Bass Pilgrimage Pt II: DMZ @ 5 DAYS OFF

Category: , , , , By brockolio

 5 Days Off photos by Andre Eggens
Full Gallery HERE 

Amsterdam's 5 Days Off festival got it's start in 2001 as a spin-off of the annual 10 Days Off festival in Ghent, Belgium; becoming the first multiple day indoor EDM event in Holland.  The festival is centered around the Leidesplein - the entertainment district of the city, where lauded festival venues the Melkweg and Paradiso are both located.

Deviating from standard last minute protocol, Mala announced back in December that the DMZ crew would be a part of this year's festival and bringing a full lineup with them to the Melkweg on Friday night March 4th.  The advanced heads up gave bass junkies a chance to make the necessary arrangements for a whirlwind 24 hours in Amsterdam, before returning to London for the crew's 6th Birthday Bash the following night at Mass nightclub.

The night's lineup consisted of Mala & Coki, Loefah, Kode9, James Blake, Goth-Trad, Kode9 & Spaceape (live), Darkstar (live), Juha, as well as a couple unannounced sets from VIVEK.  And of course, no DMZ would be complete without the ineffable Sgt. Pokes hosting on the mic throughout the course of the evening.


After arriving into Amsterdam Centraal station by train from Schiphol airport, the first order of business was to make the necessary stops at coffee shops Dampkring, Greenhouse, and Barney's to unwind.  Many sustained deep breaths later, I headed over to the Distortion Records shop for some crate-digging and casual loitering.  Rifling through the well-stocked Drum & Bass section, I happened upon a stellar re-issue of Tom & Jerry 'Maximum Style', some timeless jungle from 1994.

A trip to Amsterdam wouldn't be complete without satisfying those relentless munchies with a funnel of the famed vlaamse frites (Flemish fries).  Chipsy King is regarded as one of the prime locations and while a heap of mayonaisse might not seem the most appetizing condiment, it's a far cry from the Hellman's spread we've all grown accustomed to.

After a quick disco nap and the obligatory pint (or 5) of Grolsch, cruised by the Melkweg which was already teeming with anxious festival-goers before the venue's doors had even opened.

Arrived into the main room to find VIVEK playing an impromptu DJ set before his gig at the Radical party down the road later that night.  He started things on a deep and hypnotic eyes down vibe, an ideal start to the marathon night ahead.  Playing an opening set is never an easy task, but it's always impressive seeing a DJ who can show that kind of versatility and knows what his role is during that time slot.

James Blake, whose recent LP could be seen plastered in record shop windows everywhere in Europe, took the stage next.  He played out an array of synth-drenched R&B, even giving the nod to D'Angelo and Beyonce before playing 'Unluck' off of his heralded debut album as well as a few unreleased solo productions.

Kode9 then stepped up for the first of his two sets on the evening, this one a DJ set heavy on material from Hyperdub signees Ill Blu, Funkystepz, and Terror Danjah.  Kode also tipped his cap to the DMZ gang, mixing 'Bury Da Bwoy' out of Girl Unit's 'Wut'.

Loefah's set featured many of the squelching TB-303 stabs and unmistakeable 808 drums from Swamp81 labelmates Boddika and Addison Groove respectiveley.  If you're showing up to Loefah gigs expecting to hear 'Goat Stare' or his earlier trademark halfstep sound, you are going to walk away disappointed.  For those with an open mind and unfailing love of bass regardless of tempo, his sets have been a welcomed breath of fresh air.  Boddika tunes 'Rubba' and 'Soul What' (both forthcoming on Swamp81) as well as Addison Groove's 'Make Um Bounce' were among the many highlights.  The set also included a throwback to 1989 with Tyree Cooper's anthemic 'Turn Up The Bass', as well the untitled Sicko Cell tune that seems inescapable right now.  "Too Much, Too Much, Too Much" indeed.

"I wanna see ya get sluggish with the subs!!"

A minute into their apropos intro of Barrington Levy 'The Vibes Is Right' and Digital Mystikz had the undivided attention of the sold-out crowd with raised lighters flickering throughout the venue.  The blend of 'Goblin' into the 'Eyez VIP' was in the words of Pokes, “A Violation!!!”  'Return II Space' and 'Livin' Different' off of Mala's 'Return II Space' LP also got the rinse during their headlining set.  Coki selections were heavy on the dancehall and reggae vocals with longtime staples 'Burnin' (Richie Spice) and 'Gangster 4 Life' (Mavado) as well as unreleased tunes 'Emergency' (Vybz Kartel) and 'Badman Place' (Busy Signal & Mavado) resonating heavily throughout the peng-fueled audience.

Their unwavering devotion to vinyl and dubplate culture is something that can't be understated.  As it becomes increasingly more convenient for a traveling DJ to tote a laptop or CD wallet then a record bag, coupled with the amount of clubs that have let their turntables go by the wayside; there is still something to be said about the sound integrity of vinyl when played over a punishing soundsystem.  No matter how many countless radio rips and Youtube clips of Mala and Coki's unreleased music that we've all listened to, there is nothing like the physicality of experiencing them live on freshly cut dubs with Pokes hosting on the mic.  It's the way the DMZ sound was meant to be experienced.

Skream was up next and delivered a set that featured crowd-pleasing Magnetic Man tunes, various skreamixes, and assorted bangers; while VIVEK yet again returned to the Melkweg to play an additional 2-hour DJ set in Room 2 for those that craved more of the meditational bassweight.

Goth-Trad, “the beast from the East”, took the stage at 4am to close out the night in the main room.  For anyone that may have their doubts about the future and current state of dubstep, seeing Goth-Trad live should set you straight.  His extremely refreshing set was evidence that there are still producers keeping it real at 140bpm and pushing things forward into new and uncharted territory at that tempo.  Look out for his forthcoming EP release on Deep Medi that's set to drop later this year.  'Air Breaker', which will hopefully see release as well, completely decimated the dance in the early morning hours.

Pro-Tip: When in Amsterdam, set your alarm before partaking in the “coffee.” Learned this one the hard way...

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Mixcloud Monday: Ill Cosby

Category: , By brockolio

01. Gremino 'Time To Heat It Up' [Dub]
02. Cedaa 'Tiffany' [Car Crash Set]
03. Artek 'Holdin'' (Resketch Remix) [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
04. Mista Men 'Hold On' [Greenmoney]
05. KingThing 'La-Di-Da' [Fortified Audio]
06. C.R.S.T. 'The Bells' (Girl Unit Remix) [Car Crash Set]
07. Plastikman 'Ask Yourself' (214 Refix) [Dub]
08. Distal 'Amphibian' [Dub]
09. Pixelord 'Vulvatron' (SRC Remix) [Car Crash Set]
10. +verb 'Wutwutwut' [Dub]
11. q.p 'Sol Jerk' [Dub]
12. 214 'Strackted' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
13. Ill Cosby 'Hong Kong' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
14. Pixelord 'Oh Lord' (Submerse Remix) [Car Crash Set]
15. Ill Cosby 'Gold' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
16. NUMBJAC '12.51 AM' [Dub]
17. Sentinels 'Shimmer' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
18. Pixelord 'Kiwi Dream' (Kastle Remix) [Car Crash Set]
19. Submerse 'Fall In Love' [Dub]
20. Sentinels 'Stay In Love With You Forever' [Dub]
21. Acroplex 'Rude Boy' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
22. Rush'd 'Spring 10 A.M.' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
23. Vandera 'Move On' [Subdepth]
24. By Proxy '68' (Vandera Remix) [Car Crash Set]
25. Aleks Zen 'Higher' (Artek Remix) [Neon Bounty]
26. Ill Cosby 'Midnight Madness' [Dub]
27. i3i3 'Midnight Radio' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]
28. By Proxy 'Human' [Car Crash Set (forthcoming)]

DOWNLOAD (320 kbps)

We're happy to be bringing our Cloudcast series out of it's Winter hibernation with some fresh Spring flavors from Ill Cosby.  Cosby is the Seattle based DJ/producer who also operates the bass music label Car Crash Set.  The label put out over 30 stunning releases in 2010 from the likes of Cedaa, C.R.S.T., Distal, Mista Men, Hissy Fit, 214, as well as a few choice singles from Cosby himself.   C/C/S is showing no signs of slowing down in 2011 with stellar releases from Gremino, Cardopusher, Pixelord and Sentinels now available in all of the usual digital outlets.  His hour-long cloudcast takes you through sounds of the label's past, present, and future; featuring plenty of forthcoming material set for release in the coming months.  Also be on the lookout for our full-length feature on Car Crash Set and an interview with Cosby in the near future.

Portland crew, you can catch Ill Cosby at the Various party (a personal favorite) at Branx on April 2nd alongside 31avas and residents Monkeytek and Ryan Organ.  Serious sound reinforcement by HAS Systems that is sure to have the place bumpin!! 


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Bass Pilgrimage Part I: FWD>>

Category: , , , By brockolio

There are plenty of memories that may have escaped me over the years, but I clearly remember the first time I ever heard 'Earth A Run Red' by Digital Mystikz.  Initially trying to broaden my dancehall horizons, I came into the possession of the Dynamite! Dancehall compilation which released on the Soul Jazz label in early 2006.  While Tippa Irie's 'All the Time the Lyric the Rhyme' and Anthony Red Rose's 'Tempo' were instant dancehall classics, there was one track that I couldn't help but play on repeat.  The tune in question was 'Earth A Run Red' and it immediately set itself apart from every other on the album.  It was built primarily around it's extraterrestrial, melodic bassline and accompanied by only a harrowing Richie Spice vocal sample, leaving it out of place on the vocal heavy compilation that also featured Lady Saw and Wayne Wonder.  Still unsure of what to classify it as, I knew that I needed more of that distinct Digital Mystikz sound in my life.

After tracking down the famed Mystikz mix for the late John Peel's tribute show on Radio1 in 2004, the initial curiosity soon snowballed into a full on bass-fueled obsession.  Resources such as Barefiles were essential to the cause with it's huge backlog of pirate radio shows, DJ mixes, and live sets that aided in many a discovery and education in the genre during it's earlier formative days.  Mary Anne Hobbs' Experimental show on Radio1, along with London pirate and internet radio station all played crucial roles in exposing the world to the sounds of dubstep.

Watching shaky Youtube clips of the DMZ parties over the years and living vicariously through the photos of Ashes57, it was time to finally experience the vibe firsthand and celebrate the event's 6th Birthday this March.  Other bass-centric destinations on the pilgrimage were set to include the legendary FWD» clubnight, 5 Days Off in Amsterdam, Bristol's Dubloaded monthly, as well as a final stop at this year's BLOC festival in Minehead, UK.

Fresh off the plane, the first stop on the journey was to Lava Gallery, the now permanent gallery space of the Lava Collective located at Kingly Court off of Carnaby Street in Soho.  This year has already seen shows from artists Otto Schade and Haervaerk, as well as a stunning collection of photography documenting the early days of dubstep in South London from Drumzofthesouth creator Georgina Cook.

The exhibition currently being shown was 'One For The Heads' and featured the illustrational works of Deep Medi producer Tunnidge.  Not only a badman on the buttons, Tunnidge is also responsible for all of the label's renowned producer portraits and artwork.  A select run of prints were produced by One69a, a few of which are still available for purchase through the LAVA online shop.  Prints of Quest, Tunnidge, and Sgt. Pokes are still for sale and are limited to editions of 20, so don't slack!


photo by Ashes57.

After a quick browse through the Soul Jazz record shop Sounds of the Universe, the next order of business was to chow down on some Nepalese food and preserve energy for the night ahead at underground bass mecca Plastic People.

In 2010, the club located on Curtain Road in Hoxton received a closure notice due to claims of public nuisance and pervasive crime by Metropolitan police.  There was a huge outpouring of support from producers, DJs, and club-goers alike to do what they could to prevent the famed venue from closing it's doors permanently.  The varying backgrounds and musical tastes of the 15,000+ supporters of the Keep Plastic People Alive campaign, spoke to the profound importance of the venue to the musical culture of London.  Remaining closed for two months and undergoing refurbishments during that time, the club eventually reached an agreement with police and Hackney town council, re-opening two months after it's initial closure.  Averting disaster, the situation still serves as a reminder not to take precious places such as Plastic People for granted.

The club has undergone some changes of it's own over the past decade, but it's philosophy of pristine sound and "active darkness" still remains the same.  Aside from the red light illuminating the DJ booth from above, the dancefloor is a completely dark space that allows the music to take center stage.  The revered sound system at Plastic People was something that despite it's reputation, I couldn't fully appreciate until experiencing it for myself.  In each corner of the small, rectangular room hangs a mounted Funktion-One Skeletal Res-4 mid high box with it's instantly recognizable design that's now become synonymous with sound clarity.  Each of the Res-4's are matched with a twin 18” F218 bass enclosure that when combined with the fine-tuned acoustic treatment of the room, creates the overall effect of a full-body massage of low frequencies.  The club itself and it's lack of frills, velvet ropes, and VIP rooms is the perfect home for a party that's focus has always been on the music itself.

FWD» photos by  Full Gallery HERE

"What makes the club unique is its status as a cultural crossroads for the diverse melting pot that is London.  No matter what ends you're from, if you like dark, heavyweight riddims, you reach FWD»." - Martin Clark (Blackdown), 2009.

FWD» is widely recognized as one of the seminal events linked with the inception, growth, and evolution of dubstep before the term itself even existed.  The clubnight initially earned the reputation of a 'producer's party', where producers and DJs gathered together each week to exchange dubs and await a chance to hear how their mixdowns and basslines sounded when played over the club's brutally honest sound system.  Almost 10 years have passed since the initial FWD» in 2001 and the night continues to remain a benchmark event within the complexion of London underground music.  Gone are the days of half empty rooms made up of meticulous train spotting DJs, as the party now pushes the club to it's 200-person capacity on a weekly basis.

Thursday night's lineup was comprised of's Monki, DJ Zinc, Caspa, and Icicle.  Monki got the night started off and warmed up the crowd playing a set that incorporated some choice sounds of Funky as well as some bass-driven French house as well.  With her show on Rinse getting it's feet firmly on the ground and sets upcoming at FWD+Rinse in April as well as this year's Bestival, she is definitely one to keep an eye on in 2011.  London crew, you can also catch her at Gramaphone on March 31st for the Prang night alongside Tomb Crew, The Specialist, and Yoni.

Zinc laid down a bumping set of his signature crack house, a highlight of which was his remix of P-Money- Left The Room vs. SX- Woo Riddim.

"whoa, whoa, whoooah"
"now TAKE it!"

Crazy D then led the charge on the mic during Caspa's set and delivered a wide array of his classic lines.  For added effect, trigger some samples from the Crazy D soundboard before reading on. (via Hyperblazing)

Icicle capped off the night with a set backed by SP:MC.  His highly anticipated 'Under The Ice' LP is set to release next month on Shogun Audio.  The first half of the set focused on some minimal halfstep and autonomic stylings, while the last 30 minutes was full of low slung Drum & Bass rollers.  Icicle & SP:MC also went through a live rendition of the album's single 'Dreadnaught' and kept the tunes running until the lights were switched on promptly at 2am.

Pro Tip:  Head to Brick Lane after FWD» for a late-night sandwich at Beigel Bake.   Go with the Salt Beef with hot English mustard or instead opt for the classic Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon.

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Bassfaced Podcast 013

Category: , By brockolio

1. Sublo - Psyche - Hot N' Heavy
2. Kahn - Helter Skelter - Punch Drunk
3. Illum Sphere - Blood Music (Indigo Remix) - Tectonic
4. Kaiser - Tasty Lazers (Kozee Remix) - Slit Jockey
5. Truth - Dreams Can Never Come True - forthcoming Deep Medi
6. Lurka - Tempted - Black Box
7. Consequence - Dub Bounce - Exit
8. Shackleton - Deadman - Honest Jon's
9. Pangaea - Won't Hurt - Hessle Audio
10. Sublo - Boosh! - Hot N' Heavy
11. Reso - Expansion Radio - Civil Music
12. Morgan Zarate - Hookid - Hyperdub
13. Rustie - Beast Night - Ramp
14. DJ Rashad - Teknitian - Planet Mu
15. DJ Roc - I Can't Control The Feeling - Planet Mu


DJ Coup delivering some serious March madness in our latest podcast. Highlights include tunes from Sublo's recent EP on San Francisco-based label Hot n' Heavy, as well as hot off the presses selections from Kahn's Punch Drunk 12" and Pangaea's latest effort on Hessle Audio; both of which released earlier this week. Also be on the look out for 'Dreams Can Never Come True' by New Zealand production trio Truth, which will be released on Deep Medi on the flip of their revamped 'Fatman VIP'. The mix also wraps up with some hyper-syncopated Chicago footwork cuts from last year's DJ Rashad and DJ Roc releases on Planet Mu.

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