I don’t know how we’ve made it here so quick, but incredibly this will be the final instalment of ‘The Hive’ this year as, like last year, I intend to have the last week or two of 2019 away from the blog to come back with fresh eyes and ears in 2020. So here’s my recommendations for November…
Sleeper – Militant Focus EP (CRUCIAL026)
I don’t need to tell you about Sleeper, you already know what he’s all about. He’s a force to be reckoned with within the genre and a future hall of famer so I’ll go straight into his latest masterpiece ‘Militant Focus‘ EP. Following his rather experimental two tracker on his imprint Crucial Recordings earlier this year, featuring one of my 2019 favourites ‘Calling On Spirits‘, Sleeper migrated back to more of his core sounds on this one. CRUCIAL026 encapsulates not only Sleeper‘s foundation sounds, but also the Crucial Recordings label. The opening track ‘Shudda‘ offers classic wubs and wobbles in a chaotic fashion. We’ve got stompers from the aggressive title track ‘Militant Focus‘ and the more minimal ‘Fish Tea‘, plus a hypnotic roller entitled ‘Franklyn‘, charging through with throbbing low end pressure.
Ternion Sound – GB024
Dubstep’s super trio Ternion Sound went sick once again for their latest record and a debut on Gourmet Beats. The Minneapolis gang added four more bangers to their stacked catalogue including the long awaited, delay-cious (sorry) Ukandu Ikandu. It’s unique, full frontal sound design makes it one of my favourite tracks this year. But the accompanying three productions aren’t to be sniffed at either, particularly the funky ‘Sound The Alarm‘ that concludes the record.
Clearlight – The Understandable EP (FAV014)
Following a seriously underrated EP on Code 9 Audio, Belgium’s sound wizard Clearlight has quickly become one of my personal favourites over recent months. Fresh from a self released experimental ambient album ‘Interconnected‘ a couple of months ago, Clearlight headed back to the realms of bass driven 140 with a debut on the prolific Foundation Audio, a label that cannot stop with the supreme quality in recent times. ‘The Understandable‘ EP offers three more of his dimension transcending take on dubstep. An intensely colourful acid trip through Clearlight‘s mystical, forward-thinking soundscapes. Exactly the sort of exploratory stuff I’d like to hear more of, not only from the Belgian but across the genre in general.
BEATSFORBEACHES – Eazy Baba EP (BASSIN06)
A newly welcomed friend the blog following his contribution to the Honey & Bass Sessions series and yet another talented Belgian producer, BEATSFORBEACHES featured on his closely affiliated label Bassin Records with ‘Eazy Baba‘ EP. Following support and endorsements from the likes of Distance & Darkside, it’s clear this latest work deservedly puts BEATSFORBEACHES on the right path for future signings. Whilst the distinctive leading track ‘Eazy Baba‘ has rightly been getting a regular spin, the accompanying ‘Murderah‘ and ‘Blessed Love’ are certainly not to be looked over either, particularly on ‘Blessed Love‘ with it’s dark intensive bass-line that contributes to BEATSFORBEACHES‘s best work to date.
Breez – Thinking His Majesty EP (CLNR024)
Breez, yet another talented producer on the rise, landed a stunning debut on Cue Line Records. ‘Thinking His Majesty’ EP leads with title track where the Italian indulges in heavyweight dubwise compositions, directed towards the steppers on the dance floor and destroying the sound system in the mean time. The subs are bruising and the generous serving of tape delay generates space, filled by vibrant chord stabs. Dubwise master Bukkha steps in for an intensified remix including harder, rougher sub-bass pressure and a focus on more dynamic chords and melody. Between the two tracks, label boss man Gaze Ill joins Breez on ‘Irie‘. A deeper, darker take on the Italian’s dubwise inclinations.
Kodama – FKOFd041
Kodama concluded his breakthrough year with four colourful, energetic tracks on FatKidOnFire. Beginning with the vibrant soundscapes of ‘Rootmars‘, packed with a variety of chimeful melodies, bright synths and dynamic percussion, the Barcelona based producer journey’s through more laid back, melancholic territories on ‘Amour‘ and the deeper ‘Spark’. Although Kodama keeps things laid back on the concluding track ‘Zzyzx’, he returns to his rich, vibrant sounds with creative uplifting melodies and a smooth, glowing bass line.
Here’s some more of what I’ve been feeling this month…
Argo – Days End EP (VTR003)
French beat making mastermind Argo contributed to the rise of LX One‘s fledgling label Vantage Records with ‘Days End‘ EP. The digi only release features four tracks of Argo‘s signature sample based sounds; a silky smooth blend of dubstep, hip-hop and trap with a range of bright, animated segments and spots of breezy lo-fi. A record made to lay back with and spark one up.
Blumey – Whale Talk EP (NS002)
Blumey brought some of his strongest material to the growing UK label Natural Selection in the form of ‘Whale Talk‘ EP. Up until now I thought Blumey was criminally underrated, but this one has enjoyed a solid reception and rightly so. Following two hard original cuts ‘Whale Talk‘ and ‘Conversation‘, the EP’s title track enjoys the remix treatment not once but twice by King Monday and Noble, each demonstrating their unique take on Blumey‘s unmissable original production.
Sabab – Guidance EP (ARTKL045)
Emerging from the shadowy corners of Dublin, Ireland, Sabab made his mark with a debut on Artikal Music. Sabab‘s deep dark sounds progress across the four tracks, from the dark minimal opener ‘Guidance‘ to the deeper, roots and culture inspired ‘Youthman Dub‘. The record moves into harsher, more volatile areas with ‘Harmonic Dissonance‘ and ‘Dutty Babylon‘ to finish on a powerful note. Dutty indeed.
HØST – Beats & King Sheets Volume II
HØST is definitely one of my stand out discoveries of 2019. Relentless in his work ethic, the UK producer put out yet another mixtape this month. This time, a full length project spanning across twenty (yes, 20) tracks with enough range of sound and genre to make your head explode. From unique, experimental takes on dubstep to grime to half-step, the quality, creativity and hard work put in is evident. My picks? Be sure to check out ‘Trident’, ‘Squashed‘ and ‘1995‘.
Here’s some free downloads I’ve been feeling this month…
Khiva – Alchemy Vol. 1
Roklem & Sebalo – Ashore (INSTiFREE021)
Mesck – Digital Dust 001
As always, don’t forget to check out the records that made it onto the Weekly Buzz feature throughout this month.
After beginning November with a run down of my current favourite unreleased cuts, Sepia landed on Infernal Sounds for yet another future classic with three long time, popular dubs including ‘Flutez‘. Check out IFS017 here.
The following week, I had a look at DUPLOC‘s second chapter of their ‘DUPLOC Selects‘ compilation series featuring ten big tunes from eleven bad boy producers from across the globe. Find out more here.
We also had the pleasure of premiering SBK’s contribution for Locus Sound’s compilation LP and Repulsion’s collaborative track with Wolf Camo, taken from his forthcoming EP on Silent Motion Records.
Big shouts to all artists and labels that featured on this the final edition of The Hive for 2019 and especially to you for taking the time to check out my recommendations! The Hive will return in January!