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!
Bash (AKA Julio Bashmore) graces Trules fifth release and the first in a series of ten inch singles with Jubilee, a sub heavy, minimal, UK garage dub that manages to marry the sparser techno vibes of his Conch releases with the subtle anthemic quality of his other alias. A real dance floor sneak bomb.
Al Wootton provides a two-stepping dub remix on the B-side, chopping the drums and echoing everything out to infinity.
ZamZam’s first encounter with the music of Diggory Kenrick was “The Lion Flute,” a wind-led cut to one of Jamaican music’s toughest riddims, the Mighty Diamonds’ “Africa.” Years later it still hasn’t left the box, and it led us on a quest to acquire as many of his tunes as possible… E3 became obsessed with reaching out to him for a collaboration, and “Temple Duel” b/w “Temple Dub” is the resulting plate. Collaborations with legends including Bunny Lee, Lee Perry, and Jah Wobble have resulted in an extraordinary catalog of 7”, 10”, and 12” singles, to say nothing of producing an outstanding documentary on Mr. Lee, “I Am The Gorgon,” and countless liner notes and production credits for the untouchable Pressure Sounds label.
Kenrick’s signature sound is haunting and richly melodic, phased and distorted, lending an ancient-to-the-future vibe to everything he touches, whether rootical collaborations or left-field version excursions.
Alter Echo & E3 and Headland had been wanting to collaborate for some time, and Kenrick’s high-plains-meets-far-east vibes seemed the perfect opportunity to build something truly unique.
The scene takes place deep underground, in blackened chambers untouched by the sun, ancient halls where reverb space is the guide and ritual combat is the only way out. Subsonic 808 bass undergirds a near-industrial mid-range bass guitar groove, stiff snares, stick-fighting percussion, and the melody an ever-present narrative arc through the dark. “Temple Dub” strips down the flute and widens the cinemascope, with claustrophobic panning and vertiginous detuning echoes creating ghostly traps for the unwary.
Strictly limited to 700 10" copies for the world. No digital, no repress. Art and design by Polygon Press. Mastered by Sam Precise. Releasing first week of November, 2019.
Artikal Music UK is pleased to share the LP from label owner J:KENZO "TAYGETA CODE", a collection of deep and heavy arrangements built for all speakers and sound-systems.
Varying in style and speed from dubstep, grime and bass from 130bpm, 140bpm & 170bpm; the album features appearances from grime MC Flowdan on the VIP of 'Like A Hawk', legend jungle MC Navigator on club banger 'Narky (Body Dem)', as well as New Zealand singer-songwriter Lelijveld who adds her subtle dreamy vocals to 'Broken Dreams'.
Support from Mala, Toddla T, Om Unit, Youngsta & N-Type.
a1. J:Kenzo - Desired State
a2. J:Kenzo - Broken Dreams (feat. Lelijveld)
b1. J:Kenzo - Deadbull
b2. J:Kenzo - Hoodwinked
c1. J:Kenzo - Narky (Body Dem) [feat. Navigator]
c2. J:Kenzo - Blind Summit
d1. J:Kenzo - Token Image
d2. J:Kenzo - Starseed 47
Various Artists - Shadows LP [3x12"] [Limited Edition of 200]
Function Records is one of the most well-respected imprints not just within jungle music, but also across drum & bass., having been spearheaded by Digital, a producer who’s garnered just as much of a reputation for his own cuts and crowd-moving DJ sets. One of the reasons why Digital has stood the test amongst his counterparts is because he’s stayed true to his heritage, something which can be seen throughout the catalogue of Function. For its fiftieth release he’s invited a host of producers to have their take on the label’s sound. To commemorate this compilation, names like Nomine, Calibre & Jet Li, Klute and Drumsound & Bassline Smith feature across its track listing, each delivering an exclusive addition to Function’s renowned history. The album shows the influence which Digital has built throughout his career and it’s one decorated with music, much like the type which is showcased on the ‘Shadows’ LP.
Calibre and Jet Li’s hard-driving sounds are showcased throughout beginning cut ‘Least Loved’, whilst A2 Kiat comes next with his delivery of ‘Stranger Tings’. Digital drops in for his own offering which comes in the rolling form of ‘Dub Conscious’. Nomine drops in alongside his alias Outrage for ‘Born Again’ and newcomer Kiljoy, formally known as part of Concord Dawn, comes with the tear out sonics of ‘Ghosts of Old’. Need for Mirrors then reworks Digital’s ‘Deadline’, followed by the lulling, immersive landscape of Seba and Jr Vallo’s ‘Wasabi’. Total Science and War prove they’re a force to be reckoned with on collaborative record ‘Second Wave’ and the legendary DJ Trace appears with ‘Spirits’. Resound takes Digital, the late Spirit and Flava & Dissect’s ‘Primal’, moulding it through his own lens. For a penultimate addition, Drumsound & Bassline Smith inject their dancefloor flavours on ‘Gods Never Die’. Then the cross-sub genre genius Klute closes the album with ‘Sick of it All’, drawing for his envy-stoking production standard.
Together, each track epitomises why Function have reigned supreme since they first began releasing music. With the host of producers Digital’s been able to pull in for ‘Shadows’, it highlights just how imperative the label has been for the genre’s definitive figures.
The latest transmission from Sneaker Social Club welcomes Low End Activist into the fold for a record that draws heavily on soundsystem culture and in particular its social function in the Afro-Caribbean communities it stemmed from.
The source material for this record of fractured bass pressure is a VHS recording of Muzikon Sound System, captured in 1988 on the Blackbird Leys estate in Oxford, UK. The vibe pours out of the scenes captured – it was a famously hot summer, and Earthy Irie’s crew set their rig up at the Blackbird Leys summer fair, gifting the community with a wall of sound blasting out ruff n’ tuff 80s dancehall while the local deejays toasted over the top. Elsewhere Street Level would have had their system set up playing UK Soul, Hip-Hop, Proto Rave and Acid House, while further down the field (known locally as ‘the wreck’) the annual five-a-side football tournament took place.
The fair was a symbol of the unity of the estate – a multi-ethnic working class community bound together both by the looming presence of the car factory (where a massive portion of the residents worked) but also the long simmering social divide in Oxford. Since the founding of Oxford University, the country’s elite have needed people to do their dirty work, predictably exploiting and marginalising them in the process. As the city and its colleges expanded, so these communities were ushered out of town. The tensions between the classes reached a flash point repeatedly throughout the centuries, and it was no different during the 1991 riots on
the Blackbird Leys estate. As with similar riots elsewhere in Britain – Brixton, St Pauls, Toxteth, and elsewhere – heavy handed, not to mention misguided, police tactics loom large in the story, where the elite and the authorities fail to understand the community, how and why it functions the way it does.
Drawing on this snapshot of Oxford life, far from the international facade of the city’s privilege and power, with a deep-rooted, personal perspective, Low End Activist channels the raw energy and expression of Muzikon’s sound and frames it in the dread bass pressure that such soundsystems directly led to. It’s not dark music, but rather an intense one, defiant and proud like the Blackbird Leys community and so many of the social situations that gave rise to rave culture in the late 80s and early 90s.
The people from the estate would take their skill, knowledge and access to ‘the factory’ and use it to joyride high-end sports cars – a celebration of personal liberty in the face of social barriers enforced by the very people who would buy such things. Now Low End Activist applies his own craft to an amazing artefact from decades past, not so much joyriding with it as respectfully doffing his cap to the community in a show of solidarity, letting the jubilant sound play out once more