Sunday, 26 May 2013

Review: Keysound Allstars - Vol. 2 [LDN037]

Keysound is a label that, this year, has managed to achieve a rare synergy between imprint and artists - and, judging from our Twitter timeline during Dusk + Blackdown's regular Rinse shows, engaged fans. This second instalment of the Allstars series is indicative of just the sort of rude health the London-based label is in: each tune tussling with the others around it in a positive struggle towards creating something coherent and whole.

'Scattah' is reload-ready and comes on like a drunken 'Super Sharp Shooter' and is the sort of tune that Etch has been threatening to make since he last caught our (and our readers') attention more than two years ago. Manchester resident Walton looks back too, and digs out the vinyl crackle and the ineffable bounce of the garage era to pay his own 'Homage' to the UK's dance music culture. Visionist treads his now-familiarly fine line between gully and graceful, with grey synths, dainty strings and interjections from Crazy Titch. The four track EP is rounded off with a Keysound favourite from Fresh Paul, on which the tone is reset to something lighter with an epic synth workout twisting in and out of minimal, Eski-flecked drums.

In terms of A&R work, this is exemplary and, with all necessary credits going to the four producers involved, is a genuinely essential bit of wax to have in the bag.

'Keysound Allstars Vol. 2' will be released by Keysound Recordings on the 27th of May 2013 and is available for pre-order now.


Review: Merky ACE - All Or Nothing [NHNH1006CD]

Merky ACE's first CD was, back in 2011, a statement-maker: unrelenting, aggressive flows and smart-arse wordplay over brand new beats from a select bunch of producers, including the likes of Faze Miyake, Royal-T and Splurt Diablo, who were also beginning to make inroads into the grime scene. And despite the close-knit feel of the release, with other MC features being strictly Family Tree-related, the variation to be found on the CD was what made it so strong; this wasn't just a bunch of skits and half-cooked freestyles over the scene's current buzz-beats, and perhaps most importantly it felt genuine and honest in its boundary-pushing. By the time Jammer was deciding to introduce Waka Flocka Flame to grime by playing trap and Fekky, Merky and his team had been testing the borders between the dank lean of Dirty South hip hop and skippy double-time grime flows for years. 'All Or Nothing' is a follow-up full-length in the truest sense as we see how the young South Londoner's music grows as he does.

'You Think You Know Me', which featured on the stop-gap 'Catch Up EP', saw Merky taking on deeper, more personal material and 'All Or Nothing' sees him expand on this tone, positively diversifying his style. The reflective hook line on 'Intro' sets a casual pace from the off, stripped of the need to shout loudest in order to be heard. This sense of feeling comfortable within his own style, as though he's not having to try too hard to sound original is one of the most inviting aspects of Merky's approach and means that chorus-led tunes - so often standout casualties on a grime mixtape - don't sound overwrought or drenched in concept. As previously, though, and as should arguably be the case for any decent grime MC, when he's at his best is spraying 16s and bouncing flows back and forth with other crew members; these direct impact set-pieces (see 'Wack', 'R.I.P' or the title track, 'All Or Nothing') serve as constant and regular reminders as to why Merky and his fellow FT members have had the whole scene hot on their heels. Keeping with the team aesthetic, most of the producers who feature - including Faze, Splurt, Rude Kid, Zdot and Teddy Music/Silencer - also had offerings on 'Blue Battlefield' and the diversity shows again, with each beatsmith giving Merky different spaces to tangle his flows in.

'All Or Nothing' completes what 'Blue Battlefield' started, and as the first of a two-part collaboration with No Hats No Hoods sets up an exciting prospect for what can come next from the young talents on show here.

Merky ACE - All Or Nothing will be released by No Hats No Hoods Records on May 27th 2013 and is available to pre-order in physical format from the NHNH store now.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Featuring: Facta

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A young producer who's been fairly firmly on the Hedmuk radar since first hitting us up with a pack of beats a few years back, Facta has, since then, been steadily carving his own niche into the UK underground's ever-shifting sound map. With one foot held steady in his '06-dubstep roots, the other treads through garage, grime, UK funky, hip-hop and the trippier side of experimental electronic and what results is sturdy, rough-edged and system ready. This broad approach is what makes the East Londoner's beats so captivating: whilst one might be swinging out off tough kicks and snappy snares, the next will be all tucked grooves and slinky hi-hats, and the next still will just have you sat bewildered at how he's managed to fit every bit of it together to make something that moves so slickly. It's not worth simply saying he's one to keep an eye on; it would be more accurate to just wish anyone luck in predicting which direction he might lead that eye in next...

Hedmuk: By way of introduction, what's your name, where do you hail from and how would you describe your sound?

Facta: My name’s Oscar; I grew up in Hackney, East London, and currently live between there and Bristol, where I’m living and studying most of the year. In terms of my sound, I tend to see everything I make in terms of dubstep as that’s where I initially found my roots – realistically, though, I produce a variety of styles that draw from garage, grime, dubstep, techno, hip-hop and breaks to varying degrees.

H: Would you consider yourself as being from a musical background, or is it an interest that you've developed yourself?

F: Well it wasn’t as if my parents were playing in bands or singing in choirs or anything, but like most families there was always music about in the house and from a young age I was slightly obsessive about finding my own path within music, which was something that my family always encouraged. When I was 9 I was convinced that I’d be in a world famous punk rock band touring the world by the time I was 16 – I’m ashamed to say that I’ve let my kid-self down in that respect, but I guess I’m still driven by the same ambition to create stuff now as I was then.

H: In terms of your actual production, you seem to take a mostly sample-based approach; do you feel like having a wide sphere of influence helps with this? Where, or from whom, would you say you take most influence from?

F: Yeah, well that’s definitely the key characteristic of my sound – I work almost entirely from samples; it’s partly due to an inability to programme synths very well and partly down to a deep respect of the whole culture and procedure around sampling. I listen to a lot of hip-hop and experimental electronic music, from which I have developed a love of rough, fast sample work. I’m also heavily influenced by non-electronic music – most recently jazz in particular. For this reason I’m always hesitant to make music that sounds overly polished or fine tuned; when I produce a track I like to cut up the samples right on the grid, trying not to quantize things too heavily or cut the clips too precisely: I tend to leave in trails and imperfections so as to maintain as many of the nuances of the original source material as possible.

H: A lot of people from the city talk about Bristol as being a great creative environment to live and work in: is this something you would agree with? How important is the sense of existing within a creative community to you?

F: Bristol is definitely a special place. I could talk on for hours about it, but anyone who has spent any length of time here will agree that there is something about the city and the scene here that just feels distinct from the rest of the UK. It’s always had its own path and it continues to develop on its own trajectory: Bristol Dub and Reggae, Bristol Jungle, Bristol Trip-Hop, Bristol Dubstep and Grime, Bristol Techno – these have always been special, unique pockets within their relevant scenes and all have a unifying trace running through them. It’s a constant source of inspiration and motivation to work and play out here, not only is there a huge audience for forward-thinking, experimental music but everybody is willing to help one another out and collaborate in a way that I never see happen in places like London.

H: Your tracks have featured heavily on Dusk & Blackdown's Rinse show in recent months, how does it feel to have that kind of backing? How far would you consider this idea of a musical community to extend to the tight group of artists being represented on the show?

F: It’s been a massive honour to receive recognition from figures that I have looked to and respected for years and years, and it’s been particularly great to be involved with the pocket of artists working within the Keysound sphere over the last half a year or so: it has the perfect combination of feeling like a tight, cohesive movement whilst still remaining totally undefined and uncontained. There’s a massive variety in sound from producer to producer: nobody feels like they’re stepping on each other’s toes. We’ve all got our own room to breathe within a collectively-occupied space and that’s a very inspiring thing to be a part of.

H: You've also recently started a night in Bristol: can tell us a bit about your reasoning behind it, and what sort of ethos you're aiming for?

F: The night in Bristol developed as a result of me and two friends deciding we wanted to throw no-nonsense parties at some of the cooler, smaller venues across Bristol: you can’t move for great, cutting-edge line ups at big clubs in Bristol, but we did feel that there was room for a party where the emphasis was taken off new music and reinvested in location and atmosphere. So we hatched the idea of throwing house party-esque events at cool locations where we’d just ask friends and DJs to come down and play sets that they wouldn’t be expected to play, giving them the chance to draw strictly for their favourite party jams. We called it Elephant 'cause that’s a dumb name for a dumb club night. It’s going to be sweet.

H: Take us through how you approached the mix you've put together for us.

F: Well I’ve recently been lucky enough to get to know a bunch of stupidly talented producers – both in person and through exchanging tunes online – and so I wanted to throw as many of them in as possible, plus include a few of my own. The mix sits somewhere between what I’d consider to be home listening and the sort of thing I’d play in a club. Normally when playing out I tend to get carried away dropping fruity old garage tracks and golden era dubstep and grime; I’ve reigned that in a bit for this mix, although couldn’t help but slip a few percies in.

H: Finally, are there any forthcomings lined up or anything else in the pipeline that you'd like to put the word out on?

F: I have a vinyl-only 12” EP coming out this summer which will feature 'Montpelier', 'Kobra' and 'Upsetter'; I have a track with K-Lone that's just come out on the unbelievably-good debut 'Chord Marauders' compilation [now available exclusively from the Chord Marauders website]; I’m in talks about a few other 12”s, although nothing is set in stone; I’m working on collaborations with a bunch of producers including Gantz, Wen, Rabit and B9. I’m going to be playing at Summer Saturnalia festival in July alongside Pinch, Elijah + Skilliam, ∆kkord and Gantz, and that’s about it on news. Thanks a lot for having me on – been a pleasure to get involved.

Download: Facta - Hedmuk Exclusive Mix


$tush - Dollar Sign [Social Circles]
E.M.M.A - Cherry Favour [Dub]
Facta - Montpelier [Forthcoming]
Beneath - You & Me Remix [Forthcoming]
Dizzee Rascal - Strings Hoe (Wen Remix) [Dub]
Facta - Kobra [Forthcoming]
Brunks - Steppin' [Dub]
E.M.M.A - Untitled [Dub]
Facta - Hieroglyph [Dub]
Epoch - Gun Talk - [Egyptian Avenue]
Gantz - Free Focus [Forthcoming]
Sepia - Outbreak [forthcoming Redshift One]
James Fox - Put It Back (Ramadanman Remix) [TAKE Records]
Etch - Lost Methods [Dub]
Karma - Armshouse Dub [Dub]
Wen - Galactic [Dub]
Bloom - Quartz [Gobstopper Records]
Facta - FWD [Dub]
Amoss - Tangent (Geode Remix) [forthcoming Horizons X]
Facta & K-Lone - Voodoo [Chord Marauders]
Solwork - L Town [Dub]
Geode, B9 & Congi - Scrumpy [Chord Marauders]
Facta - 36th Chamber [Dub]
Kode9 - Addiction - [Hyperdub]
Rabit - Wolf Spider [forthcoming Glacial Sound]
K-Lone - Melt [Dub]
Mark Pritchard - Heavy As Stone [Deep Medi]


Monday, 20 May 2013

Shop: Hedmuk Sweatshirt #001 - Pre-orders

After a fairly constant stream of emails asking whether or not the Hedmuk #001 Tees would be getting re-printed (and the disappointed response when we replied that they won't be), it was suggested on the Hedmuk Facebook Page that a run of sweatshirts featuring the original black and orange design might be in order. The response was immediate and positive, and so it is that there will be a short and very-limited run of black sweatshirts.

The sweatshirts will be available to pre-order from the Hedmuk BigCartel site for one week, starting today, after which the garments will be printed according to the orders received. There will be no more than 50 of these sweatshirts printed, so orders are arranged on a strictly first come, first served basis. The printing process will begin immediately following the closure of pre-orders and the sweaters should be sent out within a week of the print process beginning. Those who place pre-orders will be kept updated with the printing and distribution process via email.

As usual, prices for UK customers include postage and packing whilst those ordering from elsewhere around the world can expect to pay a small additional cost for delivery.

Pre-order from here:

There may even be stickers included too...


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Asa & Sorrow - Grime Mix (Hosted by M.I.K)

Bristolian's Asa & Sorrow - perhaps best known for the sort of emotive, garage-flecked numbers that have made up recent releases such as Asa's stunning 'Arcane EP' or Sorrow's masterful debut album, 'Dreamstone' - have been redirecting grime's attentions towards the South-West with a series of short clips being uploaded to Soundcloud. Combining a noted homage to some of the genre's classic sounds (be it Eski, string-driven, or just plain moody) with the advanced production and acute attention to detail so emblematic of their individual genre-leaping endeavours, the results are intensely controlled exercises in shifting a rave.

Regular visitors to Hedmuk will be readily familiar with the MC gracing this production showcase, but what sets M.I.K apart for us is not necessarily just his diverse flows or witty one-liners but his ear for a beat: his versatility as well as his willingness to vocal a huge variety of different styles is the sort of refreshing approach to making music that has been catching the attention of new listeners daily. As something of a sequel, then, to his recent hosting a mix from another Bristol resident, Kahn (who has himself done remixes for the young MC in the past), M.I. has linked up with Asa & Sorrow to reset the levels and raise every bar in reach...

If you want to see Asa & Sorrow doing this live in your locality then is the place to begin the booking process. And if you want MIK down too, then is the address.


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Competition: Win 2x guestlist to PYC Presents, 1z Anti-Long T-shirt, 1x Hedmuk X Generic Greeting T-shirt, 1x Hedmuk X Thelem T-shirt and a limited copy of BDMUP004 by Wen

Friday the 31st of May sees our friends over at PYC Sessions bringing Kahn & Neek, Wen and Alan Johnson to the Soup Kitchen basement for their biggest party yet. The night will see both Kahn & Neek and Wen making their Manchester debuts, as well as an introduction to new talent Alan Johnson (and that PYC have a strong history of introducing new talent is hardly a secret to anyone) and support from the PYC crew themselves.

In light of this, we're offering the chance to win two spots on the guestlist for the night as well as three T-shirts (with designs from Anti-Long, Thelem and Generic Greeting) and a limited vinyl copy of Wen's latest release on Badimup, Swingin b/w Walk Tha Walk. To be in with a chance of winning all of this, simply head over to the Hedmuk Facebook Page and publicly share this photo, leaving a comment on the image as to what size of T-shirt you'd like to receive should you win.

The competition will close on Wednesday the 29th of May, on which date a winner will be selected at random by an independent third party and announced via Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on the event, including how to purchase tickets in advance, head over to the event page here.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Radio: Hedmuk X Kanjira X Rood FM - 24/04/13

Hedmuk X Kanjira X Rood FM - 24/04/13

Download: Hedmuk X Kanjira X Rood FM - 24/04/13

Stream: Hedmuk X Kanjira X Rood FM - 24/04/13


Coleco - Lovin' Me
Killjoy - Memories
Caski - Elephant Tribe
Kollectiv - Hung
J-One - Yours
Notion - Future Funk
Atlas - Honest
Walton - Homage
Pinch & Roska - Shoulda Rolla
Youngstar - Pulse X (Blackwax Remix)
Etch - Hybrid
DJ Eastwood - U Ain't Ready
LAS - Preaching
Taiko - Spray Can
Sepia - Cornered
SP:MC & Youngsta - Kenshin
Taiko - Waylay
Binomiala - Nibiru
Karma - Armshouse Dub
onlyjoe - Wicked Land
Fable - Aftaparty (feat. Beezy)
Rude Kid - Yagga
Merky ACE - Wack (feat. Ego & Faze Miyake)
Lemzly Dale & Boofy - Catch A Body

- Kanjira

Vaun - Taking Over (feat. Animai) (Anex Remix)
Wayfarer – Nomad
Kanjira & Wayfarer – Amputate
Taiko – White Bear
Piezo – Marwuk
Wayfarer & Taiko – Sanka
Kanjira & Wayfarer – Untitled
Kanjira – Kifo
Wayfarer & Taiko – Untitled

- b2b

Ipman - Flipmode
Etch - Scattah
Sepia - Skyline

Wayfarer – Mandala
Piezo – Kaleya
Kanjira & Wayfarer – Uprising

SP:MC - Trust Nobody
Kuduashe - Afriquoi


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