Monday, 16 June 2014

Review: Impey - Bangclap / 4titude [S7S002]

It may be too early to call, but with Boofy and Lemzly Dale in no rush to balance out the quality with quantity, Sector 7 Sounds could soon have themselves established as a bag-on-sight imprint. It's been a little wait since the label's acerbic debut, but "worth it" doesn't quite do 002 justice. Those who've had their ear to the grimey ground should already be well aware of lead track 'Bangclap', which boasts a string line that, in other, lazier hands, might have ended life wasted on a Lex-Luger-by-numbers trap beat. Impey's variations are subtle, allowing the emotive topline to retain its catchiness without slipping into the boredom of an overworked loop. This delicate sense of balance transfers also to the careful plumbing of grime's heyday - when the aggression of tunes such 'POW!' was valued as equally as the emotive likes of Ruff Sqwad's 'Together' - in, for instance, the tune's pitch-bent vocal snips. The balance of course noted in the fact that, listening to the record, you don't find yourself reaching halfway through for a tune made nearly ten years ago: 'Bangclap' avoids any cynical nostalgia because it's not a sonic palette that it borrows from so much as an emotive one, invoking something of the energy and feeling that made and, in certain examples such as this release, continues to make grime such an enthralling sound.

To say that the B-side is more of the same would usually make for a nicely back-handed compliment, however when the A- is this good, and the producer this young, it can serve as nothing less than a congratulatory handshake. More brooding than 'Bangclap', and making more of the space between scattered claps and broken drum rolls, '4titude' peddles a similarly astute sense of control and balance and, in the aforementioned use of space, feels more inviting to an MC. Yet with something of a drought - unless you're in Manchester, that is - of really good new MCs in grime, it seems '4titude' will be allowed to revel celebrated as an instrumental cut in its own for a good while longer at least.

Impey - Bangclap

Impey - 4titude

Impey - Bangclap / 4titude [S7S002] is out now on Sector 7 Sounds, and available directly from the BigCartel store.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Competition: Win a Test Press of Piezo's Discipline EP, forthcoming on Subaltern Records

It seems like a while since our last competition, so it's good to be returning in support of such a strong release from one of the hardest working new labels around. Due on vinyl on the 26th of May, and with Juno hosting the digital version exclusively on the from the 2nd of June, Subaltern's fifth release is perhaps their strongest yet, which is no mean feat considering a healthy roster of previous contributors which includes D-Operation Drop, Geode and LAS among others. Piezo's three track EP for the label - which includes a remix from Hedmuk mainstay Thelem that threatens to upstage the main event - sees the Italian producer/engineer flexing his acute attention to detail and drawing intricate grooves from the 140 template. It's refreshing to see a producer demanding more, and achieving so much as a result.

We've linked up with Piezo and the Subaltern crew to offer up the chance to nab a Test Press of the release ahead of its being available in shops. To enter, simply head over to the Hedmuk Facebook Page and follow the usual Like & Share instructions. And if you're still anxious to get your hands on an early copy of the 12", then you can grab a promo copy from the Subaltern online store.

The competition will end on Sunday the 18th of May, on which date a winner will be selected at random by an independent third party and announced via Facebook and Twitter.


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Review: LX One - Reflect / Distorted Politics [WHEELYDEALY043]

By no means the most prolific of producers, LX One maintains an unbridled consistency with his quality over quantity approach. This, of course, is also an approach that we at Hedmuk have long subscribed to, and as such are always pleasantly surprised by announcements of forthcoming releases from the multi-talented Londoner.

With solid DJ support from the usual raft of scene leaders, including Distance, Youngsta, J:Kenzo, Icicle and label boss N-Type, 'Reflect' is a bonafide A-side: delivering an enormous groove with the effortless sense of style that has been a defining characteristic of LX One's production since his earliest releases. As with his previous dancefloor mainstays, this is an example of how to do a lot with very little. 'Distorted Politics', meanwhile, represents something of a departure for the producer MC as he swaps the heavily swung rhythm of canonical beats such as 'You' for a straightened, kick-driven pulse of a beat. It's new ground for LX One's solo material, but is trodden as carefully and precisely as should be expected from this producer, whose eye for detail - and making every detail count - continues to prove itself a rare asset.

LX One - Reflect / Distorted Politics is now available to purchase exclusively from the Wheel & Deal Surus store on 12" and digital formats, until general release from other outlets on May the 12th.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Shop: Hedmuk X The Tribes #2 - Tee #007 available for pre-order

The second Hedmuk X The Tribes tee to hit our virtual shelves, this is one we're excited about. Pre-orders will be open until Friday the 2nd of May, on which date all orders will be sent for printing and all who have ordered will be kept up to date, via email, of the printing and distribution process.

After the first Hedmuk X The Tribes collab t-shirt sold out in under two days, we'd strongly advise getting a pre-order in if you want to avoid disappointment: once they are gone, they are gone.

As usual, the Hedmuk BigCartel store is where to be:

Postage and packaging to addresses within the UK is free, with an additional £2.00 added for each extra garment.

Postage and packaging to addresses outside of the UK is priced at £6.00 for a single item, with an additional £2.00 added for each extra garment.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Free Download: Promise One - M.I.

Following February's exclusive mix feature, and in the run up to the release of the See We Roll EP, we're linking up with Promise One and OpenEarz once more to deliver this skippy, grime-tinged gem for free download. Nicely bringing things full circle, the acapella used was also previously given out as a free download on these very pages and here, in combination with Promise One's characteristically intricate drum patterns, lends the track a swinging, off-kilter groove.

'M.I.' is an ideal taster of the way in which Promise One's beats achieve that difficult balance between intricacy and allowing room for a vocalist to flow, as exemplified by the title track of the forthcoming OpenEarz 12", which sees Mouse Outfit, Voodoo Black and Levelz MC, Sparkz, twisting his way effortlessly through the beat. Cop the free download, and then follow the links below to preview and pre-order the full release.

Download: Promise One - M.I. [320kbps mp3]
                      Promise One - M.I. [WAV]

The See We Roll EP will be released on the 14th of April 2014 on 12" vinyl and in digital formats a week later on the 21st. Vinyl copies are available to pre-order from Boomkat, Red Eye, Juno, and BM Soho now.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Review: Biome - Layers EP

Following a relatively quiet 2013, Biome returns and takes the release process into his own hands with the Layers EP. Encapsulated in the EP's title is a sense of moving up and down through the tempo spectrum: this is Biome's first release to fully engage with his cross-tempo experiments. Though best known for his work around the 140 notch, pitching things down is nothing new to the Manchester producer, having released previously on fellow Mancunian Indigo's Mindset label. In fact a useful touchpoint here would be Indigo's own Akkord project, whose album Biome also contributed, as we see a similarly raw, almost industrially approach to the blend of style and influence on show. In many ways, what we're seeing here is Biome showing off the full potential of a sound that has been undeniably his own, despite the many imitators, for the last half decade.

'Happiness' eases proceedings in with airy pads, delayed vocals and shuffling hats, whilst 'Broken' and 'Rise Up' provide more familiar territory for the majority of Biome's fanbase, and are a deft reminder of why he continues to hold such stead within the scene. 'Layers' and 'Philly Blunt' meanwhile, provide the EP's standout moments; the former is tightly-coiled, pounding UK funky rhythms married with characteristic dashes of reese, and the latter a rolling, pummelling junglist history lesson. Winding down, 'Foreigner' and 'Hajime' are both beautifully spacious, and further demonstrate Biome's remarkable versatility - it's rare to see a producer able to imbue such a varied spectrum of musical tone and movement with their own unique sound and presence.

Preview and purchase the Layers EP from the Bandcamp embed below.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Top Ten: DjRum picks out ten of the best from Bristol

DjRum completes a sturdy lineup for Tempo Clash which features an extended set from Hedmuk favourites Akkord, as well as appearances from Visionist, the inimitable Tempo Clash residents - Blue Daisy and Kidkanevil - and the broken barrier stylings of  Filter Dread, with Luke Benjamin lurking around the mic stand. The event will take place at London's Autumn Street Studios, and advance tickets are available from

In the run-up to the night we got in touch with DjRum to take us through some of his favourite records to have emerged from his hometown of Bristol, and the results are as varied and interesting as could be expected from a producer known for his wide-ranging sample library and cross-genre approach to making music.

Hedmuk: Bristol is a place with a rich musical history, and there's a broad sphere of influence that's extended out from the city too. It's probably no simple task to pick a list of just ten, but are there Bristolian records that you would say have had a particularly strong personal influence on your own music?

DjRum: There are so many great records that have come out of Bristol: props to Phaeleh, Addison Groove, Massive Attack, Kahn, Mensah, Smith & Mighty, Tricky, Breakbeat Era... the list goes on. A few of my tracks could have been on this list too. I actually did the mixdowns for a few tunes off Seven Lies at Phaeleh's studio in Bristol, and I did the mixdown for my remix of Phaeleh's 'The Cold In You' down there too. So although all those tracks were made in London, in a way they did come out of Bristol! But here are the top 10 records to come out of Bristol that I would say have influenced me the most...

1. Portishead - Dummy

One of the finest albums ever made, let alone Bristol's finest. Every track has been my favourite track on the record at some time or other. I want to pick out one second from 'It Could Be Sweet' as a highlight, though: the crucial moment in this track for me is at 3:25, when you hear the smacking of lips, an intake of breath and a sigh. This little moment has been a real influence on my production. I had listened to the record over so many times before someone pointed this bit out to me. Now I wait for it every time I hear the track. It's a very deliberately chosen moment of accident: the producer, Geoff Barrows, has increased the volume of the sound to the same as the rest of the vocals, making it feel closer, more personal. There's something very intimate about a quiet breath at such high volume. With loud beats and bass sounding out, you could only hear someone's breathing like this if you were cheek to cheek. It brings you right up close to the music. There are lots of moments that make this album special: the first snare of 'Biscuit', the breakdown of 'Strangers', the drum roll in Mysterons; but the thing that has really stayed with me is that one moment in 'It Could Be Sweet'.

2. Pinch - Qawwalli

When I first heard this tune on Mary Anne Hobbs' Dubstep Warz show in 2006 it completely blew me away. It was unlike anything that was around at the time. After two hours of forward-thinking bass music, this totally stole the show.

3. DJ Krust - Burnin'

This track is a lesson in progression. The movement from one idea to the next is so simple, but totally draws you in. The pads at the beginning and middle are the perfect balance of mysterious and hopeful. Jungle music at it's finest - not to mention that it has 'Jazz Note' on the flip!

4. Monkey Steak - Grim Dubs: Vol. 1

I can't believe this is not up on Youtube, it's a seminal release. 'Crowsteppah' is phenomenal and it was a real game changer for me in 2005. It's an incredible deep mix of jungle and grime. One half of Monkey Steak, Atki 2, is from Bristol and is so underrated. He's one of these artists (like Boxcutter, Various Production, and Burial) who was making post-dubstep in '05, back when most people hadn't even got to grips with dubstep yet. Check Grim Dubs: Vol. 5 too.

5. Krust - One Moment (from Coded Language)

So many albums have token cinematic interludes in the middle, but this is much much more than that. Again there is a great progression: from the initial hopeful theme, into a darker more mysterious section (that sounds to me like it borrows quite heavily from Charles Ives' 'The Fourth Of July'), and then back again to the opening theme.

6. Björk - Venus As A Boy (from Debut)

Hey Björk's from Iceland, not Bristol! OK yeah, but this track (and most of Björk's debut album) was produced by Bristol boy Nellee Hooper. I love the way he's put this track together: the offbeat kick-drum is the work of a mad genius. There's loads of other great Nellee Hooper productions I could have chosen, Massive Attack and Soul 2 Soul come to mind, but I'll settle with this one today.

7. Roni Size - Hot Stuff (from the New Forms bonus disc)

Without doubt my favourite thing he's produced: it's really stood the test of time for me. The breakdown is so beautiful, I love the idea of having such a long ambient section with sine-wave bass stabs throughout it. This was the inspiration for the ambient section in my tune 'Mountains Pt. 3'

8. Peverelist - Salt Water

It's not often I get so excited about a new tune as I was when I first heard this one. The rhythm is incredible, I hear new complexities in it every time. This is Pev at his finest.

9. Appleblim & Peverelist - Soundboy's Ashes Get Hacked Up And Spat Out In Disgust EP

I'll never forget the reaction this got when I played this at Outlook Festival last year. After a sequence of hip-hop tunes, I brought the ambient intro of 'Over Here' in over the breakdown of a J-Live tune. The mood flipped from hyped up to deep down so nicely, everyone got straight into it. When the sub hits it's so understated, yet overwhelming. Amazing!

10. Limewax - Cracking Core (Technical Itch Remix)

I'm a huge Tech Itch fan; he's a very skilled producer, and he creates great cinematic atmospheres. There are loads of standout tracks from him: 'Pressure Drop', 'Implant', and the remix him and Dylan did of Photek's 'Baltimore' are all great. But this remix takes it for me: so powerful, so driving... infectious!

Catch DjRum playing alongside Akkord, Visionist, Blue Daisy, Kidkanevil, Filter Dread and Luke Benjamin on Friday the 4th April for Tempo Clash at Autumn Street Studios, London.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Review: Wen - Signals [LDN044]

There's a clutch of tunes here that will be familiar to many listeners already - the likes of 'Galactic', 'Persian' and, more recently, 'Play Your Corner' having been doing the rounds on radio shows and mixtapes -  but for the most part, the album comprises of fresh material. This dialogue between new and old is, as much as the snipped vocal clips, the sort of constant which elevates the record's status from being merely a collection of songs, to a cohesive album; and that this is something so rarely achieved within electronic music needn't be played down.

In fact, one of the undoubted highlights of the LP has had its choppy vocals pressed to vinyl once already, but returns here reworked and churning a sweet nostalgia for the - pun no doubt intended - swinging days of dark garage experimentalism. Simultaneously paying homage to Keysound's own catalogue numbers, the 'LDN Mix' of 'Swingin'' is Wen imagining what El-B and Horsepower Productions might have done with the same source material; the result is as you'd expect, but that he manages to carry it off so convincingly is a testament to his production abilities.

And whilst some might argue that such nostalgia is often little more than repackaging for an unknowing audience, the dismantling of 'You Know' from an almost by-numbers steel drum-riff-plus-R&B-vocal-sample slice of anthem garage to an eery, piercing soundscape presents the LP's dialogue on a micro scale. That it tails off from here into the Random Trio-indebted drum shuffles of 'Persian' only makes the historical trawl more complete.

As well as the increasingly-imitated marriage of swollen bass hits and sharp synths that has come to typify Wen's sound, a common sonic theme throughout 'Signals' is his use of rewind and fast-forward effects - that is, shaping and tailing grooves using tape-stops and forward seeks. Though this sense of searching through tracks and albums may be all but lost on today's younger generation of listeners, for others (Wen himself no doubt included) who have grown up through the technological developments which have seen tape cassettes replaced on shelves by CDs, and then the shelves themselves replaced by the scroll wheel and the rise of online retail, these little become something of a leitmotif for the album's past-present-future dialogue. That cassettes, though admittedly not in any wide way, have been re-adopted more and more by small independent labels over the last few years fits nicely with this idea of back-and-forth.

The album concludes with a first, in the form of Wen's first officially vocalled tune to reach public ears. It's fractious, unsettled and raucous in all of the best ways, and Riko asserts himself as one of the most underrated MCs that the grime scene has produced. It's all in the combination here, though: simply put, Riko is one of the few MCs who can truly capture the feel of a radio set when laying down vocals on a tune and he's aided aptly by Wen in this, whose sonic aesthetic is heavily indebted to the crackle of the pirate radio dial.

Much of this, however, is what we could have expected from a Wen album. But that's fine: a debut album is an artist's opportunity to position themselves within the wider context of their influences and the scene surrounding them, and Wen does so here with a measured confidence.

There's a gentle irony to the cover's 'One way' signal: this is an album that is both knowingly and refreshingly dialogic in sound and aesthetic, and, looking to the future, one which will no doubt be cropping up regularly when it comes to end-of-year list season. The future is Wen. (You thought we'd make it through a tense-littered review without punning on "when"?)


01. Intro (Family)
02. Galactic
03. Lunar (feat. Blackdown)
04. You Know
05. Persian
06. Swingin' (LDN mix)
07. Vampin'
08. Time (feat. Parris)
09. In
10. Signal
11. Nightcrawler (Devils Mix)
12. Play Your Corner (feat. Riko)

Wen - Signals [LDN044] will be released via Keysound Recordings on vinyl and digital formats on March 17th, and is available to pre-order from Boomkat now.

To listen to the album ahead of release date, click over to Resident Advisor for a full stream.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Competition: Win guestlist to Project 13 Secret Sessions #2, a copy of Acre's forthcoming Cold Recordings release, and a Hedmuk X Generic Greeting #2 t-shirt

A Manchester clubnight that's gone from strength to scene-pushing strength since its inception, Project 13 are bringing back their Secret Sessions for a second outing. The first saw an unannounced lineup of Hedmuk favourites Commodo, Walton and Alex Coulton play in a disused warehouse; this time around the lineup is being kept similarly under wraps, though the P13 team have let on that the night will feature four headliners representing two labels between them. Though we can't say exactly who is set to appear on the night, we can say that the unintentional theme of "Hedmuk favourites" is very much on show again this time around - and with a mixture of scene-founding, established talent, and fresh faced up-and-comers represented on the lineup, it's set to be a night of forward-thinking music, and with a proper party atmosphere to match: the disused warehouse setting means no bar, which means bring your own booze, which means a can of Red Stripe for a pound, not four.

This is strictly a ticket only event, and places are limited, so if you want to guarantee entry then head over to Skiddle to book now, then head below to enter the competition.

As with the last Secret Sessions, we've been given a couple spots on the guestlist to give away, and we're throwing in a copy of Acre's forthcoming release on Pinch's Cold Recordings and one of the latest Hedmuk X Generic Greeting T-shirts in too; to be in with a chance of winning, simply email your answer to the following question to

What is the name of the label that previous Secret Sessions guest Commodo last released on?

The competition will close on the 20th of March, on which date a winner will be picked at random by an independent third party and announced via Facebook and Twitter, as well as being notified by email.


Monday, 10 March 2014

Macabre Unit - 1Xtra Guest Mix - 17/11/2003

Though relatively recently rebirthed as a dedicated dubstep label, Macabre Unit initially cut their teeth in garage's more MC-oriented grime offshoot. Closely associated with the earliest incarnation of Plastician's Terrorrhythm imprint, the Unit were arguably the most prominent crews operating outside of London in the early-to-mid noughties. Here, unearthed from founding member Demon's harddrive, is an otherwise lost recording of Macabre Unit's first appearance on Radio 1Xtra - the station itself being only a year or so old at the time. Guesting on veteran garage DJ Richie Vibe Vee's show, with MCs 9er, Logical, Gamma and Nuse sharing the mic and Demon running plenty of Unit dubplates on the decks, the energy levels are very high.

Demon dedicates this mix to Blaze and Dynamikk.

Download: Macabre Unit - 1Xtra Guest Mix - 17/11/2003


Macabre Unit - Shootin Starz
Macabre Unit - Bubble
Macabre Unit - Tulipz
Plasticman - Death By Stereo
Macabre Unit - Transformer
DJ Wonder - What
Macabre Unit - Elastikz
Macabre Unit - My Show
Macabre Unit - Glok
Macabre Unit - Toothgrinder
Digital Mystikz - Da Wrath
Macabre Unit - 1st Blood
Macabre Unit - Unit Jam
Macabre Unit - Montana
Plasticman - Shallow Grave
Macabre Unit - Akuma
Macabre Unit - Take Time VIP
Plasticman - Spring Roller
Macabre Unit - Skittlez
Macabre Unit - Chopstix
Macabre Unit - Shape Shifta
Macabre Unit - Slo Jak


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Review: Caski - emf:004 [EMF004]

Caski returns, after something of a quiet retreat and almost a year since first showcasing new tempo experimentations , with four tracks for Electro Magnetic Fields, the sister label to Indigo's Mindset records.

The lead track, 'Rare Groove', has the hallmarks of Pangaea's formative productions, with as much debt paid to dubstep's LFO envelopes as there is to an incessant, irrepressible techno groove. 'Dancehall' and 'Elephant Tribe', meanwhile, both play with rhythms that are closer to UK funky or, particularly in the case of the latter, bashment. But, as is the case across the EP, Caski's dubstep sensibilities see him pushing out at these genre boundaries. 'Dancehall' is a particular standout here, employing little more than drums, sub-bass, an infectious vocal sample and subtle atmospheric variations to extraordinary effect. In keeping with not only Caski's refreshed direction but also both Mindset and EMF's tradition of envelope-pushing, Troy Gunner's remix of 'Elephant Tribe' is a masterclass in stripped-back.

With a few years spent honing his production abilities carving huge grooves from the 140bpm template, this new direction signals a new confidence in creative direction for Caski, and its one which we are as equally excited about as he must be himself.

Caski - emf:004 will be released in digital formats on the 10th of March 2014, and is available to pre-order from the Electro Magnetic Fields Bandcamp store now.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Review: LAS & Gantz - Firepusher EP [SYSTM004]

Words: Silas Howison-Waughray

"System". If you’re still a passionate fan of dubstep, then that name shout resonate loud and clear. It’s a name more closely associated with an event curated by scene figurehead V.I.V.E.K; a night which stands at the pinnacle of preserving dubstep’s longevity. Alongside a string of infamous events has, more recently, been an impressive series of 180gram vinyl releases. The latest editions to the System Sound team are the equally infamous LAS & Gantz, both of whom now boast a myriad of releases across major imprints still pushing the dubstep sound.

This is a label which clearly takes its ethos very seriously: this is real soundsystem music. The A-side, ‘Fire Pusher’, has LAS & Gantz written all over it, with sporadic rim shots, looped vocals and an unassumingly hypnotic top line. The other two tracks on the EP feel (unsurprisingly) much more like solo productions. Gantz' offering, 'Second Nature', is heavily indebted to his roots, with ethnic percussion and instrumentation throughout. The focal point of LAS' ‘Malfunktions’ is the kick drum, which is finely tuned and the real driving force behind the track's rhythm. The off-kilter bleeps, blips and digitised idiosyncrasies which accompany all relate directly back to the title, itself representing that very digital sort of malfunction: the typo. Drawing for either of these in a club would be a challenge for any DJ, but it’s that originality and rhythmic versatility that sets these two apart, and their consistency in shying away from the norm that steadies and continues their appeal.

SYSTM004 sits perfectly alongside its predecessors, and complements the System Sound ideology.

LAS & Gantz - Firepusher EP [SYSTM004] will be released on 12" vinyl and in digital formats on the 10th of March 2014, and is available to pre-order from the System Surus store now.

Silas has written for Gottwood, Urban Nerds, Mavrik, and MisDigest, is one half (guess which) Silas & Snare Surgeon, and a resident DJ for the Leeds-based Brotherhood Soundsystem.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Featuring: Blackwax

Blackwax, though by no means the most prolific, have built on a steady stream of - at times, inexplicably slept-on - releases, carving their own groove from the UK's rich history of underground dance music: an upfront mesh of grime, garage, breaks and drum machine brutalism. Their re-imagining, last year, of the seemingly ubiquitous 'Pulse X' made our end of year favourites list, and they followed that one up with a self-released brace of free downloads - found below, bookending the mix - which exhibited a new clarity in the unique sound that the duo have been pushing at for years.

Included in - and supporting through their selections on the Circadian Rhythms NTS show (presented alongside Last Japan) - the clutch of producers welding and blending all that's great about UK electronic music who've appeared as regulars on these pages over the last few years, it seemed about time that the London-Edinburgh pairing of Luke Dubuis and Ross Andy joined the exclusive series. And whilst there's no interview to accompany, we're confident that the music here has more than enough talk of its own to offer...

Download: Blackwax - Hedmuk Exclusive Mix


Blackwax - Grimace
Visionist - Pain
Lighter - Skanker
Dizzee Rascal - Strings Hoe (Wen Refix)
Cliques - Aut
Pearson Sound - Starburst
Jam City - Bells
Akito - Aqua Tryst
Lol Gurlz - Red Pill Blue Pill
JT - Twin Warriors (Rabit Remix)
Spokes - Pigs Riddim
Bone Squad - Skal & Bones
Annoy - Fort
Twwth - Naomi XX
Mssngo - D&C
Mike Midnight - Camera Shy
Beneath - Bells
Nativ - Broken System
Murlo - Cold Stroke
Facta - FWD
Compa - Bullets
Logos - Seawolf
Moleskin - Slippin'
Blackwax - Phobia


Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review: A/T/O/S - A/T/O/S [MEDiLP009]

We're welcoming another new scribe to these pages today, as well as (probably quite belatedly) a scoring system to accompany all the reviews you'll find on the site in future. As is to be expected, our standards are high and any release scoring within spitting distance of a five-out-of-five is one you'll kick yourself for missing out on.

Words: Alex Terry

A/T/O/S’ (A Taste of Struggle) first appearance came early on in 2013 by way of a self-titled single on the ever-adored Deep Medi Musik imprint. A low-slung, melancholic release pinching together aspects of trip- hop, R&B and dubstep, remixes from Skream and Commodo, and a video directed by Simon Mannaerts ear-marked the project of Amos & Truenoys as one to wait patiently and excitedly for. One year on, after confused anticipation, a couple of live performances and little to no information about the outfit surfacing online, A/T/O/S have announced their debut full length release.

Noticeably split between two different tempos - circling around the 140 and 100bpm marks - the album, on the one hand, seemingly pays homage to much of the Deep Medi back catalogue while markedly prying into regions previously unexplored by the dubstep label. Regardless of whether this was an intentional split, A/T/O/S present a debut album that oozes an undeniable 90's Bristolian demeanour while continually carving their own brand of dusky, leftfield R&B inflected with broken hip-hop: drunk drum patterns stumble spaciously over Moogs and Rhodes, lead by charmingly hesitant vocals.

Stand out tracks include 'Projects' bearing glistening synths that sound suspiciously sampled from 'Anti War Dub' - perhaps another appreciative nod towards influence - and 'Cosmos': a sunken, downtempo number that bears the qualities of the kind of industrial pop characterised recently by artists such as Grimes, and that benefits indefinitely from feeling submerged in cold bath water, washing off the saccharin edge and being stripped back into unnervingly few elements.

It is clear why the label seem to have been keen to lock the duo away while an album fell into place; quite simply, 'A/T/O/S' is one of the best debuts from any UK underground bass music act in a good number of years. Quite a statement, though one that becomes self-evident and difficult to dispute. Rich in emotion, confidently diverse production which retains strong continuity from track to track and an even stronger sense of A/T/O/S’ ownership over a sonic aesthetic and a bleak, sultry song writing ability.

A/T/O/S are undoubtedly special in that they have produced a stunning and unique debut album, and while they may not have spent the run up to its release gaining any noticeable momentum [Ed. - read: "shallow hype"], they have maintained an enthusiastic audience of label followers who are, let's face it, not outwardly interested in what they have to offer. To their credit, they have strung along the adjectives “dark” and “weighty” to encapsulate everything organic and timeless about the typical dancefloor-orientated MEDi release, while retaining them in what is absolutely a real listeners' album.

As for Deep Medi, who have a tendency to throw the occasional curveball - acts like Old Apparatus and Mark Pritchard being among the most notable - this is really the first vocal-lead act on the roster and it is difficult to imagine them not proving hugely successful in ways that bands such as Submotion Orchestra have proven of late. With that in mind, the prospect of further similar homegrown projects from the label would certainly be something to get excited about for 2014 and beyond.

A/T/O/S - A/T/O/S [MEDiLP009] will be released on the 3rd of March 2014 on 3x10" vinyl and in digital formats, and is available to pre-order from the Deep Medi Surus store now.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Shop: Hedmuk X Generic Greeting #2 - Tee #006

Now on general sale, the second collaboration with the Manchester-based Generic Greeting collective, whose noble head lines up against Hedmuk's own on this latest tee design.

This is also the first design to be available in two colourways, with just a handful of the black on marl grey being printed to accompany the already-limited white on black.

Cop one here:

Postage and packaging to addresses within the UK is free, with an additional £2.00 added for each extra garment.

Postage and packaging to addresses outside of the UK is priced at £6.00 for a single item, with an additional £2.00 added for each extra garment.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Featuring: Promise One

Though affiliated variously with the Deep Heads and Chord Marauders crews -
Geode, of the latter, in particular, having collaborated on releases for Innamind and now OpenEarz - Promise One still retains a strong sense of independence; moving, refreshingly, at his own pace and away from empty hype and shallow scene building. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it gives his music a sense independence and originality too.

There's a measured approach to his production, marrying the raw edge of a hip hop indebted, sample-based approach with the skintight, minimal rhythmic aesthetic of the proto-dubstep sound peddled by the likes of El-B and Zed Bias. The resultant space is where the groove or, as is becoming a more regular occurrence, vocalist lurks. With the news that Syte is relaunching his OpenEarz imprint with three of Promise One's finest, we caught up with the man behind the monitors for some words and a new mix to add to the series.

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

Promise One: Hey I'm Nick, I grew up around North Yorkshire and currently live in London. My sound tends to come from the garage roots of dubstep, I guess: rolling tunes around 140. Prefer to let the music speak really, but that's probably a cliché now...

H: When did you first get into making beats? Have you always been involved in writing music, or has Promise One been your first foray?

PO: I started out on Reason, having been introduced to it by a friend; that was about 10 years ago. I work on [Ableton] Live now and used to make instrumental hip hop/breaks stuff under the name Defiant Kinetics - always been a fan of sampling from that respect. I play the drums, started that a little before I got into making beats and have always played in 3 piece bands for some reason, probably just because it's less complicated!

H: There's a skip and swing to your drums that feels reminiscent of garage's period of development into dubstep's early sound - is this somewhere you find yourself taking influence from, or are there other places you feel you draw more from rhythmically? 

PO: I think that era was always really interesting to me, so I'm sure its an influence. I like offbeats and swing, rim shots and all of that El-B and Horsepower goodness. Drumming certainly helps, sometimes I play bits in with an MPD and sometimes I just use a mouse, it depends on the tune.

H: You've got a few releases under your belt already, but your next will be your first on vinyl. When did you first get involved with Syte, and how did the idea of resurrecting the OpenEarz imprint come about? How important is it to you to be putting out music on a physical format?

PO: Jim (Syte) had been planning a re-launch for some time and brought up some ideas to get me involved with a release around the same time I was finishing up the collab with Sparkz. I played him the final version and then we agreed with George (Geode) that 'Chroma' would sit well on the flip side and that was it! I'm really happy about putting out music on vinyl, it's been a goal of mine for a while. Records will never go away, I don't ever see a replacement format coming, so it's the best we have. The HD DVD was the successor to CD but the MP3 took the lead: we've gone backwards, if anything. I've cut most of my earlier tunes to dubplate as I love the process, but it is expensive. I collect and buy vinyl because it's important to me to have physical records. There is an element of quality control which isn't really a consideration in digital, but I don't play vinyl out due to dub cutting costs and a lack of [vinyl] support from most clubs.

H: With the lead track from the forthcoming OpenEarz release and your recent MIK bootleg, you're showing a real knack for working with vocals. Is this something you've always experimented with, or discovered more recently? Can we expect to see more work with vocalists from you in the future?

PO: Coming from a hip hop background I've always been into vocals, but equally I appreciate the instrumental side of the genre. The first tune I ever made with a vocalist was called 'Technicolour', with a guy called Kid Kareem, under Defiant Kinetics. I never really understood grime for a while but some of it is quite interesting to me, especially rhythmically. I wanted to make a track with a grime vocal but which didn't sound like a grime tune, and one that was a bit playful; that's how the MIK tune came about. I haven't got any specific plans to do more vocal stuff at the moment but no doubt something will come along soon.

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

PO: I wanted to play tracks from producers I'm feeling, and also to represent OpenEarz. I'd say it starts off at a comfortable pace and builds up to darker more intense ending - I think there is still a lot of good, interesting music being made around 140. It's great that producers are going in different directions but I'm not seeing any reason to change from around this area, it just naturally resonates with me.

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

I seem to be playing more DJ sets at the moment so that is taking up more of my time, which is fun. I suppose I consider myself more a producer than a DJ, though. I need to get back on the beats, it takes me a long time to come up with a finished idea; I'm not one of these people who writes three tracks a week: it's more like one tune every couple of months! The 'See We Roll EP' is forthcoming on OpenEarz on vinyl and digital formats (with 'Ghost Note' as a digi exclusive) and should be available mid-to-end of February.

Download: Promise One - Hedmuk Exclusive Mix


Indigo - Premonition [EARZ002]
Gunston - Danger Again [Dub]
Lefty - Wise Guy [Dub]
Lack - 432 [Dub]
Congi & Geode - Flow One [Forthcoming Chord Marauders]
Piezo - Antelope Swing [Dub]
Promise One & Geode - Chroma [Forthcoming EARZ004]
Ago - Backlash [Dub]
Baitface - Disrobe [Dub]
D-Operation Drop - Justice [Dub]
Promise One - Ghost Note [Forthcoming EARZ004]
Subreachers - Spitfire [Dub]
Promise One - See We Roll (feat. Sparkz) [Forthcoming EARZ004]
Elemental - Spring Dub [RUNTIMECD001]
Promise One - M.I. [Dub]
Clearlight - No Rules [Dub]
Argo, Karnage & MarkIV - Unforeseen [Dub]
Mikael - Blessed [Dub]
Nanobyte - Impartial [Dub]
Sub Basics - Untitles [Dub]
Facta - Poliwhirl [Dub]


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Review: Congi - Tidal Fragments LP

Words: Silas Howison-Waughray

In the last couple of years, the Chord Marauders have captured the attention of the underground dubstep scene with their melodic and soulful take on a sound that has been through countless reincarnations and reinventions. Congi’s debut LP ‘Tidal Fragments’ on the developing imprint is exemplary of the Marauders' ethos.

With a number of impressive releases and tracks already under their belts, Congi have acquired a substantial following in recent years and 'Tidal Fragments' eloquently highlights their exceptional capabilities at every level of production. The LP opens with ‘Clouds’, a mysterious, swung and sample-based quasi-soundscape that sets the tone for the rest of the album. From then on in the LP moves seamlessly between rolling percussive tracks like ‘LOTP’ to melancholic, stripped back head-nodders like ‘Attenuation’ - the latter providing one of the album's real highlights.

Aspects of the album are heavily reminiscent of illustrious days past but the forward-thinking vision of Congi stamps a unique picture across the LP and pushes their sound in a new and exciting direction. There are a number of collaborations with eminent CM teammates, Geode, B9 and Jafu. Geode’s contribution to ‘Flow One’ is obvious, with his signature dark sound scattered across an addictive drum beat, ominous melodic intervals and subs. The album sits roughly around 140bpm with two really interesting exceptions, ‘Spoken Word’ and ‘Transparent’, which draw attention to Congi’s as yet largely-unexhibited versatility.

To be honest, every track on this LP is worth a mention and it’s truly difficult to fault. With this release in tow the Chord Marauders will undoubtedly continue to develop and expand.

Congi - Tidal Fragments will be released on limited edition CD from the Chord Marauders website on Friday the 14th 2014, with the main digital release following on the 28th.

Silas has written for Gottwood, Urban Nerds, Mavrik, and MisDigest, is one half (guess which) Silas & Snare Surgeon, and a resident DJ for the Leeds-based Brotherhood Soundsystem.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Shop: Hedmuk X Generic Greeting #2 - Tee #006 - Pre-orders

Call it one for the heads, or a meeting of minds - here's the latest T-shirt design, and our second collaboration (or face off, even) with Manchester-based illustrator Will Berry, of the Generic Greeting Collective.

This collaboration will be available to pre-order at a discounted price for one week, ending on the 18th of February; printing of the received T-shirt orders will begin after that time. All pre-order customers will be kept up-to-date with the status of their order - for example, when the shirts are being printed, packaged, posted etcetera - via email. As ever, the print run will be strictly limited.

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-orders can be made from the Hedmuk BigCartel store here:


Monday, 3 February 2014

Premiere: L-Wiz - Girl From Codeine City (Official Video)

Another video premiere dropped today over on the Hedmuk YouTube channel, this one re-imagining some classic L-Wiz material from Dub Police's back catalogue. Many will have first encountered this tune on Caspa & Rusko's game-changing 'FabricLive.37' mix CD, but now a whole new generation of listeners can be introduced, again through a compilation, on Dub Police's 'Past Present Future', which is available now on CD, digital, and vinyl.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Shop: Hedmuk X Generic Greeting #2 Preview

Following on from the rapid sellout success of our last collaboration T-shirt, we're linking up for a second time with Manchester's Generic Greeting Collective. Call it one for the heads or a meeting of minds, the latest hand-drawn print sees the Hedmuk head pitched up alongside our collaborators' pipe-smoking gent and will appear, as ever, as a limited run of 100% cotton tees. Depending on demand, pre-orders may be made available for those not wanting to miss out on getting their arms in one. For more info, keep an eye on the usual spots, and on the Hedmuk BigCartel store.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Free Download: Ming Da Mercilus - Paimei

We first came across Ming Da Mercilus after hearing his collaborative efforts with fellow Isle Of Wight resident, and Hedmuk mainstay, Sepia. Whilst arguably yet to pin down a specific sound and call it his own, the young producer shows promise with his willingness to try on different styles, rotating tempos and rhythmic approaches with abandon. On 'Paimei' he's struck gold, digging into the proto-dubstep sound that emerged from garage's early-noughties fling with breakbeat. Reminiscent of the likes of Toasty, Horespower Productions and Search & Destroy, the tune revels in its drums, making way only for a rolling sub-bass and occasional - though equally percussive - kung fu samples.

Download: Ming Da Mercilus - Paimei [WAV]
                      Ming Da Mercilus - Paimei [320kbps mp3]


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Review: Gantz - Spry Sinister / Rising [MEDI078]

Despite a general mantra of valuing quality over quantity, the latter can sometimes fall out of sync with the number of words-worthy releases pouring out of the scene. This, then, is the first of an ongoing series of guest contributions from Silas Howison-Waughray, and what better way to cut your teeth here on Hedmuk than on a landmark release in the burgeoning career of one of our favourite artists? - W.

Words: Silas Howison-Waughray

With previous releases on Box Clever, Innamind and more, Gantz is a name already well-established in the scene and has been supported by a myriad of influential DJs. The Turkish producer's debut release for Mala's increasingly-pioneering imprint - the first 12" of the year for the label - is a unique combination of what fans have come to expect from both Medi and from Gantz himself. The A-side, ‘Spry Sinister’, opens with a scattered vocal sample mirrored tightly in a triplet percussion arrangement and pitched rim shots before the track moves effortlessly into a head-nodding, mood-swinging sub-bass pattern. Undoubtedly the off-kilter feel of the track will have bedroom DJs scratching their heads and Serato fans reinstalling their software, however producing something slightly off-centre is normal for Gantz, who tends to shy away from any conventional approach to production.

The flip side, ‘Rising’ with El Mahdy Jr, is reminiscent of Digital Mystikz’ 2004 release for Big Apple, ‘Pathwayz’, taking influence from past greats and then moving off in a completely different direction. Once again the drum pattern is original and slightly unusual, with a heavily syncopated rhythm dressed with exotic vocals and eerie instrumental sections. This side of the release really draws attention to Gantz’ ability to produce something out of the ordinary but within roughly the same parameters that we know and love.

This, simply put, is yet another fine example of Gantz’ unrivalled abilities and Deep Medi’s forward-thinking take on 140bpm music.

Gantz - 'Spry Sinister' / 'Rising' will be released on January the 13th 2014, and is available to pre-order from the Deep Medi Surus store now.

Silas has written for Gottwood, Urban Nerds, Mavrik, and MisDigest, is one half (guess which) of Silas & Snare Surgeon, and a resident DJ for the Leeds-based Brotherhood Soundsystem.

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