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.


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