Ninja Tune

The Bug unveils new single before he drops yet another EP! Prolific needs a new definition….



It seems like only last week that Kevin Martin AKA The Bug was releasing his last EP. It was in fact August 2015. In that time frame it’s looking like the world is falling apart, countries are imploding under petty nationalism, heads of state are dropping like flies and unprovoked violence is on the rise*. Despite all this global horribleness there are a few things to look forward to. I don’t want to list them all, but one of them is Martin’s new release, the double A-Side Box/Iceman. Box features rapper D Double E while Iceman features Riko Dan.



Musically it’s business as usual. Deep basslines meander through valleys of stark drum machines and layered effects and studio trickery. Its dense, dark and devastating. But it’s the lyrics that are the main event. Box showcases that D Double E is at the top of his game. He uses a simple word like ‘Box’, then due to his references and inflection it has a totally different. At one moment he’s saying be different thing outside of the box, then if you are too different you’ll be inside a box, like dead, then a moment later he uses a football reference that means you have to twist and turn to get in space so people can see you for what you are. All of these thing have different meanings, but because they are all grounded by the same word they are all the same. Clever man…



* Um, didn’t Martin kinda predict this on his last two albums?








thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Hieroglyphic Being mixes Sun Ra’s dense Afro-Centric rhythms, with disco fun to create something exciting yet intriguing



Since Jamal R. Moss, AKA Hieroglyphic Being, released The Fourth Dimension of Nubian Mystic on Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour in 2014 it’s been on a semi constant rotation. There is something about the mix of melody, emotional content, Afro-Centric themes and hard hitting techno that made it such a beguiling listen.



Now, two years later, Moss is returning to Technicolour to release the album The Disco of Imhotep. So far all that has been released is the title track. As the title suggests there is a slight disco vibe going on, but don’t worry, Moss’ trademark murky productions and incongruous rhythms keep you on your toes. This is something that needs to be played loud, possibly in a darkened room, full of sweaty people dancing.



But this is how Moss sees The Disco of Imhotep “It’s about creating Frequencies and Vibrations for the Listener that are conducive for him or her to Heal The Mind and Body and Enrich the Soul by creating Hemi-Synced Harmonies and music that contains embedded Binaural Beats. We have been made to believe that electronic sounds are just for Movement, Enlightenment, Primal Afflictions and Entertainment purposes, but it’s much more… It’s Sound Healing, but the ancestors would call it Frequency Medicine. Medicine is Healing and this project is dedicated to one of Earth’s first Healers: High Priest Imhotep. The One who comes in Peace, is with Peace.”



The Disco of Imhotep looks set to be one of the albums of the year, regardless of the genre, and will cement Moss even more an artist who doesn’t just challenge what music can and should be, but challenges himself by never phoning it in or treading water. I’ve really missed him!



The Disco of Imhotep is released through Technicolour on 5th August











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Baishe Kings remind us why we got excited about them in the first place on new mixtape SuperKush



“I can see the see, can you see the wave? Oh my days, trying to find a rave” is one of the first lyrics you hear on Baishe Kings’ new mixtape SuperKush. If you’ve never heard of South London’s best kept Hip-Hop secret, this tells you everything you need to know. Their lyrics are filled with these subtle lines that mix England’s past with its present. Oh my days was a line I grew up hearing every day and after I turned twelve I heard about raves most day, but until this exact moment I’ve never heard the two together. If you are a fan of everything Baishe, then this line will make you smile as you know they haven’t lost any of their charm and comic timing.



If this is your first time listening to the Baishe Kings, don’t try and force it and follow everything from start to finish, as you’ll miss some amazing name drops and beats. Instead just let it wash over you, but keep an ear open for some reference that seems tailor made just for you. While the lyrics are the heavy weight title main event, to use a Baishe wrestling reference, the music is definitely worthy of a ladder match or intercontinental title match. The beats are laid back with inventive samples that pop and fizz in the background, rather than banging and slamming in your face. If you think Tricky and Prince Paul you’re on the right track. In fact SuperKush sounds like the Baishe Kings only had the Tricky vs. the Gravediggaz EP as kids and decided to make music that sounds like it.



But enough about the music what about the all-important lyrics? If I was to list all the amazing rhymes on SuperKush this would just be an annotated lyrics sheet. Instead I’ll pick out a few that made me smile. Pennies contains a lyric that sums up Baishe Kings, and no it’s not about wrestling! “Hmm Bop, that’s Hanson. HA! That samples Hanson” gets spit, but there is almost a lack of belief that they’ve firstly sampled Hanson and secondly got away with it! You can almost hear him corpsing as he delivers it. Pennies also features the line “Ip dip dog shit, your boss is an idiot” takes a playground rhyme, but subverts it so that it applies to everyone’s feeling about their boss. Paperboy has the surreal line “Paper, paper, paper, big boy paper. A4 paper”.



As this is Baishe Kings have already released an album and two mixtapes so far this year, the quality on SuperKush is pretty high and consistent to what’s come before. This is only downside with the release. If these songs have just been gathering virtual dust why weren’t they released before, but if the deck is being cleared, when is the new ‘new’ material out? This will be answered in due course. And that’s the bottom line as the Baishe Kings say so!









thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Patience, The Invisible’s return is getting closer so let’s all bask in Darstar’s remix until Patience is released!



In less than a month London trio The Invisible will release their third album Patience. If you are unaware of The Invisible then I suggest you rectify this listening to their 2009 self-titled debut and 2012 follow up Rispah. Both albums are chocked full of forward thinking music that somehow merges indie, soul, electronica, gospel and sheer pop.



Over the last few months The Invisible have slowly been drip feeding us information and songs until we are now in a lather for the release date. So far Easy Now, Save You and So Far have been released. Each shows a progression from The Invisibles previous releases, but they still retain everything we’ve come to expect from this powerhouse three piece.



The most recent release is a remix of So Far, which features Jesse Ware on vocals. At first I felt a bit let down, as it wasn’t a new track, or demo, but when I realised that Darkstar were re-working the original I felt less hard done by. In its initial form So Far is a tender ballad about love, rejection and redemption, however in Darkstar’s hands it has been mutated into a chopped up, almost glitchy at times, track with skittering beats and sparse vocals. Its more of re-interpretation than remix. Frontman Dave Okumu recently said “Darkstar’s version is evidence that songs can withstand interpretation. I love how they’ve given the song new meaning by recontextualising it. Dark by name, dark by nature. Big up the north!”











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Nathan Melja joins Ninja Tune’s Technicolour family



When a label gets to a certain size it realises that it can diversify from its original mission statement and create sub labels to cover everything else. One of these labels is Ninja Tune. I’m not going to re-word this to make me sound cool, rather than the rabid fan-boy that I am, but Ninja Tune is my favourite. Always has been and, probably, always will be. This means I’m not as subjective toward its releases as I should be, but they have released a lot of stuff over the years that if I hadn’t been so anal about them I probably would have missed. Nathan Melja is one of these artists. With the ink still drying on his Technicolour, remember those sub labels I mentioned earlier, Melja is yet to put anything out, but his debut No No No EP, is lined up for a May 13th release. No No No takes his over saturated minimal techno to new directions.



Opening with woozy synths and hypnotic samples until a wonky beat and pulsating bassline marches us to the nearest dancefloor by the scruff of the neck for the next few minutes. Whilst listening to No No No, hazy dancefloors, sticky bar areas, surely door staff and finally the first rays of a new day, making us squint as we walk outside all come to mind. At time it’s hard to work out if these are mine, or shared memories, but ultimately it doesn’t matter as the music rises above it all like an early morning ethereal fog on a cold morning.



After hearing this track, Melja should change the name of the EP from No No No to Yes Yes Yes!



No No No is released through Technicolour on May 13th











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

NY*AK start to gear things up for his new EP on Technicolour Recordings



After a seemingly inauspicious start to 2016 Technicolour Recordings are getting set to release Newcastle’s NY*AK’s new EP Dollar. Like with all previous Technicolour releases Dollar will be released on 12”, and like all previous releases it packs a massive punch.



Hard rhythmic beats are juxtaposed with lyrical synths and high pitch tweaks all underpinned by a groove based bassline. Dollar is interspersed with vocals samples and free flowing vocals. At first these vocals feel slightly out of place, but after a few listens you being to realise that if they weren’t there Dollar would just be another low tempo track. When all of these elements are combined Dollar sounds like a Herbie Hancock remix via Detroit, the Motor City.



Dollar is officially released 11th March on Technicolour Recordings









thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Activia Benz honcho Slugabed shows how it’s done, with latest release



Slugabed AKA Gregory Feldwick is a busy man. When not busy playing DJ sets around the world and coordinating Activia Benz, he makes skewed glitchy forward thinking slabs of music that contain elements of R&B, pop, Hip-Hop, electronica and dollops of fun. Like Activia Benz, he’s hard to categorise. He’s not returned with the latest edition of the saga, that everyone here at thisyearinmusic hopes never ends!



What strikes you initially about hhhowllll is how carefree and effortless it all sounds. Deep basslines rub shoulders with conga rhythms, which appear to be played on pots and pans, trademark woozy synths have a back and forth with panpipes all the while backup by driving breakbeats and a slightly comical wolf howl. Imagine White Fang on the piss. This is another strong release from Feldwick, and it showcases his deft mastery of melody and rhythm perfectly.



Running a label must be hard, especially when you are as talented as Feldwick, but there must be a time when “The Boss” has to get involved and show everyone how it’s done. At times it sounds like early Aphex Twin covering fairground waltzer music, but less Scally and more bassy. As an individual track it works exceedingly well, as that old gimmer Kipling would say, but played in context with the other releases it fits in well and shows the depth of the series. Hhhhowllll is filled with a playfulness that bellies a well-crafted and serious song. It’s been three years since Feldwick released his debut album Time Team on Ninja Tune, so let’s hope he’s set aside some time to focus on its follow up, while we’re howling for more.









thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs