For the latest installment in its catalogue, Iron Shirt Recordings has turned to fellow New Zealand natives, Morrison. The duo, with a sound signified by pristine sound design and an attention to melody, has stepped up in a large way to provide this two-sider for IRON20. ‘Terra’ eases into the experience with percussive mutterings of organic evolution and the establishment of a lush stab taken straight from the age of analogue. This climate is matched by fluid percussion, which calmly ebbs and flows along to the coy rhythms set by reverberant hi-hats and block hits. Beneath all of this, a solid sub bass lays a reliable foundation for the surrounding bloom; no frills, only pure weight. ‘Rainfade’ immediately picks up on a similar atmospheric tip, with an added murkiness that is typified by a morphing dub delay and gloomy design. This gives way to a relentless reign of percussion as a medley of hi-hats, shakers, clicks, and rimshots provide for a chilly rhythm above the once again steadfast sub pressure. For those unfamiliar with Morrison, this release serves as a perfect illustration of the intricacy with which the duo approaches production after production.
No stranger to the 4D blog, Scottish producer The Nibelheim Incident presents “The Snake Devil”. Ancient, mysterious pads open the story-tale of a track, while hissing and bending hats pick up and lead the way. The narrator does his job at explaining the Snake Devil, but the music really does the telling. Quick hits ferry the track along, while driving percussion sit in the back ground. The Snake Devil lets out a horrendous scream in the second drop, neatly wrapping up the kind of narrative track that we would expect from The Nibelheim Incident.
New Zealand based producer Portal steps up with the mysterious “Condemned”. Playful hats accompanied by ominous ambiances open the track, followed by haunting oriental strings. At the 55 second mark, things hit full force, bringing in a fat kick and even fatter sub. The occasional growl springs up from the depths, perhaps the voices of the condemned themselves. Serious eyes-down business, this one shouldn’t disappoint.
East and West coasts collide as San Francisco based duo Subtle Mind teams with Brooklyn’s Tuba imprint to provide TUBA004d – Gravitate EP. Creative, coherent, and distinct, it comes as no surprise that this release already sits at #1 on Juno’s weekly deep dubstep bestsellers. ‘Gravitate’ is a bobby glimpse into the future of tribalism, with its heady percussion leading an intricate rhythm of plasmic instruments above a steppy backbone. ‘Shokunin’ follows with due respect to its Japanese definition, as well-crafted beats and a deeper sub-conscious combine in illusions of digital love. Next up, ‘On Deck’ impresses urban jazz with its loose drumming and all-too-real ensemble of band and brass, providing a well-timed bridge to this release. An introspective time machine, ‘Inner Self’ provides a bold, melodic perspective on the jungle origins of tight breaks, resonant low end, and raw emotion. Building on the pace of the previous with seamless grooves and an intense focus on weight, ‘Sand Snake’ leaves a final shady impact with its swaying low end and stealthy midrange work, which put a final stamp on this endlessly diverse journey. As if that’s not enough, the two parties have teamed to provide a dubby freebie with TUBAf005 - ‘Trench Dub’. Following this forward thinking statement in the finale of 2013, one can expect nothing short of momentum from both artist and label as the new year approaches.
Ibiza-based producer kai li’s Whalesong is a special one. A lush pad invites the listener in, only to be bombarded with a wild pulsating sub line. Swinging drums and percussion lines intertwine while dark growls mysteriously fill the air, all while the the somber pad washes over the beat, like slow sad waves on a beach. If Whalesong serves as any clue into the future, it’s safe to say that we can expect a lot more from the one known as kai li… @kailimusic
Italian producer Stereotipate presents a unique track called “Misanthropic”, and what a track it is. The soft sound of wind, accompanied by a kick, crash, and hat, grab the listener instantly from the beginning of the track. Shakers fasten the pace while the occasional midrange growl sneaks in and out, eventually leading to the first drop. Rather than dominating the track like most first drops do, the first drop in “Misanthropic “ seems to be more-or-less a part of the introduction, as the real magic happens later in the first drop, and predominantly in the second. Clear percussion, grooving kicks, a throbbing sub, and the occasional midrange keep the listener interested throughout this adventure of a track. While you’d think a track titled Misantrophic would aim to alienate one from humanity, Stereotipate’s production seems to lend to the opposite effect.
Power-duo Karnage & MarkIV step in for the next cut on Annihilate Audio riding a wave of bass momentum in 2013. Since being introduced to the Michigan natives, I have heard tune after tune from their camp. Touching on everything from deep, meditative bits to straight bangers, they have a collectively keen ear when it comes to production. They reach into their bag of tricks yet again with ‘Pulse’, a brilliantly crafted vocal piece. Dense, slightly dark atmosphere and a handful of spacey percussive elements set a minimal pace for the weighty vocals and flowing bassline that lives up to the namesake of this tune. Things gradually roll to a gallop as hand drums and delays give way to a vibrant rhythm amongst the growing mood. With the flick of a switch and push of a button, the gents turn the aggression and tension up to 10 as ‘The Vault’ drops in. The stage is set with a techy, pounding beat engulfed by maddening percussion and a snare that sits front and center within the listener’s consciousness. Coupled with hefty subflex and morphing soundscapes, this one is sure to usher a dark, eyes down state of mind into anyone who steps inside. With a bag full of dubs and endless creativity, Karnage & MarkIV are two to pay very close attention to as we head towards 2014.
UK producer Aces.R steps up for his 2nd 4D exclusive, and he’s not holding back for this one. “Durin’s Bane” comes with jittery intricate drums, intimidating blips and ambiances, and of course, deep sub and dark growls. Everything you’d want out of a Deep, Dark, Dungeon Dubstep download, out to Aces.R on this one.