My Record Reviews

Everything is at our fingertips these days and if we want to know what a new song or album sounds like, it’s usually not too hard to find it online and check it out.  But I miss the days when record reviews were the way to find out which direction to look in for the tunes you wanted.

In addition to listening to a lot of music, I also enjoy writing and have been putting reviews up on Discogs for a couple of years now.  I know, I know, nothing worse than a critic and all that.  Anyway, I’m going to go ahead and put those here in addition to any new ones I write.  If you are a record label with a new vinyl release or DJ with a mix CD, I’d be more than happy to give an honest review of any releases you might have lying around and want to send my way.  Just send me a PM or leave a comment with your contact info if you’d like to discuss that further.

Some of the records reviewed here are quite old and some are brand new.  Basically, whenever I’m listening to my collection and something really grabs me at that moment for whatever reason, I’ll just feel like sharing that feeling, so I’ll do so the only way I know how (since no one within a 100 mile radius IRL seems to be into the same music as me).  I actually think the older ones may be of more use than the newer ones because some of them are impossible to track down as MP3 and this way you can get at least an idea of what it’s about.  I have a sort of fetish for early, one-off breakcore records, so there may be a few things here that will be helpful.

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Aaron Spectre – Evil Most Foul – Mar 13, 2008
This record has got to be Aaron Spectres finest moment. Id have to say that the star of the show is Alien Vs. Rodigan. Its hard to describe how the bass hits on this track, but its almost as if I can see it as a ball bouncing, expanding and contracting each time it hits. It pushes the track forward with brute force and can almost leave you disoriented. But my favorite part is the Street Fighter II sample right before the big bad bass drop… Shoooorrrrryyyuuuken!

Abelcain – The Garden – Mar 13, 2008
While Venetian Snares was dropping jaws with his very melancholy take on classical meets breakcore, Abelcain dropped this overlooked gem of a record with a similar theme. But instead of making you want to slit your wrists, this record finds a way to stay funky and, at some points, very aggressive. Harpsichord and death metal guitars in the same track? Yes. And neither sounds the least bit out of place. Abelcain is a master of his craft.

ADC – Giammarco Fratocchi E.P. – May 23, 2008
Very dense and noisy record here, cut very loud. The only ADC I had heard prior to this record was their collaboration with Somatic Responses, and I didnt really care for that one. But this one is a lot more in-your-face and a little closer to my tastes. The onslaught of grating synth noise overpowers the beats on this one and I can imagine that this would sound amazing over a large soundsystem. More for listening than mixing (for me anyway), but a great example of what kind of destruction can be done with those machines that we are all so fond of.

Al Corrupt / Toecutter – Heads Or Tails, You Lose!!! – May 23, 2008
A fun record that, in my eyes, sets the tone for Aussie hardcore in a post-Bloody Fist world. Less jungle and speedcore oriented, this one is a dirty, trashy samplefest that throws into the blender, among other things, cheesy house music, booty samples and bits from an early Addict record. There are some throwaway tracks on here, but Sodomecstasy and Graveyard haters are great tracks to cut up in the mix.

Granted, Stunt Rock already covered this ground about 2 or 3 years earlier, but if you like his 12″ on Addict, youll probably like this.

Anonymous – Praxis Anonymous Series Volume One – May 11, 2009
What a breath of fresh air this record is. The concept is the same as the Widerstand crew tried a few years back in that it is meant to be a collection of tracks whose artists will remain unknown so that the music can take center stage. The difference is that the former consisted of tracks laden with various pop music samples but this one is strictly hard edged sonic experimentation.

The B side is a little more fragmented and Id even describe B1 as funky in its own way. But the punishing A side is the kind of thing my ears were made for. You can expect lots of rig destroying drones, machine noises and distorted breaks. True breakcore at a time when its never been more needed.

Not sure what to expect because of lack of artists? Points of reference would be ASQ on HOTF, Darkmatter Soundsystem and, particularly, the Casse Couille record from the Explore Toi collective. 300 copies, so dont sleep on this one.

The Blasphenaut – 10 Inch Record – Mar 13, 2008
So this record sees the light of day after nearly five years. Not my favorite, but I definitely get a twinge of nostalgia from it and I am amazed at how much the landscape has changed in those five years. This is a very noisy, disjointed aggressive record and you dont see something like this very often. These days, it just doesnt happen. But there was a time when labels like History Of The Future could release music that challenged you, just like this record does. Anyway, you can expect lots of lo-fi screaming and grind guitars. Its like a moment in time suspended on vinyl, where someone just opened up and let it all out.

I miss the days when the market was strong enough to allow for that sort of thing.

Bogdan Raczynski – Samurai Math Beats – Sep 13, 2009
The term “masterpiece” gets tossed around a lot, often in directions where it really shouldnt. Most artists go through their entire career without ever leaving something that will stand the test of time, something that goes beyond all preconceived notions of genre or taste and leaves a lasting impression on nearly all who hear it. Well, I think this album does.

There is just something so honest and innocent about Bogdans music and it just gets better and better as the years roll by. You can tell he didnt try to make an IDM record or a drum and bass record; he made a Bogdan Raczynski record. Ive listened to a fair bit of music in my time and Ive yet to come across anyone who has a similar sound. This is music from someone who genuinely has not forgotten the days when the world was still full of wonder.

Bombardier – Biomech Warfare – May 23, 2008
So Machine is a jungle track that samples an old song that we all know and love, but I think so much more could have been done with it. Its kind of long and gets a little repetitive, using only a short vocal bit over and over.

The track you want here is Syn, with its fast, punk sounding bassline and crashing percussion. Id say this record is worth grabbing just for that. Its a real beast and was even given the remix treatment on a more recent Low Res release but, if you want the original, youll need this record.

Broken Note – Fueling The Fire EP – Aug 24, 2009
Though known mainly for rough dubstep compositions, Broken Note have turned in a top notch breakcore record here that no dj should be without. Both tracks are fairly similar and what you can expect is pounding repetition that gets right to the heart of what hardcore is. This is the kind of stuff that I can see setting off a moshpit: not too fast and not too technical, just straight pounding, headbanging fight music.

This record is one of the best examples of what I think is one of the most promising areas in breakcore today. Ive heard it called skullstep but I just think of it as hardcore drum and bass. A step beyond Technical Itch and Limewax, basically breakcore producers taking the best sensibilities of drum and bass but dropping all the generic bullshit and replacing it with the aggression of gabber and the varied programming of breakcore.

It looks like Damage is back on top with this one.

Cakebuilder – Blood And Thunder – May 28, 2008
This isnt quite as in-your-face as his “Decks And Demons” release; its more brooding and gives the breaks a little more room to breath. Now, the label says that its 33rpm but I think youll like it a lot more if you experiment with that a little bit. I think it has to be a misprint because the B2 track is the only one that really seems to sound right at 33. Once you straighten that out, its a pretty tight record. B1 could go either way I suppose. Hard to tell, really.

My pick on this one would be the A2 track. Im not usually the biggest fan of Bong Ras stuff, but hes got this remix right I think. It has a nice progression and makes good use of the tense piano loop. Its on a jungley vibe and is probably the most easily mixed of the four tracks.

The B2 would be my runner up because its very aggressive and in kind of an old school speedcore style, but the kick drums seem to lack a little oomph. A little punchier on those and youd have a winner.

Cyanide / Iso Brown – Untitled – Feb 25, 2009
I bought this record not knowing anything about it and its come to be one of my favorites from the last few years. If you would take Electromeca, Bogdan Raczynski and Subskan and throw them in a blender, I think this is about what you would get. Overall, a very happy vibe that any chiptune lover will dig coupled with dirty and glitchy breaks that bring a nice dose of funk into the mix. Both sides sound very similar but Id say I favor the Iso Brown side because it has a little more groove to it.

I highly recommend this if youre tired of the same old formulas and are not strictly into beard stroking. :)

Deacon Boombastardizer – Old School Combat Tactics – May 29, 2008
This is a fun record that doesnt take itself too seriously. Aimed squarely at the rave crowd, its not quite happy hardcore and not quite Dutch gabber, but some kind of happy medium in between. Lots of sample drops and enough changes to keep these tracks interesting and mixable. This is not going to be everyones cup of tea, but hey, you cant forget to have a little fun once in a while! If you like ravey sounding stuff, Id say its definitely worth picking up.

Diskore – Up There / Virulence – May 29, 2008
Took me a while to come around to liking this record. The high end really overpowers the lower frequencies but, if used as a dj tool, you can use that high end to flesh out a mix, since a lot of breakcore records seem to be dominated by lows and mids. This is the kind of record youd hear a guy like Baseck transform, scratch and splatter all over the place. The tracks build slowly, so youve got plenty of time to experiment. And they do get heavy eventually, just wish there was more bass.

So with that said, I think a colored vinyl pressing might have been more suitable for this, as colored vinyl is supposed to be much more conducive to giving you clear highs. It seems to get a little distorted in parts because of just how screechy it is.

In any case, I hope we see a lot more output on vinyl from Diskore and the rest of the Darkmatter guys.

Dispyz – Raverblood E.P. – 19-Nov-09 05:40 PM
I don’t know why it took me so long to track down a copy of this little red slab of 8-bit goodness, but better late than never. Dispyz is an alias of Stagediver who, apparently, did not get the memo that Midwest hardcore is dead. And thank fucking christ for that because this 7″ and the other one he released this year are exactly what hardcore is all about. That being, in my opinion, complete disregard for trends and an unbending passion for one’s art. DIY to the core, and I have massive respect for that.

Similar to the previous 7″, this one is full of darkish 8-bit melodies, bursts of staccato speedcore rhythms and cheeky sampling. What I really like about these tracks is that high BPM’s are not shied away from, but it’s not speed for the sake of speed either. There are even a couple of mid-song tempo changes that I can’t wait to incorporate into a mix.

The bottom line? This is everything you loved about 1998 dragged kicking and screaming into 2009. And if there was any doubt about it, look out for a future Stagediver 12″ on none other than the mighty Distort label.

DJ Hidden – After Before – Feb 25, 2009
DJ Hidden has really blown up over the last few years, and there are some real gems in his back catalogue. His more abstract work and his older jungle tracks are nothing short of jaw dropping.

However, I have to say, I find this and many of his other original productions of late to be lacking something. Of course, the production is top notch. It just seems like hes going to the UK Drum and Bass side of things which I think is unfortunate. He introduces a nice bit of melody into the formula here and a few flourishes of rawness, but its still tied to a track structure that hasnt really changed in about 10 years. Might just be me, but I find the whole “two step beat -> introduce new element -> breakdown -> drop -> repeat to infinity” formula to be so limiting and boring. You can change the sounds (which he does) but its still the same old thing underneath it all.

On the other hand, much like Enduser, he is doing the genre in a more listenable fashion than any of the big established names. And maybe, just maybe, Drum and Bass heads will pay attention and dig just a little further to his better work.

DJ Floorclearer – Goat Slaughterer E.P – May 29, 2008
I love the way metal guitars sound with mashed up amens and this is a good example of how it should be done. This is some rough, hard music and the guitar bits are not overused or given too much of the attention. The drums still lead the tracks. A lot of people will talk about how the amen is played out, but I think thats just because youll hear a lot of “breakcore by numbers” tracks that have a good mash, but the same short piece will be repeated throughout a track. If you listen closely here, youll hear a lot of very subtle changes in the breaks. A few hits here, a few hits there changed up just that little bit to keep it from being predictable. Listen to some early Soundmurderer and youll see that the same concept is what makes those first few Rewind records so great. The break needs to be played like an instrument.

Good record, Death$ucker strikes again!

DJ Hidden / Throttler – Grim Noire / Digital ID – 24-Nov-09 06:52 PM
Going into this one, I expected the DJ Hidden track to be the standout, as many of the Throttler’s tracks that I’ve heard have been a little on the repetitious side and often have an odd bit of off timing in the track that makes them awkward on the DJ side of things.

But I think the Hidden cut falls flat here. The production quality is excellent as always, but this one just sounds like a “Later After” outtake. Too slow for my tastes and, though fairly pounding in some spots, it just doesn’t hit the spot that many of his other productions hit for me. Might be alright as a transitional bit in the mix, but just too samey if you play it too long. But to be fair, with as many tracks as he gets pressed, you can’t expect all of them to be bangers, nor should they be.

Now the Throttler cut on the other hand is a slick, pounding, morphing track that kind of epitomizes this hardcore drum and bass thing that’s been going on for a while now. Deep bass, stuttered repetition and slowly building into gabber flourishes. Dancefloor damage. I’ll definitely be playing this one quite a bit.

Doormouse And Venetian Snares – Skelechairs – May 10, 2008
An absolute classic in every sense of the word! The original never gets old for me and is the epitome of the Midwest breakcore sound. Hard to believe that its over 10 years old.

Snares takes the track too a whole other place with his remix; even more punishing and with an odd-time breakdown that adds a nice bit of flavor to it.

I love most of my records, but this is one I can honestly say would have to be pried from my cold dead hands. If there is ever another re-press, I will be in line for about 5 copies.

Electromeca – Riddim EP – Jun 14, 2008
This record sounds like a stuttering, Tourettes afflicted drum machine, and I mean that in a good way. In the breakcore realm (or whatever you wish to call it), there are a lot of very technically skilled producers, but many times they end up sounding not all that different from each other. But when you listen to an Electromeca track, you know that you are listening to an Electromeca track. To my ears, the only artist putting out anything similar would be Electric Kettle, but its still a different flavor.

This record, like his others, is groovy, funky as hell and uses a lot of unique sounds, rather than relying the tried and true formula of gabber kick + amen. The rhythms are very complex and will often stop on a dime and change directions completely. On this record, you also get some nice locked grooves to play around with. Id have to agree with the previous comment in saying that this was one of the best records to come out at the time. His releases since have been sporadic, but certainly never to be slept on. Place Electromeca in your “buy on sight” category, if you have one.

Emotional Joystick – Zod 03 – May 23, 2008
Eight will always hold a place near and dear to me. Its just so perfect. The 8-bit sounding synth line he uses here somehow carries a quality of truth and timelessness and the drum programming is sublime. I dont know what it is, but I never get sick of hearing this track. Its one of my favorite compositions ever, on par with Aphex Twins Boy/Girl song for sheer emotional content.

And in fact, this whole record and the album it was taken from is a work of genius. Takes me to a place when I was about 6 years old, playing in my backyard in the perfect, lazy afternoon sun that felt like it would never end.

Epsilon – Extol.Nihil – May 27, 2008
Well this is a straight up classic and I think it has aged pretty well. With the possible exception of the No Copyright record, I think this may just be the best record that Bloody Fist ever released. Most of the break-oriented tracks that came out on this label were more jungle oriented and, by todays standards, had fairly simple drum programming. But things get fairly mashed on this album and what I really like about it is that there is a nice dose of rip-your-head-off speedcore thrown in.

Mostly good tracks on here but, if I had to pick three, Id go for “Resident Evil”, “Homemade Bomb” and “Killmonkey Eatmonkey.” The latter of the three is one of the most aggressive tracks Ive ever heard. It starts off with a sample of some talking heads rambling about how you have to hook kids on television while theyre young and then drops a screaming “Fuck You!” sample leading into some ~300bpm business.

I’ve been following FFF closely since the first time I heard his Clash 7″ and he’s really a chameleon of sorts, having done many different styles and done them well. But this one is the kind of sound I tend to associate with him. That being breakcore and jungle with extreme ragga and rave influences. Not a hint of irony in sight, just ‘Ardkore brought into the 21st century and given steroids. This is his sound. The only record in recent memory that I think I could possibly mistake for an FFF production would be Pisstank’s “Ravecore Anthems.”

 

On this yellow 7″ you get one track more on the ragga side and one that is ravecore to the bone. “Sodomize A Rasta” is the faster of the two and utilizes hoovers, insanely chopped breaks and some of the same samples used in his “Punisher” track last year. But there is also some seriousness in it, as he drops a sample addressing the homophobic language and attitudes that pervade Jamaican dancehall culture and, by extension, much of the ragga jungle that samples from it. “Your Time Is Up” is centered around a great pitched up female vocal but also utilizes acidic elements and a piano line. A little less frantic and chopped, this is the more dancefloor friendly of the two tracks. The A-side is like a hammer to the face and the B-side more like a rubber mallet.

This is fast becoming one of my favorite FFF records, and that’s saying quite a bit when you look at his extensive back catalogue. These tracks are little more out there than, say, his Planet Mu record and that suits me just fine. If you want ravecore that isn’t the butt of it’s own joke, track this one down.

I:Gor – Untitled – 24-Nov-09 08:21 PM
Not much to get terribly excited about this time from I:gor and, though I hate to say it, it seems like his productions have been getting a little lazy as of late. A prime example of this is the cheesy sample in the opening track repeatedly declaring “I chose the underground.” Well, yes, that’s kind of a given and the sort of thing that eventually made Rotterdam gabber a laughing stock (Neophyte, etc.). This shit pounds, for sure, but there is a definite formula emerging here and the tracks sound very similar to each other with not much changed but the voice samples. If I had to pick one track that I’d probably play, it would be “God Left This Place” because it has more of a fist pumping peak time vibe to it. More aggression, I guess, which is ultimately what this style of music aims for.

The verdict? Definitely not essential and, to me, a real letdown after the first Nekrolog1k release, which was significantly better.

In Broken Key – The Remixes – Mar 29, 2009
Holy shit, the Shatterbreak remix on here is a killer! It fluctuates back and forth from repetitive and punishing broken beats to a hard 4 to the floor uptempo beat. In between are little interludes of flies buzzing around so you can almost smell the decaying flesh. My god, this track would make for a straight up epic moment if played for the right crowd. I cant wait to hear this over a proper system.

My other favorite is the Abelcain remix. Dark as always and done in odd time, seems almost like an extension of his “The Garden EP” which, to me, is about as good as dark headfuck breakcore gets.

The other two tracks are more on the orchestral tip and didnt jump out at me immediately. A good listen though. Seems almost like the Greg Trash remix was cut short.

As always, its the music that counts, and this one definitely delivers, but I also have to say that the presentation here goes above and beyond. The sleeve has apocalyptic artwork by Cakebuilder and the record itself is dark, transparent purple color which, for some reason, is a color you almost never see pressed. This record looks and sounds great, do not pass it up!

Istari Lasterfahrer has been doing his thing since the early 90’s and you can really feel the influence of that era on this, his first real full length album. Put gabber, early rave and early jungle in a blender, puree, add some guitar samples for garnishment and serve with a side of chiptune and this is what you’ll get.

There are way too many good tracks on here to do a play by play, but just know that this album is the doggie’s hangers. Amazingly, I can’t really find a track on here that I can say I don’t like, no joke. For the most part, everything on here is very mixable and on a fun, happy vibe. Favorite tracks? ‘Get Slick Like Hardcore Shit’ for it’s “All ya other DJ’s all a buncha jerks” sample fuckery. ‘MDMA’ for being possibly the best intro piece ever for a rave set, basically a ditzy girl describing her first MDMA experience with various delays and pitching effects over it. But the best track on here has got to be ‘Break Of Dawning.’ It starts with piano and the standard amens and then in comes a guitar sample that instantly reminded me of the one in Aaron Spectre’s ‘You Don’t Know.’ Then a female vocal saying something about “I’m shakin my ass till the early mornin” drops into the mix and is pitched up gradually, really driving things to a peak. All of the elements just work together perfectly and make up a track that could be weaved in and out to drive a dancefloor crazy. A real 4am kind of track.

So if you’re a fan of Istari’s past material, you’ll like this. Just think of it as the crown jewel in his catalog. And if his stuff is foreign to you but you like fun, ravey music, start here and work your way back. To put it simply, just run out and buy it!

KGB Kid – Sublime Lion / Any Bwoy Test – Jun 14, 2008
Its all about the “Sublime Lion” track here. I have a grin on my face a mile wide every time I listen to it and the “all of the djs” sample comes on. Ive always been a huge Sublime fan, as well as a lover of the old school jungle sound, so the two combined is something that hits my brain in a place where no drug could ever reach. Very bouncy and happy vibe to this one and something just about everyone will recognize.

Krumble – Return Of The Amen Spamer – Jun 13, 2008
I hate to say it, but I found this release to be quite a disappointment. And its not because its straight dancefloor material. In fact, I actually like most of the stuff that comes out on Damage. I dont know, it just sort of falls flat, with nothing I could find to really get excited about in either track. Could be the gratuitous rap samples on the B side that dont really add much or the overly predictable beats on the A side, but I just dont think this one shines like some of Krumbles other productions have.

Le Jad – Painful Epic Ep – May 20, 2008
Its been a while since anything on the Peace Off label really dropped my jaw, but this record does the trick. I like the A-side the best, with the chunky hip hop beats accented with metal guitar samples. The intro lead is nice too and would make this a perfect set starter. I could easily see this one precipitating a moshpit.

The B-side is a more moody number with a vague atmospheric melody that I cant quite place, but Im pretty sure it was lifted from somewhere. This ones more frantic, with gabber kicks flying in every direction.

This record just begs you to rock doubles. Youve got some scratch samples on the A-side that are a nice departure from the played out fare you get on most scratch records. And you get a skipless break on the B-side.

Buy on sight, this is the real deal!

Mark N – Epileptik Mix 7 – Under Sufferance – May 23, 2008
This is hands downs my favorite hardcore mix of all time. The track selection is the perfect balance between what was new at the time and what was already classic. Hes got breakcore, gabber and drum & bass in the mix, all done with a nice touch of hip hop flavor. The mixing is seamless and his scratching is on par with all those big name turntablist DJs the hip hop kiddies idolize. The difference here is that he does it over music that is way more complex and he can actually mix. Timing, tension, release, skills and track selection… everything about this mix is perfection.

Maruosa – Untitled – Jun 15, 2008
What to say about this record? Well, its a little on the hardcore side of things. Ok, to be honest, it just about melted my skin from my bones and made my cat want to off himself, and hes no pussy. *rimshot*

Some will undoubtedly call it meaningless noise, rubbish, if you will. But there is something to be said for taking music to its extremes, and I think the line has been clearly drawn on the harsh end of the scale by this record. Im familiar with the work of Nihil Fist, ZFE and a few others who have gone this route and I have never heard anything that goes quite this far.

In all seriousness, this record should come with a “make your ears bleed or your money back” guarantee. If you want the hardest, most extreme shit out there, here is my nomination.

Minion – Bored In The U.S.A. E.P. – May 23, 2008
We’ve got a four track EP here and I find myself regularly playing three of those tracks. The first track on the A side, “I Support Our Troops More, Because I Bought A 99 Cent Magnet,” is much like Minion’s previous works on the Dyslexic Response label. It’s like speedcore that had a nervous breakdown with the distorted kick drum spewing forth in violent, staccato bursts. Add to that some haunting atmospheric synth work and sharp, piercing high hats and you’ve got a simple, yet punishing track.

The B side is where things really pick up. “Television Genuflexion” is an absolute dancefloor breakcore bomb that will rattle the bassbins. The expertly crafted kick drum hits you right between the eyes and sort of lingers there for a second. The amens here harken back to the Ambush style and the track just rolls along, pulling you with it. This is the one I find myself dropping the most because, since there’s no atmospheric element in the background, you can really mix with it. Good for cutting back and forth, even juggling if you’re up to the task.

You get to the second track on the B side, “The Decider,” and you wonder if maybe Minion is just showing off. Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of dubstep, but this track is pure class. Very sharp and crisp production all around on this one but the bassline is the centerpiece, obviously. Listening to it ooze forth is almost hypnotic. All you dubstep jocks out there, get on it.

All in all, this is money well spent and proof that there are still exciting things happening on our side of the pond.

Outside Agency, The – Reality Collapse / Hell’s Basement – 24-Nov-09 07:06 PM
“Reality Collapse” is THE track of 2009, full stop. This is DJ Hidden at his very best, in my opinion, as he combines gabber, hardcore drum and bass and, last but not least, a sublime acid line. Mark N has been caning this one for a long time now and the first time I heard it was when I saw him play. In a set full of amazing moments, the breakdown in this track flat out sucked the air out of the room with the creeping acid line and then the drop blew everything to pieces. Maybe it was the time and place (a sweaty room packed full of heads raised on Midwest acid), but this track has burned itself a cozy little place in my brain. Over a year later and some kind of flashbulb memory takes me back to that room every time I hear it. But my personal experience aside, this track is the real deal and needs to be in your crate. In a word, amazing.

Pi Max – Generation Break – Jun 23, 2008
I missed out on my chance to get the original Generation Sample release when it came out, so I was overjoyed to see that it had been reissued. After finally getting my grubby little mitts on it, I have to say that this is one of the most interesting and unclassifiable things Ive heard in years.

Tracks switch at the drop of a hat from gabber to funky breakbeats to old school hardcore to raggae to disco to jungle, all the while with popular culture references thrown in where they absolutely shouldnt belong. Its really amazing how smoothly everything flows and makes perfect sense even with such diverse influences. Constantly changing, this is an expert display of breakbeat manipulation and really brings things back to the heart of what a breakbeat is: funk.

Do whatever you need to do to get your hands on this!

Pisstank – Ravecore Anthems – May 28, 2008
Ive always been a big fan of Pisstanks tunes, but not for the same reasons that Im a big fan of this record. Everything else I have of his is very lo-fi, harsh, abrasive and punk flavored breakcore, and he does it well. But he goes a completely different direction here, pumping out an instant classic in the happy hardcore/ravey jungle vein. You can expect pitched up chipmunk vocals, pianos, rapid fire amens and high bpms.

In my opinion, every track on here is a winner, but “Bassbins” is the one thatll tear the roof off. I heard it on some mix quite a while before this was released and it struck me immediately as something I had to have. The aggressive programming of the breaks and the huge bassline are truly something to behold. Its a short track, clocking in at under three minutes, so my only gripe would be that I wish it was longer.

Snatch this one up while you can because this is going to be one of those holy grail records in a few years, and Death$ucker doesnt seem to do many re-presses.

Player – Angel Of Theft – May 27, 2008
One of my prized possessions, this record. The red vinyl with the etched pentagram really makes it a one of a kind and I can see why its such a collectors item. That being said, I dont know if Id say its worth the extreme prices it sometimes fetches. After all, 400 copies isnt exactly the rarest of the rare. But I guess, if you want it bad enough.

It really is a killer tune though, perfect for the peak of your set. Play it loud and the drop is simply amazing. The classic Slayer riff sounds like it was made to go with the crisp, pressurized breakbeats. Its well produced with very high energy and maybe enough crossover appeal to bring those drum & bass heads over to the dark side. Itll definitely perk your ears up the first time you hear it snuck into a set.

If you like this, Id highly recommend that you check out a certain track on the Barn Compilation. The two go together like lamb and tunafish. Or Sonny and Cher. Or… something.

Prometheus Burning – Retribution – May 27, 2008
This is some creepy, dark shit right here. Its kind of rough, industrial sounding stuff with some pretty strange spoken word rantings effected all to hell and laid over the top. Only had it for a few days and I love it already. Theres at least two tracks that I could see working well on the dancefloor and all four will make your ears happy as you sit back and listen to it unfold.

My favorite track is “Shescorpion Skin”. The beats sound to me like something Electric Kettle would do if he took a few downers; fairly fast tempo with a bassline that has a little funk to it, but less glitchy, as it just rolls along. The opening of this track would be amazing over a loud system in a dark room:

“You know that ringing in your ears? Thats the sound of the ear cells dying, like their swan song. Once its gone youll never hear that frequency again.”

This is a shockingly good release on all fronts.

Realicide – The Choice Is Yours EP – November 26, 2009

Hot off the presses, here comes the most (possibly the only?) DJ friendly Realicide record you will find.  This is definitely something that won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I think it’s a brilliant crossover of raw punk and electronic hardcore.  The message is everything here and Realicide have plenty to say.  But it’s not the cheesy DHR “start the riot motherfuckerzzzzz” kind of message that you might expect.  This is almost more like self help for those disenfranchised with society’s constructions.  Instructions for breaking free, if you will.

Realicide is known, first and foremost, as a live act.  But the translation of their music to a DJ friendly format is actually very well done here.  The sound quality is good, with the gabber kicks hitting nice and hard, and the tracks have been restructured in a way that makes sense for us DJ types and casual listeners alike.  On a basic level, this is pounding, bass laden mid-tempo gabber that will whip the right crowd into a moshing, fist pumping frenzy.  But, perhaps more importantly, the message here is an extremely positive one about not following trends, not sitting passively by, and about actually living life instead of simply watching others do it.  That’s what I take from it anyway, and I think it’s really god damn refreshing to have a record cross my turntable that actually makes me think.

Rotator – Curses On Your Ghettoblaster – May 31, 2008
I have to say, it doesnt get much heavier than the B2 track on this one. Im used to hearing some fairly hardcore tracks coming from Rotator, but this one is on a whole over level of aggression. It gets pretty hard to follow in some spots because theres so much going on, but I like it. Very punk sounding.

The B1 track is also a departure from the usual Rotator style. Its one of those tracks that keeps the core but emphasizes the half time hip-hop beat. I love mixing this kind of stuff because you can do so much with it. Theres also a haunting chant going on in the background that sounds pretty cool.

The A side is more what youd expect, that being solid dancefloor breakcore. Neither of these tracks really grab me like the B side did. Not bad, but not excellent. Id still probably rock parts of these tracks in a mix.

Overall, this is definitely a worthwhile purchase. I like the more experimental tracks on the B side and I hope Rotator does more of these kinds of tracks. His production skills are up there with the best, its just that a lot of the straight dancefloor stuff starts to sound kind of the same after awhile.

Rude Ass Tinker – Imperial Break / Silk Ties – Jun 02, 2008
Of all the records in Deathchants expansive back catalogue, youd be very hard pressed to find one that has held up as well as this one by Planet Mu labelhead, Mike Paradinas. Its somewhat of an anomaly among Deathchant releases, because it is not straight 4 to the floor gabber. There are a few moments that fit that description, but its very hip hop influenced and more what you would call breakcore. The gabber kicks come mostly in flourishes to accent the frantic breaks and expertly used hip hop samples.

Both tracks on here are brilliant and its one of those records you definitely want two copies of. The tracks never get stagnant and are utterly fun to mix with. Seriously, this record was way ahead of its time and still sounds fresh today.

Ślepcy vs. I:gor – Slepcy / I:gor – Mar 13, 2008
Breakcore has taken on many forms over the years but, any way you slice it, this record is an absolute classic in the genre.
I:gor takes a ragga approach to it here with classic ragga chants flying in every direction like shards from a hand grenade and tortured amens burning with distortion. Very much in your face with a heavy dose of fuck you attitude.
The Slepcy side is a bit more cerebral with very surreal sounding disembodied keys and a certain tension running throughout, as if things could explode at any second. Id almost liken it to that feeling you get before a big party when your nerves are slightly buzzing with the possibilities of what might lie ahead.
If you see this one, grab it at all costs.

Somatic Responses – Zombie Apocalypse – 01-Nov-09 04:56 PM
So this record finally hit my mailbox and it’s amazing to see something like this in 2009. ACID. I was just thinking a few days ago that it seems like nobody does that hard DBN style acid anymore and, sure enough, drop the needle on “The Infected” and it’s fast, hard, frantic and squelchy. I was stunned and so, so happy to hear this. It’s like a timewarp back to 1996 with a pounding and repetitive kick to guide you and shards of acid squelch flying around at double speed. Somatics were always great in this mode and they certainly haven’t forgotten how to do it. “Attack” is another acid workout, but without beats. The first half of the track is droning and moody and then you hear the twisted bass dueling with the squelcy highs the rest of the way out. This is an interesting track that will surely open up a lot of possibilities for mixing.

On to side B and “Survival” which is my pick of the record. It has a Pounded Mass style broken beat with sparse percussion over the top along with rig wrecking bass and shrill, metallic highs. It hits that sweet spot in the 180ish bpm range and the kicks go at half time, making this the best and most versatile track on the record from a mixing standpoint. You’ll have some fun with this one. “Future” is dark droning ambience without a beat or bleep in sight. Very moody and creepy. And finally comes “The Infected (Dark Acid Mix)” which is probably the biggest surpise on the record, as it is straight up acid house. I’m not usually a fan of this style because it just tends to be too slow for my tastes. So I probably won’t be dropping this one much, but I think as far as acid house goes, it’s pretty good. It is well produced, as you would expect, and there is a certain funk to it that can keep me listening.

As usual, Thac0 knocked it out of the park with the presentation on this record, with green vinyl and amazingly detailed artwork depicting zombies partaking in various zombie activities. Gruesome, really, and utterly awesome. All things considered, this is a great record and should not be passed up. With the wide variety on here, almost anyone should be able to pick out at least one track that will make it worth the price of admission for them.

Soulpsychadelicide – We Kill You – Aug 20, 2009
This is one of the only records I know of that can come close to Stunt Rock in the track title department so, right away, it has that going for it.

Second, its listenable at both 33 and 45. On 33, the tracks are a dense wall of industrial sounding rhythmic bass distortion. Kind of similar to stuff on Possessive Blindfold or the more chaotic moments in the Hymen catalog. For the longest time I thought this was the intended speed until I accidentally played it on 45. Suddenly the drawn out drones buried in the bass turned into screams and seemingly Tourettes-induced chants about all things vulgar. It was then that I realized this is one of the greatest records to come out of what I like to think of as the golden age of Breakcore (I say roughly 1998-2002 or so, after all the DHR posing and before so many people started trying to be either too deep or too cute). There is such an aggressive fuck you attitude smeared all over this record, but its still mixable and thats a big plus in my book.

Two favorites for me here. The A2 track for its pounding, distorted hip hop lead in and the wall of feedback that follows it. The B1 track for its ultra aggressive, fractured speedcore rhythm and screeching bits of guitar and noise flying in all directions. And theres even a nice half time breakdown to work with.

Soundmurderer – Toned Down EP – May 01, 2009
Theres been a lot of hype about this record since it was announced and I have to say, it lives up to every bit of it and then some.

Ive always been a big fan of the Rewind Records material and Id heard some of Soundmurderers ghettotech and electro tracks done under various pseudonyms and liked them. But until I got this record, I really had no idea of the true scope of Todd Osborns production mastery. Heres a guy who can produce just about any style he wants to and hang with the very best in whatever genre it might be. I have nothing but massive respect for him as a producer.

So, what do we have here? Dubplate Murderer starts off the record and it is a ragga jungle smasher that is like something straight out of the early Rewind catalogue. As you would expect, the drum edits are complex and impeccably done and the vocal samples he uses are fresh. Vibewise, its a perfect mix between bouncy and chaotic.

Up next is Logical Volume Identifier. Not even sure what youd call this, so Im not even going to bother. Its a very happy track with drums that walk that line between hip hop and jump up, but theyre really only there as a guide, not the main attraction. What will grab you here is the intricate and finely crafted interplay of melodies. Genius lives here, so just sit back, close your eyes, relax and take it in. Youll find something new every time you hear it.

Onto the flipside, youve got 8th Stage which uses a similar set of sounds but with a more subdued melody. After a long and winding intro, the drums step up to a more prominent role than the previous track in a masterful display of tension and release.

And, finally, you have Awamori which takes the “Toned Down EP” to its logical conclusion. I hesitate to call this ambient because there is a significant drum presence but, somehow, the tag seems to fit. Warm, melodic, beautiful.

It looks like Ive put a lot of words down here when it would be much simpler to just say “Buy it and listen to it repeatedly.” This record will obviously appeal to the ragga jungle heads out there but there is so much more here. I wouldnt hesitate to say that the rest of this EP is on par with the Analord series. Yes, I just said that.

Stagediver – I – Aug 19, 2009
The Amiga lives on! After the jaw dropping Davros/Unibomber 2×12″ from last year we now have this 7″ slab of aggression clawing its way up from the darkest forgotten depths of Milwaukee Wisconsin to remind us how it was. Before you had computers with 18 terabytes of ram, ready made sample packs and wanky ideas in place of emotion, there were people using whatever tools they had available to get out whatever it was they had in their system. It wasnt always pretty and it was seldom polished, but you could damn well feel it.

These are the kind of things this record makes me think about. My hat goes off to Stagediver for stepping up and putting out a record that really needed to be put out. There seems to be a resurgence going on here in the Midwest and its good to know there are people who will carry on the legacy and keep it honest.

Steven Sick – Chaos Concert – Jun 12, 2008
This is an amazing record that works very nicely at both 33 or 45, so its really like you get six tracks instead of three. Funny how changing the speed can bring out a whole different track, rather than just sounding like the same track sped up or slowed down. I love finding records that work in this way.

The A side is a monster. At 33 it sounds like some type of doomy, orchestral hip hop, but pitch it up to 45 and its some very good industrial flavored breaky business that kind of reminds me of something Noize Creator might do. The B side tracks are nice too and really groove at 33. Either way, this record really defies classification and thats the way it should be.

Overall, this is very well produced and each track is structured so that there are many distinct phases and change ups so that it never gets boring. Amazing, the overlooked gems you can dig up.

Stunt Rock – Regret™ Instruction Manual Issue 2: Letting Go Versus Holding On – May 12, 2008
Took me 5 years to gather some words on this, but I think Im ready now. A sincere thanks to the albums creator, if he ever stumbles across this page.

This is one of the most original, inspired and overlooked releases you will ever come across. A while back, I sold all of my CDs, because I hate and have always hated the format. Of the hundred or so CDs I accumulated in about 15 years, this was one of 3 that I kept. That should say something.

What makes it so great, I cant even say exactly. I think its that you can tell that an enormous amount of time and love went into it. Hundreds of samples are taken from obscure sources and tied together to tell the story over samples of instruments that Stunt Rock and DJ Anonymous played themselves (I think). As for the content, it really is amazing and needs to be listened to in its entirety. The theme, to me, is about being human. All the little triumphs, failures, moments that were sure weve “got it”. Its all here.

The packaging also speaks of the artists intense dedication to his work. You get the CD, a full booklet, a button, a bumper sticker and I dont even remember what else. But come on, who does that? Stunt Rock has always seemed, through his musical output anyway, aloof and sarcastic. But I really get the feeling that this is something very personal and honest. I actually feel privileged every time I listen to it and I feel thankful that Im not the only one who feels the way I do. Im not even exaggerating here.

We get tied up in genres and things like that and often close ourselves off to some really great pieces of work. Well, I think this is one of those pieces. And in some parallel universe out there, Id like to think that people have put all of that to the side and this release has gotten the recognition it deserves. If you cant identify with this masterpiece, you might want to check and see if you have a pulse.

“Some day youre gonna die and some day Im gonna die. But until then you fight like hell to stay alive!”

Various – Ad Noiseam Compilation – Aug 24, 2009
For the most part, theres nothing much to get excited about here and, to be honest, I would expect a lot more from a record that is meant to be an Ad Noiseam showcase of sorts.

That being said, this record is essential just for the DJ Hidden track. There seems to be two types of DJ Hidden productions: steppy drum & bass (which Im not really a fan of) and abstract, raw, hardcore shit. This track definitely falls in the latter category and its one of the best Ive heard from him. If you heard his Xanopticon remix from 2007s Alembic EP, youll be in familiar territory. The bass is kind of sticky and glitchy and the somber yet uplifting bits of melody create a beautiful kind of dissonance. Theres a nice progression too, as it just keeps getting heavier and heavier. As an added bonus, the track is structured around samples from one of my favorite movies of all time, 12 Monkeys.

All in all, one of my favorite tracks from last year.

Various – Addict 1 – May 11, 2008
Pressboard and Ed Cetera bring a couple of “IDMish” moments to the Addict label, setting the tone of diversity that would continue throughout the catalogue. Both nice pieces and intelligible at either 33 or 45 rpm.

But Ive always favored the dark side. The Davros contribution is a gem and one of the most versatile tracks in my crate (which it NEVER leaves). It is the perfect bridge, whether youre doing drum & bass, breakcore or gabber. Expertly structured and fun to juggle with. Over 8 minutes and it does not get boring the whole way through.

The Doormouse track is straight evil. A faster track, getting up to what you might call speedcore, with fucked up samples of an interview with some deranged religious zealot. It is punishing and mental and dark dark dark. “The bright morning star is Lucifer, Satans only son. So then Jesus is Satan, and YOU are the messiah. Ive got it now!” Im sure this one has messed with some heads in strange, dark corners of abandoned warehouses.

Various – Angelicfricti0n EP – Jan 17, 2009
I dont know the backstory of this record or this label, but Id be very interested to find out more.

I seem to recall a sample pack somewhere online that had a crazy amount of psycho gibberish culled from answering machine recordings of someones jilted ex-girlfried, and it almost seems like this is some kind of concept EP based on those recordings. The tunes on here are very distorted and heavy but, if you listen closely, there is definitely a very angry young lady underneath it all. Ha!

In any case, I bought this mainly for the Abelcain track because Im a bit of a completist and I ended up being floored by the entire record! Highly recommended if you like rough breaks and growly bass.

Various – Bass Bomb – Jan 17, 2009
The B-side on this one seems to be just bass tones, good for sampling or turntablist applications.

But the A-side is where the real meat is. “Total Destruction” is a classic track that bridges breakcore and jungle. Quite hard to track down, it was originally available on a 7″ and on the Collision Course compilation, which had a lot of long tracks for a 2×12″ and resulted in kind of a thin sound. At any rate, on here, it gets a great sounding pressing on nice, heavy vinyl.

Also on this record, you will find another classic in “Next One Dead” and, to my knowledge, this is the only place the track ever saw release. Not even featured on the Rephlex “Ambush!” compilation, this is a really overlooked track and, in my opinion, one of Scuds very best!

Various – Briokids – Dirty Texas Luvin´ – Jan 17, 2009
An overlooked record here and probably one of the best things to ever come out of Texas. What you can expect is trashy breakcore along the lines of Stunt Rock, but without the movie samples. Mostly just what you would expect (distortion and amens), except for the A2 track. Im pretty sure its meant to be played on 45, but is actually interesting (and workable) on 33 as well. Its pretty fast paced and the jumble of breaks lurches forward until (gasp!) a melody comes in. Really, its a noisy and beautiful track.

Its a nice little bit of something different and a reminder of a time when breakcore barely had a name and there were small collectives all over the place putting their local flavor down on vinyl.

Various – Mash The Place Up – Mar 13, 2008
You like breakcore? Well this is where its at. Ambush was instrumental in getting the sound where it is today and this release contains all of the best tracks that came out on the label. Before the scene and sound took on that annoying tone of irony, there was just aggression in the form of this weird music that wasnt jungle and wasnt gabber, but some strange hybrid of the two. Sure, DHR did it first, but the Ambush sound lacked the cheesy rhetoric and just seemed more… real. This is the ultimate Ambush collection and it is utterly essential for anyone who likes their amens rough around the edges.

Various – Ye Olde Barn Compilation – Jun 14, 2008
Its never a good thing to spend a lot of time on regret, but I will say that one thing I will always regret is missing out on the infamous Barn parties that took place right here in Wisconsin. To look at the artists who were involved and what many of them have gone on to contribute just boggles the mind. Think of having all of them congregating in such a no holds barred environment to play whatever music they wanted and you can see why those who attended the gatherings have such a reverence for them.

Of particular note to the metalheads will be the track on here by Skimall, which is better than most similar tracks (of which there are many). The Emotional Joystick track is piano laden and very fun. The Curtis Chip track is pretty much what you would expect if youre familiar with his Zod releases. The Stunt Rock offering is, believe it or not, a square dance number. The Doormouse track is more experimental than a lot of his stuff and probably my favorite here.

X&trick – Forever – Aug 19, 2009
This record really flew under my radar, being that it just reached my mailbox today, some 4 years after it came out. Shame on me! Not much to say other than it is straight up raw and made to rock your dancefloor.

The real smasher on here is Killin Joe. It starts out with a very brief bit of syncopated drumwork and teasing gabber flourishes that fade away. Then its pretty much full on right to the end with a very tight and hard hitting gabber kick, ever changing breakbeat shrapnel and a deceptively simple two finger melody that has an 80s Miami Vice kind of feel to it somehow. I dont know, thats just what it makes me think of. Anyway, its a real fist in the air type of track.

The rest of the record is pretty much what techstep could have been if it would have eaten its Wheaties. There is enough track structure to draw this parallel as well as big menacing basslines. The repetition is there as well but its not the same steppy beat that youre used to but, rather, different steppy beats, and thats what I think really sets this record apart. Just try it and youll see that “raw” really sums it up.

Xanopticon – The Silver Key EP – Apr 18, 2009
This is probably the most DJ-friendly Xanopticon release youll find and it is probably the most accessible if youve never checked out his material and want a good starting point. His tracks usually consist of very fast, microscopic snippets bordering on what some people are calling splittercore. But the flavor here is glitched out drum and bass. My pick of the record is Lockjaw, a slow building, 9 minute punisher that doesnt immediately make itself appear to be a dancefloor cut. But, sure enough, like one of those magic eye posters, pay attention long enough and it will start to make sense. No generic steppy beats here, just pulses of bass and glitchy noises where you would expect snare hits. Its long enough to weave it in and out of the mix and dynamic enough that it doesnt get boring.

Various – The Unsensored E.P. – 24-Nov-09 07:21 PM
One look at the artists featured on this EP will tell you that this is a rather ambitious undertaking. Unfortunately, the A side is not something I can recommend. It’s pretty much standard gabber, with the Hellfish track repeatedly dropping a sample of some guy saying something about pissing on you. The Bryan Fury track is a little better, with a swatch of disjointed melody and slightly more imaginative drum programming, but still, in my opinion, a dud.

But the B side is where things really pick up. The DJ Hidden track is very heavy and on the more fractured side of things. Dark, creepy samples, good progression and, overall, yet another mark in the win column for him.

The Somatics track is the black sheep on this record. When played on 33, as I believe is intended, it is like some kind of dark safari through a landscape of twisted electronics. Dubstep tempo, but it’s surely not dubstep. Hard to explain, really, but suffice to say that it’s Somatics in experimental mode, which is generally a very good thing.

Overall, the Hidden and Somatics cuts make this worth purchasing and the gabber stuff is pretty much in the same vein as the stuff that turned me off from Deathchant about five years ago.


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