.
Enter here: https://www.facebook.com/Hedmuk.BassMusic/posts/10153354552610319
The competition will close one week from today, on Tuesday the 15th of October 2013, on which date a winner will be chosen at random by an independent third party and announced via Facebook and Twitter.
Thelem - Bring Me Down (feat. T-Man) / False Imprint [IMRV007] will be released on 28/10/13, on 10" vinyl and digital, and is available to pre-order from the Innamind Surus store now.
This Friday, MisDigest turns one - and quite the year they've had, bringing Paleman, Happa, Noodles, Walton, Sully and NDread and plenty more to play in Leeds. To celebrate the occasion, they've invited crews from Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham to bring their own unique flavours to the dance. The Swing Ting 'trainers only' policy means anything from garage, to grime, to jungle, to hip hop, to bashment, ragga, rap and UK funky; Fullfat bring the steppers, with Geode, J. Robinson, Onset and Sun Of Selah; and Tumble Audio, represented on the night by Sergic & Lyka, come with their distinctive brand of dancefloor-projectiles. With that lot on offer, the only thing that can be guaranteed is that this'll be a party, but without the posers and pouters.
For more details you can visit the Facebook event page over here, and to purchase tickets online from Ticket Arena head over here.
Monday, 7 October 2013
We've been waiting to see this one released since a clip appeared on YouTube, courtesy of AJP, and had us at the replay button. Finally picked up by Pressed Records for a full 12" outing, 'Aight' still bangs as hard as it did back then: drums punching through a huge bassline groove, Ipman's characteristic control guides every element in the mix and the end result is one that tests the mettle of any soundsystem going. Killawatt turns the whole thing inside out for the B-side; drenched in delay and swarming hi-hats, the beat takes a dubwise approach: stripped back and stretched out, all deep textures and moody atmospherics.
With a test press of the record going spare, the guys at Pressed suggested we link up to give one lucky winner the chance to get their hands on a copy of the EP ahead of the official release date. To enter, simply head over here (or click on the link below) and follow the instructions. The competition will close one week from now, on Monday the 14th of October, on which date a winner will be chosen at random by an independent third party and announced via Facebook and Twitter.
Enter here: http://www.pressedrecords.com/ipmancomp.html
Ipman - Aight EP [PRD006] will be released on 12" vinyl on the 21st of October 2013, with the digital release following a week later on the 28th.
Sunday, 6 October 2013
Badimup race on to their fifth release and follow up a sold out Wen plate with a three track EP from London-Bristol straddler, Facta. Part of the joy of hearing this young producer's beats is in sharing his taste as a listener: every new project drips with influence, taking a melee of sounds and styles and running it through with something that, until now, had yet to go under the turntable's needle. Horsepower Productions form a good point of reference, whether in the flat slapped snares of 'Kobra', the impeccable roll of 'Montpelier', or the cinematic atmosphere of 'Upsetter' - but it would be unfair to limit the EP to a single influence as, clear from the variation in styles across the three tracks, there is so much going on here. What's perhaps most commendable though, is the distinctive texture of the release; if a debut 12" can be seen as an opportunity for an artist to announce their sound, then Facta has done a very good job.
To celebrate the release, we've been given the last remaining test press of the record to give out for free. As per the usual drill, you can enter by heading over to the Hedmuk Facebook Page and giving the above photo a 'Like & Share'. The competition will close on Friday the 11th of October, with the winner chosen at random by an independent third party and announced on Facebook and Twitter.
Facta - Montpelier EP [BDMUP005] will be released on the 11th of October 2013 on 12" and digital formats, and is available to pre-order exclusively from Red Eye now.
Friday, 27 September 2013
We've been saying it long enough, and our friends at Hit & Run have always been ready to provide lineups that attest: Manchester is the UK's leading light when it comes to MCs. Anyone needing a convincer might listen to the cypher cut, 'Bun Ya', from DRS' 'I Don't Usually Like MCs But...' LP. And whilst the likes of Strategy, T-Man, Skittles, Fox and Sparkz may be familiar to some from their appearances in the 'feat.' bracket on some of the biggest beats from the past couple of years - without even having to mention 'Marka' - there's no better place to catch them than passing a mic, stood in between a DJ and a bopping crowd.
And that's exactly what we have here, the first in a three-part cypher session (with future episodes seeing Chimpo and Dub Phizix take to the decks): Jonny Dub mixing slick with a whole host of Manchester's finest trading bars.
Levelz is the start of something very exciting, believe us.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
It's been just under two weeks since Threnody launched his response to the war dubs and sends being flown out between grime's A-list producers, in which time there's been the round draw (documented brilliantly by Dark0), a week on the beats, the clash show on Sub.FM - which you can listen to again over here, or download here - and, following all of that, the official vote over here on Hedmuk.
So the votes are in and counted, and the winners are crowned as follows:
Dark0 [vs. Filter Dread]
Kakarot [vs. Marcx]
Majora [vs. Mike Midnight]
Name_pending [vs. Legend4ry]
Glot [vs. Strict Face]
Epoch [vs. Underclass]
Arctic [vs. Mella Dee]
Rabit [vs. Breen]
Zha [vs. Chemist]
Crackatoa [vs. Mad EP]
College Hill [vs. Dellity]
We also decided to name an overall winner, and picking one proved an easier task than the high standards across all the clashes might have first suggested: Rabit takes it home and leaves the rest of the pack trailing after ending 73 votes ahead of the nearest competitor at the poll's close.
As much as it does end there, it doesn't end entirely as we've a parting gift to everyone who's found themselves listening repeatedly over the clash entries since we posted them. The whole lot, bar Rabit and Chemist's efforts, are up for free download either individually or helpfully zipped up below:
Download: War Dubz II [.zip]
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
The artist formerly known (and featured on these very pages) as Dr. Hugo has taken the tempo down a few notches, and stretched his name out accordingly. Tunes from the newly-monikered Hugo Massien have been coming in fits and spurts, with each new beat showing yet more progression from the young producer as he continues to find his way around his own shape-shifting sound; and yet, each one that lands in the inbox feels just as self-assured as the last. No surprise then that the new moniker has been backed to the hilt by anyone and everyone on the mail-out list, and has received heavy rotation on Mark Radford's Rinse show.
Originally planned to go up as a promo clip on the Hedmuk Youtube channel, Massien was generous enough to give the whole thing out as a free download. Sitting somewhere between early UK funky, grime and the sort of groove-riding 2-step that has always set Horsepower Productions apart from the crowd, Hugo's past spend making minimal dubstep shows through too in the beat's weight and sparsity. The binding mystic sample deserves a mention too: one of those that'll have producers sitting back wishing they'd found it first.
Download: Hugo Massien - Mystik