The Keysound crew dole out fourteen brand new songs and then crack out the dark, brooding champagne to celebrate. The tracks here try to show off what gives Keysound such an expansive and yet uniform aesthetic, with Dusk + Blackdown, Aphix and Parris all thrown on the same compilation. Recommended if you like using words like producer, BPM, experimental, imprint.
- CD £4.99
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- LDN050CD / CD on Keysound Recordings inc. Logos, Dusk + Blackdown, Parris, Aphix, Wen, Caski, Etch etc.
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A friend of mine once told me, in a conversation about bassy dance music, that “140 is done, it’s all about 130 now”. Dance music’s all the same but at different tempos, yeah? I doubt it, but as soon as I spot the freshly hailed 130BPM tag in the press release as well as bass constructors Dusk + Blackdown, I am expecting the newest of the new waves of slightly slower bass music. Indeed, this isn’t a standard underground dance comp by any means.
Certified Connections occupies a barely-tread path between ambient, grime and garage that, while dragging at first, is chock full of hard hitting but funky sounds. Maybe this trend shift towards a slower groove is fuelled by certain tastemakers’ decisions to get a little groovier, a reaction to the savage doom cloud that dubstep had mopily pulled over the land of electronic music. A unifying characteristic of these tracks is a good ear for intricate rhythm, all cascading drum samples and low end throbs. Most tunes have some sort of drifty pad anywhere from right in the spotlight to peeping out from behind the beat curtain, as well as a grime snarl sound. You get some nice rudeboi vocals from Balistiq Beats and the hilarious WOT DO U MEAN BRUV? reprise from Dusk + Blackdown. So yeah it works pretty well as a whole.
I think the more leftfield and less grimey tracks show the label’s ear for interesting producers - people who can not only knit sounds together perfectly, but also have the imagination to push a style further. The epitome of this lies in London/Midlands boy Murlo’s killer ‘Broken Arrow’, using melody, bell and stringy samples to build this oriental roller that outshines most of the previous tracks. The latter stages are filled with weirder stuff, like some great cloudy IDM pads and fluttery drum samples. These final moments are what the label should concentrate on really, rather than pushing a single BPM. Saying that, I kinda like this whole 130 thing, even though it was most definitely there already.
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