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Activa Benz do it again with another slice of UK bass music excellence

 

 

Activia Benz have a knack for putting out forward thinking music. Over the past few years they have released enchanting EP’s and singles from head honcho Slugabed, Iglooghost, Gunge and DJ Mastercard, to name a few. Another thing that Activia Benz excels at are their collaborative singles. The latest edition of the ilovesingles club is no exception. Eloq has teamed up with Kid Antoine to create three minutes of exquisite bass music.

 

 

Opening with deep basslines, euphoric synths and vocals samples it grabs your attention and doesn’t let up for its full duration. While the composition seems basic, it isn’t, the main loop get more and more progressive with each cycle. Bass blips, heavy drums are interlaced with delicate synths and brooding vocals.

 

 

For all its excellence there are two downsides. Firstly it’s too short. Three minutes isn’t enough for a song of this majesty. While it pops and locks in all the right places and sounds amazing on loop, some sections could have been extended, or repeated. The second downside is that due Eloq and Kid Antoine probably won’t work together for a while. This is the biggest shame as, personally speaking, they’re on to something fresh and exciting and they need to release a fully formed EP, or dare I say, album!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five albums in and showing no signs of running out of ideas Mr. Scruff truly is a renaissance man

 

 

Mr. Scruff is back! Five years have passed since Ninja Tuna was released, but Mr. Scruff (Andrew Carthy) has returned with a career high. There are less obvious samples than on previous outings, but this is replaced with a new sense of musicality. There are more collaborations than on previous albums and the songs are shorter and more concise. The music is more bass heavy. If you only listen to Carthy’s studio albums this might come as a sudden departure from 2008’s Ninja Tuna, but if you heard the three singles he released in between you can see the connection.

 

 

Apart from the title and cover, the album is relatively pun free. Animal references have been replaced with, for want of a better expression, proper songs with verses choruses and middle eight’s! The songs aren’t just grown up in their lyrical content it’s their composition too. Although their structure is similar wobbly bass and wonky drums, this isn’t music by numbers. For the first time in a long time Carthy has shown that he is a full blown producer. My only complaint is that on some of the tracks vocals aren’t needed. Half of the songs have guest vocalists. The songs are strong enough on their own. I hope instrumental versions are on their way…

 

 

Over all this is the album the Mr. Scruff needed to make. It shows that there are more strings to his bow than sea life jokes, plus being one of the world’s best DJ’s doesn’t hurt either. Here he demonstrates that he can hold his own in the serious world of bass music. Whether he’ll stay in this arena for his next album remains to be seen. The chances are probably not, but at the moment he should be proud that he has tried something slightly different and kept it very unreal.

 

 

7/10

 

 

Mr. Scruff – Stereo Breath

 

 

May 2014

 

 

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Quantic

 

 

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