the City of Bass crates 2011 review

by on December 31, 2011 in releases

As the year nears it’s last day, I hit the crates and dug through all of the electro grooves I recommended over at City of Bass to come up with some of the highlights of 2011.

It’s been a good year for electro, with tons of new producers and labels joining the ranks, old school heads delivering the goods, and the continued development of drum n bass producers joining the electro ranks and putting out pure unkut quality grooves. This by no means is a definitive list, but are mos def cuts worth checking out if you haven’t already. With that, here’s the must-have joints in no particular order…

AS1 – Solar Lifestyle EP [Last Known Trajectory]
GRAB

Morphed, twisted and phreaked cuts that combine the dirty-east-berlin-club-stale-cigarette-smeared-lipstick style strings with hardcore blown-speakers miami bass beats that smack it down, flip it and rub it good.

Mars Frequency Records Label Compilation Volume One
GRAB

After doing this for 11+ years, you’d thing I’d be tired of electro music, but if anything, the new breed of producers showcased on this comp is making me hungry to up my own production game and get back in the studio.

Pip Williams & The Hidden Persuader – The First Replicators EP [Shameless Toady]
GRAB

Absolutely stellar futuristik funk from Pip Williams and The Hidden Persuader on this collab effort for Shameless Toady.

Komarken Electronics – Granular Material EP [Solar One]
GRAB

This is clearly influenced from the Drexciya/Dopplereffekt school of production, and it’s done extremely well. There’s a reason so many cats try to capture the spirit of that classic sound, and to be honest a lot of them are half-assing it. No shots though. This isn’t one of those however… every cut is a stand out.

Boddika – Electron [Swamp 81]
GRAB

The title track Electron on this two track 12″ EP is brilliantly hypnotic electro, showcasing those lauded drum n’ bass production skills that I’m always on about. This shit bangs.

Versalife – Night Time Activities Part One [Clone West Coast Series]
GRAB

This one’s for the headphone mellow crew. Incredibly well produced and vibin’, I saw some folks describing this as Detroit, but to me it sounds like the best vibes from Eye Q and Recycle or Die from back in the day, not that these sounds are dated in anyway though.

Datawelt – Human Technology [Superdisko Recordings]
GRAB

A nice tidy little package of electro lush grooves. Both label and artists are based out of Vienna, Austria. Anyone remember the Mas 2008 album from years ago? This has that same deep Elektrolux electro space vibe going on.

The Exaltics – 1000 Lights In The Sky [Bunker]
GRAB

Back in the 90s when I first started buying vinyl, there came a point when I didn’t even have to listen to certain labels when I went on Friday’s to prep for Saturday night’s radio show. The track record was so consistently dope, I bought these sound unheard. I get the same vibe when I see that The Exaltics are dropping new releases – crazy deep space exploration shizzle that manages to tweak the brain frequencies and get the booties shakin’ when it counts.

Scape One – Altered Carbon [Napalm]
GRAB

Voodoo rays peaking through dark clouds. On the horizon the outline of abandoned factory buildings. Inside the bunker, an up-for-it crowd riding the wave of synth washes, weaving and bobbing basslines embedded with the DNA of May, Atkins and Saunderson. This is the sound of the 4-tracker from Scape One, Altered Carbon.

Microthol – Supergravity [Trust Records]
GRAB

Deep introspective puffa and a cuppa electro groovers from the mighty Microthol.

Dagobert & Kalson – Astronaut EP [Dominance Electricity]
GRAB

What I find most interesting about this record, and in general across most of the DE releases, is that they really capture this crazy vibe of modernizing the classic electro sound. This shit doesn’t sound old school, it doesn’t sound new school… it just sounds like what one images electro would sound like in 2011 if you were pontificating on that in 1991. You can tell these are cats who follow the Rakim school of thought – know where you’re from but it’s where you’re at that counts.

Tudor Acid – The Wrong Side of Day Part 7 [Tudor Beats]
GRAB

Incredibly lush, succinct piece of electronic acid electro that will stay in your box for a good long time. Perfect for deep sets or head.phon bud sessions. Did you like Elecktroids, James Stinson’s side project of deep analogue electro goodness? Then you need to listen to Glass Doors (Tudor Acid Remix) right now.

Trevino – Chip [3024]
Purchase

This cut absolutely kills it, hands down, bar none. Producers – step your game up. And I mean that, because if cat’s like Instra:mental and Marcus Intalex are coming in and making electro beats now, it’s only a matter of time before this little underground electro scene blows the funk up and your competition is about to get mad real. I don’t want to hear any crying when Oakenfold is releasing Now That’s What I Call Electro on Perfecto;)

See you on the other side of 2012.
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DJ Mad Wax writes about the electro scene daily at City of Bass. Follow him via Twitter.