Kode 9: Black Sun / 2 Far Gone
Joker / 2000F & JKamata: Digidesign / You Don't Know What Love Is
LD: Traumatic Times / Woodblock
Various Production: Trycycle EP
Three twelve-inch futuramas (by Kode9 himself, Joker splitting the deck with 2000F & JKamata, and newcomer LD) from the always-great Hyperdub plus one from Various Production on the also-strong Vars.
There's no better way to celebrate Hyperdub's five years of existence than with a head-spinning two-tracker from Kode9. The A-side's “Black Sun” is an absolutely stunning five minutes of hot-wired house swing and bubbly bass percolation. The tune smears pitch-shifting synth lines and splattering interjections over a hammering snare and percussive funk patterns to dizzying effect. The flip's voice-drenched “2 Far Gone” cools the pace slightly but retains its sibling's fixation on fractured house rhythmning and analog synth sputter. Mind-bending in the best way possible.
On the second Hyperdub outing, Joker's “Digidesign” weds a tight and synth bass-heavy dubstep-funk groove to needling synth flourishes and a central, vaguely Far-Eastern melody that's so massive it's brilliant. That the Bristol-producer is able to twist one's head around so completely in a mere four minutes is remarkable. The B's “You Don't Know What Love Is” by 2000F & JKamata blazes—if you can believe it—just as fiercely. The Danish producers blow it up with a funky, clap-accented double-time groove and an equally sleazy and soulful talk-box part that'll dust the cobwebs off long-buried memories of Peter Frampton's “Do You Feel Like We Do?” Make way for dubstep's next incarnation.
The third 12-inch comes from one LD who collaborated with Kode9 on the Bad / 2Bad release at the end of 2008 and currently toils by day as a cutting engineer at Transition Studios. Though the two tracks' primary emphasis is on a heavy, sometimes tribal-inflected bottom end, LD reserves room for head-spinning keyboard melodies up top. A muscular fusion of jazz, house, and African musics, “Traumatic Times” layers warm, burbling keyboard melodies over a beautifully grooving blend of buckshot beat patterns and subliminally thrusting bass lines, and enhances its mix further with bell sprinkles and percussive colour that's straight out of Africa. LD nicely splits the track into two sections, the first a stripped-down prologue that introduces the track's character and secondly, the track built back up again but this time with a full percussive onslaught. The flip's “Woodblock” is an electro-funk banger that hits hard with jittery synth patterns that fire with staccato rapidity and a slamming rhythm that nails beats to the floor with hammer-like intensity. At just under eleven minutes, LD's next-level material is over fast so pay attention.
Various Production starts 2009 with Trycycle EP, the first in a projected series of new 12-inch releases. A previously unknown Brit MC called V.E.X. grabs the spotlight on “Ramp” with his wild flow and ear-catching rhymes but the tune's as noteworthy for the heavy synth work and neck-severing beat crunch. “Trycycle” follows with five minutes of seizure-gripped melody shredding and wonky beat lurch, after which the slow-burning “B side” completes the trio with four grime-inflected minutes of twisting synth arpeggios and stutter-funk vocal choir testifying.