“Lots of ‘killing it’ going on, in a nice way” – Fader
“Whooshing piano and synth melodies carry his tracks into the heat of the night” – Trash Menagerie
“Sharing an affinity to the perplexingly infectious synthesized grooves of labels like Night Slugs and Hum + Buzz” – Sonic Router
Support from Mumdance, Ikonika, Blackdown, Braiden, Kingdom, XXXY, Optimum, Martelo, Canblaster, Bowly
The last two Senseless releases have been all about tropical music from tropical places, whether that’s tribal drums from Venezuela (Zarbak EP) or roots meets future from Jamaica (Max Romeo – Protest EP). For the last release of the 2010 we continued searching the globe for the best international bass music and found something unexpected: music with warm tropical energy of from a very cold place. Ladies and gentlemen we’re proud to introduce The Phantom aka 23 year old Bartosz Kruczynski from Warsaw, Poland. This is his debut EP but the eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed his sterling remix work for countrymen Supra1 on Trouble & Bass or his slot on Top Billin’s PL Funky compilation.
The Phantom’s sound is built around a rhythmic template that shapeshifts somewhere between skeletal UK Funky, speaker shaking R&B and deep house wired up to glacial synths and deep, deep sub bass. He’s got a sound that’s all his own, doubtless the result of interpreting UK bass music from a distance, free to experiment and pull together a diverse set of influences ranging from Altern-8 and Mr Fingers to Deep Teknologi and Jam City. Echoes of the past reverberate with new school values, it’s what Senseless is all about.
The EP has three original tracks: there’s ‘Night Game’, shades of classic 90s R&B bounce along with the kind of synthetic marimbas that make you wish Brandy would jump on a lay some vocals down. Then there’s lushly orchestrated ‘Connect The Dots’, which balances the rough with the smooth with precision and sounds like Floating Points gone to the rave. ‘Girl’ completes the trilogy: punchy, minimal production foregrounds a lush old-school piano riff matched up with tuff carnival drums.
We’ve pulled together three of the very best future bass producers to re-interpret the tracks: Brenmar is currently making tidal waves stateside with his blend of hip-hop, juke and UK bass, here he rewires ‘Girl’ with an insistent juke style clap, splices in some new vocals and lays down some seriously crisp drum work. UK house hero Hackman gets his Bladerunner strings on for a deep reimagining of ‘Night Game’ keeping things on a two step flex that switches things up from his recent 4×4 output. Finally Phantom’s Polish pal Zeppy Zep turns in a completely epic remix of ‘Night Game’ switching up somewhere in the middle from brooding Zomby style digi-garage to carnival house. One of the best ever releases on the label finishing our best ever year. Only one thing could make it better: our 5th birthday celebrations next year with ltd edition releases from the cream of the global bass crop. 2011 here we come.
The phrase ‘tropical’ is currently getting used to describe a lot of different music; some good, some bad, some ugly. To save on confusion Senseless went out and travelled the world to find some music from the actual tropics, Venezuela to be precise. Somewhere buried deep in the mysterious rainforest, or possibly just in a studio in Caracas, they found Pocz and Pacheko. It’s so near the equator maybe we can ditch the ‘tropical bass’ tag and go for something new, ‘equatorial bass’ perhaps? Maybe not.
Pacheko, Francisco Mejia, will be familiar to some for his solo releases on Lo Dubs, Murder Channel, Seclusiasis and for his work with legendary Venezualan expat Cardopusher. His partner in bass Pocz (Carlos Majoral) is a classically trained musician and production engineer. Along with a select few others they run Abstractor, a collective of producers, artists and designers, who promote parties, run a blog and do a fine job of representing bass music in Venezuela pretty much solo. The collective includes graphic artist Design or Die who is responsible for the incredible artwork and pretty special video for ‘Zarbak’.
Together by day Pocz and Pacheko run a sound design studio in the rum fuelled pressure cooker of political and social unrest that is Caracas. Their training in high-end audio engineering is evident in the quality and weight of the production. Nights are spent in the tropical heat cooking up beats. Over the years an audio diet that includes salsa, merengue, reggaeton and other local music mixed with old jungle tapes, Rinse FM sets and lots of dub has helped them to build a unique and captivating sound that combines all those things.
The spirit of hardcore, jungle and garage from the UK are all evident from the UK Funky rhythms and rumbling sub bass in ‘Zarbak’ to the melancholy melodic refrains of ‘Dorado’ but there’s something else there too. There’s something tribal in the drums that taps into a deep history of Latin American percussive rhythms and adds a dimension that is clearly their own. If UK bass is about the energy and pressure of the city at night then Caracas bass about the point where the intensity of the city meets the wide open space of the jungle, the beach and the mountains under a carpet of stars. Put the needle on the record, close your eyes and imagine it. Also, there’s remixes from Brackles (Blunted Robots/Planet Mu) and Mr Gasparov(Soul Jazz).
Support from Starkey, Donna Summer, Laurent Garnier, The Captain (Trouble & Bass), Slugabed, Chrome Kids, Riskoteque.
Senseless have always believed that the spirit of rave never died, it’s everywhere, but now in 2010 we’ve discovered that spirit distilled into its purest form, let’s call it essence of rave. Kanji Kinetic makes it, a monstrous hybrid of electro, bassline, jungle and, yes, rave. It doesn’t just deny classification, it smashes it to pieces. These tracks look backwards but sound like the future, they’re cheeky but deadly serious, they’re rough and smooth, sweet and sour, bouncy, wonky, hyper and just a little bit insane. In short, the ultimate party music.
The EP is a game of two halves, easing you in at 140 BPM with a wonky mixture of future-bassline and pitch bent synths (ToyGuns) then rolling into the monstrous Scientist. Reach-for-the-lazers rave stabs and scorching bass collide to make something seriously dangerous. We then take a quick diversion for a remix from Kaiser, a newcomer with releases coming on Starkey’s Slit Jockey, who twists Toy Guns into a devastating mix of grime, 8bit bleeps and UK Funky syncopation, this is what it sounds like to be one of those ghosts being eaten by Pacman.
Next up we turn up the pace for ‘New Era’, weighing in at 175 BPM, it’s the fastest thing we’ve ever released but its half time weight makes it feel like jungle chopped and screwed in the fifth dimension. Quite simply it has the biggest drop you will hear this year, possibly ever. It’s jungle tempo but drop this in a dubstep set and watch the floor ignite. The title track, Zombiezz also rocks 175 BPM on the half time but does it 4×4, cheeky cartoon samples and strings building to another seismic sub frequency workout.
Finally Zombiezz gets two remixes, Cracks turn in something pretty special, taking things back down to 140 and turn in a mix they’re calling ‘Horror House’, a visceral mixture of techno, grime and lots of bass. Then just for fun we asked legendary breakcore producer Johnny Sideways to see if he could make Zombiezz a little harder, and he did. Enjoy!
NB New Era and Zombiezz are being released as a split with our good pals Tigerbeat6, thanks guys.
Out now on vinyl and digital download, thanks to everyone supporting!
PLAYS FROM: Mistajam on 1xtra, Review in Mixmag, Skream, Vex’d, Baobinga, Tomb Crew, Octapush, Starkey, Warlock, Kanji Kinetic, Sterotyp, Laurent Garnier.
Ghosttown ft Badness & Dajla – You Know
Ghosttown – Greezy (Instrumental)
Ghosttown ft Badness & Dajla – Greezy (DZ Remix)
Ghosttown ft Badness & Dajla – Greezy (Numan Remix)
Ghosttown ft Badness & Dajla – Greezy (Murlo Soca Remix)
Ghosttown ft Badness & Dajla – Greezy (Cracks Remix)
Like his spectral namesake Simon Booth aka Ghosttown has spent the last few years obscured, half out of sight as a producer hiring out his futuristic beat-science to a string of heavy hitting MCs including Foreign Beggars and Skrein here in the UK and a clutch of artists across the Atlantic including Guilty Simpson, Oh No, Frank and Dank and Dudley Perkins from the Dilla/Stones Throw axis of the hip hop spectrum.
His debut release started life like most of his productions, on a beat tape with another 80 or so one minute tracks, all vital snapshots charged with the excitement of what might happen with the right MC but there was something special about the original ‘Greezy’. It wires up squelching formant synths to insistent, minimal drums sounding like a 2010 UK-bass update to Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’ but at 145 BPM with speaker damaging sub.
This devastating but unusual collision of sounds needed a versatile MC and Badness was top of the list. Known for his early work with Lava Unit and Terror Danjah as well as last year’s carnival smash ‘Message is Love’ with Jammer and Silverlink Birmingham born Badness’ star is on the rise.‘You Know’ as the track became features his signature double time bashment/grime flow and a killer hook sung by cosmic-soul powerhouse Dajla. The Parisian born singer is a Radio Nova favourite who has collaborated with Wax Tailor, Foreign Beggars and celebrated hip hop poet Anthony Joseph. The resulting track is unmistakably UK but with a bashment flavour, wonky dancehall?
The vinyl remix comes from DZ (Hot Flush/Tru Tiger) who delivers a mix that turbo charges the dancefloor elements of the track to come up with multi coloured low end work out. Digital only mixes come from rising star Numan who has already done a session for Mary Anne Hobbes and flips the original to come up with a menacing slice of ice cold grime. Resident at Brighton’s Square Roots and Angry Dance Party DJ Murlo cranks it up a notch with his debut remix, a soca destoyer that should bring a ray of Caribbean sunshine to the winter months. Last but not least Cracks rework the original in to a grimy bassline/electro crossover monster.
Senseless will release a Ghosttown album in the future featuring vocalists including Frank & Dank, Olivier Daysoul, Badness, YT, Navigator, Killa P and more.
Support from Numan, Vex’d, Octapush, Stereotyp, Bok Bok
Hitting you below the belt and sounding a 2010 cross between Lil Kim, Rye Rye and The Cool Kids, Senseless are very proud to present their first artist from the US of A. Cheasleauen (Shass-Lowen) is Detroit native now living in Las Vegas with all the style, sex and attitude of Sin City present and correct in her sound. It’s hard-hitting rap with a fiery temper mixed up with futuristic electro beats and a good girl gone bad attitude. Add insane remixes from wonky-gloop-step man of the moment Slugabed (Stuff/Ramp/Planet Mu), new boy Murlo (Square Roots) and Senseless’ resident beat scientist Ghosttown and you have yourself a hot little package.
After hearing her music on the Generation Bass blog Senseless reached outcross the Atlantic to sign Cheasleauen up quicker than losing $500 on the roulette tables. The first fruit of the new deal is, ‘Off The Glass’, an ode to doing that thing that people like doing: drinking. The original sits precise rhymes over an insistent minimal electro beat with a chorus so boozy it makes you want to leap through the swinging doors of the nearest saloon immediately and grab yourself a bottle of Dom P.
Let’s ditch the hyperbole, the Slugabed mix is incredible. Taking the original rap and transforming it absolutely and completely into a squelching slice of wonky space acid. Echoes of French electro mixed with all that’s good about the current crop of forward marching UK beat makers, this one if ready for DJs from any genre. Big room, small room or bedroom you will dance when this is played.
Another new Senseless discovery Murlo serves up some cracked-out house music in a carnival-on-mushrooms style. A 4×4 soca rhythm in the UK funky mould takes a left turn with a wild pitched vocal chorus and some psychedelic percussion, dancefloor energy for late, late nights.
Last but not by any means least Ghosttown steps in to provide what can only be described as two certified bangers. Leaping off from the Neptunes school of beat making, his remix of ‘Off The Glass’ is jabbing white noise and percussive synths plus his own take on those drunk horns and a touch of gangsta whine to get your lean on. Finally he remixes a killer vocal from Cheasleauen’s latest mixtape for the bonus track, flipping Fire over a digital Miami Vice sunset. Watch out for another Cheasleaun single coming early 2010 and a full album not far behind.
Boomkat said: Bassbin rocking dubstep progressions from Yorkshire bass fiend Deville for Senseless recs. ‘Rumble’ rules the A-side with an overwhelming display of bass prowess holding up a mean ragga cut dubstep riddim, but it’s ‘Stamina’ on the other side that gets three thumbs up for the party starting soca riddim and pure bass pressure styles that align very nicely with the grimier Funky House rhythms of Skepta or Benga and Coki’s huge ‘Night’. Guaranteed bass pleasures.
We Said: This is DeVille’s first release on the label but as well as running The Fix Up in Leeds and hosting a show on SUBFM he’s a fixture at all Senseless raves and has just completed a seven date tour of the USA showcasing the label’s sound mixed up with his own diverse set of influences. Rumble proved to be a big hit stateside and has featured on a XLR8R podcast with regular plays from DJs like Starkey who push the street bass sound that is dubstep’s close neighbour. It hot-wires a jump up soca style beat to old school rave melodies and box busting bass to create a genre defying mix-up that dubstep DJs across the world are switching up their sets with. Regular plays across the board on SUBFM, Dubstep.FM, Reload and more. Stamina continues the bassrave theme with a jungle sample for heads to reminisce over while the rest of the crowd are bouncing up and down like they got glow stick juice in their eye. Raucous 4×4 beats and a driving arpeggiated synth propel a wall of junglist sub bass forward with dub echoes and techno percussion joining the dots. This one’s been tearing down warehouses from Athens to Caracas. Bass rave for president 2008.
The debut from Capt Jack, now of Tectonic fame. Still one of our favourites, two seismic pieces of classic bass weight. Salute!
By far by far the sickest thing on the excellent Senseless label to date, Jack Sparrow here delivers two tracks of pure unadulterated BASS goodness for darker heads among you to enjoy. “Spam Purse” oozes atmosphere and a quasi-Sino template that typifies so many tracks at the moodier end of the dubstep spectrum, odd chord structures and a heaving mass of weighty low-end making this a 2-am warehouse standard – brilliant stuff. “Blackout” on the flip is even better, another relentlessly heavy low-end session that’s punctuated with a bassline that anchors itself to the track with such steely determination that everything else about it starts to fade into the background. Killer stuff – play super LOUD!
The debut from Sasquatch and another weighty one from Sarantis. First EP mastered at Transition too.
“Badman Dub” is just about the heaviest, darkest thing we’ve heard for time – the kind of deadly bass-cosh that should come with a low-end warning on the front – aided and abbeted by some of the nastiest metallic snares imaginable and distant rave sweeps that will pummell you into submission if you were brave enough to stand in its way – mighty, truly darkcore stuff that ain’t for the faint-hearted. “Doll’s Eyes” on the flip sends out shards of clunking percussion before settling into another menacing arrangement of almost unbearable bass drops and all kinds of nastiness propagating the mix with pure toughness – HEAVY is the operative word kids. Sick.
Fetish was one of those tunes that tore the dance apart from Sub Dub in Leeds to DMZ London, original players like Chef were rinsing this one. Omerta is another slice of dark, almost industrial electronics from Sasquatch.
Another gargantuan transmission from Senseless, with Sarantis and Sasquatch manning the controls for an abrasive mash-up, heavy styles. Sasquatch’s “Omerta” opens the flip with a metallic tumble that’s almost too harsh for its own good – for once the signature bass drop being nowhere to be found for the first couple of minutes, before things get decidedly heavier and on-point when it finally makes its weighty introduction. Sarantis take over the flipside with a more spacious number, all wobbly bass stabs and oscillating synths – a nauseating experience in the most exhilarating sense, particularly for those of you who like yr dubstep served wide and heavy. Killer!