Sub Rosa is establishing itself as a home for quality drum n bass. Bill Laswell has had his "Oscillations" track worked over and the results are simply amazing. It's not often a remix package comes along where you're hard pressed to pick the best modification. No U-Turn head Nico makes you wait for that sledehammer bass on his mix (thankfully out on twelve so you needn't crank the gain), with Endemic Void, Atom Heart, DJ Grazhoppa, and more on the double album. West London artist Vedic has brought together some of the most talented members of the Asian music community; Earthtribe (who've played with Coldcut, Nitin Sawhney, and LTJ Bukem), Asian Dub Foundation Sound System (Nation Records), Ansuman Biswas solo and recording with his brother Kingsuk as Bedouin Ascent, push the envelope and turn in fresh reinterpretations of d n b.
On the same label and also challenging preconceptions is Osaka's Yoshihiro Hanno as Multiphonic Ensemble. Musique Concrete meets crisp electronic percussion programmed with blinding detail. This is up there with the likes of Canada's David Kristian--no mean feat. Friend has unveiled the follow up to his "Single Of The Week" with Dr. Kosmos. You'll find "Eight Ball" and a few other older pieces, but the majority is new. Labelmate Argonort makes his debut, though these efforts lean more toward dub. On Berlin's !K7 (through Fusion III in Canada) out soon is the long awaited debut full length from Khao, "Crazy Diseased And Barmy". The Chinese word for life, this is the work of Mark Rutherford (who worked with Goldie in the original Rufige Kru), Jon Caffery, and James Whalen, with South African singer Mandisa Dumezweni. The slogan for their recording sessions was "live life to the full--no compromise"; it's the project's albatross and saviour. At times drenched in dub and downtempo flavors, sometimes wild d n b, it's an album that takes a few listens before the ideas flesh themselves out. Grab the single for the more focused remix work of Darkus. Dom & Matrix have no trouble keeping their eyes on the prize. "The Vandal" lays a sparse step over a cavernous bed of strings and darkness, while the flip is a busy juxtaposition of slapped bass and fuzzed stabs that guarantee delight. Ninja Tune's latest signing is Animals On Wheels, a gentleman named Andy Coleman who coowns the British Bovinyl imprint. "Designs And Mistakes" is a highly recommended mess of Aphex style drumatix and mellow swathes of sound, both uptempo and down. Find and bathe in its glow.
The new one from Cyclops 4000 (aka Sir Menelik) is the first in a series of collaborations between New York's Rawkus and London's Ultimate Dilemma. Men busts the syllables like no other, Roc Raider's on the cut, and the Runaways mix the B. A one two three knock out combination with low slung bass and dirty beats. Kenny "Dope" Gonzales, DJs Tone Rock and Spinna, Funkmaster Flex, Frankie Feliciano, and Shazam X turn out some fiesty party tracks for Nervous that shine. We've heard all the stories about Uncle Finley and his nephew Tricky, but there's more to Quaye than that. On this advance single for his "Maverick A Strike" full length, it doesn't hurt that he's working with a Bob Marley song. This isn't made for the floor, it's more of an appreciate-my-voice showcase, so head for the "Sony Walkman mix" of "Lover A Need I" provided by A Guy Called Gerald. Something here for the head and the feet. Pagoda is making the jump from overseas with a slew of 12"s and a fine compilation. Alex Martin (who's recorded for F Communications), Simes, Orphic, Deepfried Toguma, Effike, and Numinos work in a variety of fields. The d n b, dub, techno, and experimental electronics on display from this label are all worth seeking out. Formerly a US based DJ, producer, and engineer, Ireland's Jay Ahern crafts music that bridges sleek house and techno with ease. Previously released on the visionary British Phono label, we're now privy to a domestic compilation of Aquarhythms (the name of the artist and the label) through Astralwerks/Caroline. Carl Craig, Deep Dish, and Morgan Geist provide remixes, but the remaining tracks sparkle on their own. "Greetings From Deepest America" is a fitting title.
Cognition Electronics Top 10
1. Argonort--"Mingus" 12" [Dot SWE]