The Unearthed Sounds crew members have compiled their weekly picks containing collectively, in no particular order, our favourite tracks/releases of the week. Check back every week for our in-house selections!
We were very proud to release Titus 12’s debut physical release early last year, and we are just as proud to present his second ZamZam. Longtime host of Ujima 98 FM’s Subsession radio show out of Bristol, and the hand behind new cassette label Limbo Tapes, Pete Hazell is well-known in his city as a purveyor of deep, eclectic, bass-centric music of many hues and shades… his myriad influences alchemically combine into a signature sound that is as unmistakeable as it is difficult to pin down. In a world of cookie-cutter soundworlds Titus 12 conjures something truly personal and magical and makes it sound effortless.
“Summon Luxo” opens with raw vinyl archaeology, managing to wed a humid, plaintive, layered vocal chop to a sultry boom bap riddim, with so much swing and space you’ll swoon under its strange power. Titus 12 says, "Summon Luxo came about after falling in love with a recording of an Ethiopian funeral song, and the suggestion that the singer might be summoned to a funeral from many miles away, because of the calibre of his lament." Intertwining melodies, sophisticated vocal manipulations, deeply elastic bass and ethereal ragga flavor complete an absolutely unique and captivating tune you’ll want to rewind again and again.
“Silly Youth” fuses distorted french cafe melodica vibes to rugged sound tape boasts and smoked-out 140 swagger with Titus’ signature reverb-filled spaces, 808 bass and aquatic claps for another singular journey through the mind of a true original. No dibby-dibby sound!!
Breaka presents ‘Breaka 001’, the first release on his own self-titled label.
“This record is a special project for me. Releasing myself has allowed me to collect four tracks reflecting different sides of my musical world. ‘Breaka 001’ opens with ‘Icy Grills’, a classic Breaka style track based on Breaks, 808s and euphoric melodies. ‘Stretch 130’ is a portal into the world of Stretchy Dance Supply, a workout-based club night I co-created. It’s one to limber up and get down to. The B-side starts with ‘Apricot Cocktails’, a track inspired by the classic Broken Beat sound. I made the instrumental in 2018, but the track got a new lease of life when paired with vocals written and performed by soul diva Lydia Kotsirea. The EP comes to a close with another collaboration, this time working with producer and session guitarist Bradley Hutchings (Guava). I often open my sets with this one. I think you’re going to love it.”
No.17 marks the return of Sepia to Infernal Sounds as he pops the lid open on some long-lasting dubs from his locker. The title track, 'Flutez' is an uplifting journey, and has been in constant rotation across the dance floor for over 3 years now, having received support from the likes of Truth, Foamplate and Sicaria Sound.
The B1 'Cross The Line', a more recent creation from the Bristol-based producer switches it up and delivers a more direct, cut-throat aggression through the chopping synth, conjuring up a sense of anguish, with the appropriate addition of a daunting vocal sample. Stripping things back and rounding things off is 'Tales From The Crypt', a perfect way to bring things down and lay out that trademark Sepia sound. Emotive notes and progression gives this track a real all-round feel of solace.
The EP has also received support from Mala, Distance and Darkside, amongst others.
Artikal Music welcomes new signing Sabab to the stable with his debut EP entitled ‘Guidance’. Discovered by J:Kenzo on his move to Ireland; Elias Zaidan aka Sabab hails from the beautiful city of Dublin.
Sabab is a prolific producer who draws from his Irish / Lebanese heritage, as well as taking heavy influences from Jamaican sound system culture.
This 4 track EP is a tale of 2 sides, with Sabab showing his talents on both the deep dub side and the dancefloor orientated killers that have been blessing dubstep dances worldwide. EP support from Mala, J:Kenzo, Youngsta & N-Type +more.
a1. Sabab - Guidance
a2. Sabab - Youthman Dub
b1. Sabab - Harmonic Dissonance
b2. Sabab - Dutty Babylon
Various Artists - Dub-Stuy Presents: Santa Muerte Riddim
The fourth instalment of Dub-Stuy’s riddim series takes a slight detour from its modern dancehall focus with a darker, hip hop influenced riddim featuring contributions from an international cast of vocalists affiliated with the label.
Santa Muerte Riddim puts forward a new sound for the series with a fresh beat courtesy of Brooklyn producer Jonah Freed. The slower 80bpm riddim combines a hypnotizing string melody, eerie sweeps and punching boom bap kicks bringing to mind the heydays of 90’s NYC reggae hip-hop or classic Bristol fusion styles (think the Wild Bunch, Portishead or, more recently, the Young Echo crew). In fact the riddim has a direct tie to Bristol. After Freed first made it, while studying in Chicago when he was just 18, he sent it to Bristol MC Rider Shafique and the two eventually connected for a show in town where Young Echo member Kahn wheeled up the song. After that it was clear this was a riddim that needed to be put out into the world.
Taking turns on the vocal tracks are three artists with a wide stylistic range. Bristol’s Rider Shafique kicks things off with striking confidence, his laid-back flow flexing between boasts and elevated reflections to make ‘Santa Muerte’ a new outernational standard. Next up is veteran NYC artist Jahdan Blakkamoore who showcases his versatility and delivers an uplifting call to leave violence behind on ‘Liberation Over Liberace’. Pupajim from Stand High Patrol takes on the last version with “Open Mindedness”, an unexpected rendition of the riddim laced with a layer of Rhodes harmonies. With his unmistakable vocal style, the french MC urges the music industry to break down musical barriers and embrace the diversity of styles and sounds.
To echo Pupajim’s lyrics, the Santa Muerte Riddim is a testament to the rich history of fusion and eclecticism in sound system culture.
This one’s straight out of ‘96 – or is it? Taking you back deep down to the sounds of now, it’s DLR on Total Science’s CIA Records, with three slamming cuts to possibly jam your radar – but sure to pleasure your senses.
DLR is on another plane with his sonic capabilities, with an almost unmatched ability to capture that contemporary big room sound. Match him with rave luminaries Total Science and you and The Doc may as well have parked the Delorean outside Stratford Rex. Going in deep with a few of the more obscure old skool breaks, big bold rave pianos and classic samples – you’re sure you maybe heard this one before? And that big big bass to just take apart the place. This one’s danger.
The One More Record EP houses three killer cuts from DLR, the lead track ‘Spluurge’ alongside Total Science. They all capture the jungle vibe perfectly, yet sound bang up to date, and are sure to feature in any DJs set that values that 90’s vibe and needs to take the roof off the dance.
The blueprint for both the Source Direct and Mirage releases on Odysee Recordings was always about presenting two complimentary styles of Drum & Bass; often a dark Amen track on one side would be paired with a more experimental ambient or Jazz-infused track on the other. Label partner Andy Odysee’s debut solo release remains true to that ethos. Taking a break from the remix/remaster series that has seen Mirage’s Bewildered and No Tomorrow return to vinyl, Andy delivers a 12” that demonstrates both musical depth and stylistic versatility.
Cause Damage builds from the start with a feel of haunting melancholy and ethereal space, but the as strident breaks pick up the energy, the track builds. The mood suddenly switches; a seismic room-shaking sub and menacing vocal creating a sense of imminent speaker damage, before the track drops unleashing a blistering assault of razor sharp Amens and wobbling synth bass descents. This track has made regular appearances in Source Direct sets over the past year. In complete contrast, Like Jazz is a modern day twist on the style of production that was seen in tracks like A Different Groove, Complexities or even some of the Hokusai releases. A deep tech-house backbone of synth stabs give support to the freeform Jazz breaks and sax riffs that are scattered across this piece. The vocal challenges the listener with the question “Are You A Jazz Fan?” and if you are, this piece will certainly deliver a deep musical journey through Jazz-infused harmonic landscapes.
In addition to the vinyl release, the bonus digital track Body Rock is a tribute to the early Soul Boogie & Breakdance sound of the 1980’s. Packed to the seams with references to that era, there is enough vocoder, Electro-style bass stabs, 808 and 909 drum cuts, and clean classic Hip-Hop breaks, to have everyone body-popping and pulling out some impromptu headspins!
In the last few years, Lewis James has gone from being an artist on the rise to establishing himself as one of the most exciting act to emerge from electronic music. His debut EP on Exit Records backs this statement up without question. The features on the EP speak for themselves: Lorn, dBridge and Alia Fresco. Aesthetically Lewis James has put together an EP that traverses different shades of electronica whilst not losing a sense of identity, an identity that is truly Lewis James by way of Exit Records.