Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Boofy - Nank EP (Tumble Audio)

Person 1: “Boofy's really been on a roll recently”
Person 2: “Since when?”
Person 1: “Yeah”

Nottingham label Tumble Audio have had an excellent year. Receiving heavy support across all platforms from a host of DJs (not least Marcus Nasty, Brackles, Slackk and Madam X) they've been steadily making a name as a reliable source of quality club orientated bass music. For 006 they've enlisted Boofy who himself has been having a great few months; Since When was released on Kahn and Neek's Bandulu Records and he's started his own label with collaborator Lemzly Dale. Their 12” was released to virtually universal acclaim. Thus there were high hopes when we first got wind that he had turned his mind to his first solo grime EP...

The title track, Nank, has all the hard-hitting brilliance we've come to expect from Boofy. Hi-hats skitter, claps punch on and off beat indiscriminately and a cut up bass provides the lead. Plenty of sub-bass movement reminds us of his dubstep background while roaming square waves float in and out of the general soundscape. Underneath it all, though, lies a terrifying sense of menace contributed to by the sparse arrangement, the violent samples and the relentlessness of the drum programming.

The other Boofy production on the EP is the aptly titled Warzone, perhaps best described as Nank's hyperactive younger cousin. The riddim switches up not every 8 bars but every 4. Once again faint rumblings from the sub-woofer testify that this music built for and best enjoyed in dark club rooms with big rigs. Intricate rhythms are strung together with ease as Boofy manages once more to make a complex arrangement sound spacious.

Remixes are provided by fellow Bristolian grime artist Hi5ghost and funky producer Nativ. Hi5ghost's remix of Nank makes explicit all of the violent undertones present in the original with an 8 bar remix. Tough square bass stabs are punctuated forcefully by a kick-snare combo that would wreak all sorts of havoc in the club. Nativ's Nank is a UK Funky belter that is as rude as it is infectiously danceable. Dark and sinister, the track builds and builds to a second drop will have punters clambering over each other to reload it.

In short, Boofy (and Tumble Audio!) have done it again.

TUM006 is out now

Monday, 4 November 2013


One man that seems to be working harder than almost everyone else at the moment is Southampton based producer Zha. Championed by DJs such as Spooky and Slackk, I caught up with the man himself for the second installment of the Musically Mad interview series.

Download the mix here

First of all, for everyone not already aware, can you briefly introduce yourself...

Hi! I'm a grime, garage & UK funky producer that makes music under the alias Zha. I'm based in the outer skirts of West London and currently studying Mathematics at the University of Southampton. Not exactly your cliché grime producer but that isn't really a problem these days! aha!

How long have you been involved in music? What made you start producing?

I don't really know why I started making music but it must have been about 2003 when I first got Fruity Loops and, like every producer in the whole world, I made hip-hop, really bad hip-hop. I did this for about two years. I then heard early dubstep and began a more serious approach to music under my Seizure alias.

This music was deep and influenced by Indian, Arab and general ethnic sounds. From 2005 to 2012 I was making deep music and was given the chance to be a BBC Introducing artist amongst other amazing opportunities. It wasn't until November 2012 that I decided to set up the Zha alias. I've always been a grime kid but because of the scene I was involved in I didn't want to affiliate grime with Seizure.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of a grime alias? Was there a frustration at the sort of beats that were prominent at the time?

I've been making grime since 2005 or 2006 but due to my alias constraints, I couldn't put it out there. I suppose it came to a point when I made a Grime track and was just angry that I didn't have a medium to put it out on. And yep, the music that was out and about last year wasn't too great. It's absolutely mental how many incredible producers are hovering in the underground and I wanted to be one of them. I had a strong plan for the year and what I wanted to achieve in terms of remixes, people I really wanted to give my tracks to and how I put out my music to gain exposure and develop a following.

Tell us about your rood.fm radio show...

So my show is on Thursday every week from 4pm till 6pm. Before I say anything, I have to shout out Beeno, Fish & Pixel for their incredible work and effort into putting together such a professional station. It is coming upto three years of being on Rood FM and I think as it stands, I'm the only Grime show. I probably get the lowest level of people being locked in ahaha but it is because it isn't a grime radio station, but this is the exact reason why I keep doing it. Places like Nasty, Wavey and Deja Vu are incredible platforms to push grime, but to people who already love it. I want to have a platform where there isn't any awareness and cultivate a fresh following.

I hear that! Radio is something I feel quite strongly about. I think grime would be a stronger and more unified scene if more people were involved in radio (as musicians and as listeners). It's just as important for MCs.

I think MCs have a harder task of being "liked" or recognised. If someone doesn't like their vibe, no matter how much radio they do or what they achieve, people can be quite stubborn. As producers, we can make a a million tracks that people don't like but make one that turns someone. Radio would be an amazing place for MCs to experiment or try out new flows and what not, saying that, I now want someone to jump on my Rood sets... ahah!

You're involved in running a number of labels. Tell us about the different sounds you're pushing?

Yep! I don't want to chat about all of them as this section will get really boring, but I'll mention two of them. Fent Plates is a label that is now three years old and released over 50 artists along with plenty of vinyl releases. The sound is deep, sometimes uplifting, sometimes sad music. We're quite "anti-synth" on the label and the key aim is to put out timeless music.

The other label is White Peach which is the complete opposite to Fent Plates. White Peach is a label, vinyl pressing service, digital mastering service and Grime & UK Funky specialist record store. The label aspect of White Peach is to push any form of dance floor music. The next 12" is huge for the Grime scene... I'll say no more.

What should people expect from you in the near future?

So, I have the Jackie Chan EP dropping on Bandcamp soon, we're still filming the music video which is just plain stupid. I have my Dullah Beatz - Kill Confirmed Remix coming out soon and my Spooky - Coolie Joyride Remix coming out on 12" via Ghost House Records. I have two vinyl releases coming out on two different labels, but I'm not sure if I should talk about it yet! I have a bootleg Remix pack coming out for free once my Facebook page hits 500 likes, it has about 6 remixes. I think I have forgotten a bunch of stuff, but this'll do!

Thanks for the interview, any shout outs?

Toooo many to shout out and if I start listing people then people will get pissed when I don't mention them specifically. Big up to everyone that is playing my music on radio and in clubs and to every single person that follows me on Soundcloud, Twitter or Facebook. I've only had this alias for 1 year (mid-November) but it's been a pretty good journey so far! :)

Lethal Bizzle - Leave It Yeah (Zha Remix) [Dub]
Zha - Seduction [Dub]
Zha - Ill Riddim [Dub]
Zha - Warp Feat. Rival [Self-released]
Zha - Deckle Riddim [Forthcoming]
Tempa T - Next Hype (Zha Remix) [Dub]
Zha - Dented [UK Bass Music]
Synikall - Man Like Me [Rub a duck]
Zha - Midnight [UK Bass Music]
Zha - Fall To The Side [Forthcoming]
Zha - Muck [Self-released]
Spooky - Coolie Joyride (Zha Remix) [Forthcoming Ghost House 12"]
Zha - Alexandra Palace [Forthcoming]
Rebound X - Rhythm 'n' Gash (Zha Remix) [Forthcoming Block24]
Zha - Jackie Chan [Forthcoming]

Thursday, 10 October 2013

10 Producer Shout-Outs This Week

These guys are killing it at the moment.
1. Treble Clef. The legendary producer behind Ghetto Kyote drops a vibrant, musical mixtape on Spyro's Dragon Punch Records label. Cop Here.
2. Slackk. October sees the boxed resident release perhaps his best work yet in the form of the Failed Gods EP on Local Action Records. Not one to miss. Cop Here.
3. OH91. Bristolian producer OH91 releases his militant Stealth on Coyote Records backed with perhaps an even more violent remix(!) by Spooky. Cop Here.
4. Trends. On his label Mean Streets, the exciting young producer has organised a remarkable set of remixes. Cop Here.
5. Splurt Diablo. His long awaited J3 EP is out on Oil Gang. Dark, menacing grime at it's finest. Cop Here.
6. Spooky. Also now out on Oil Gang are the Coolie Joyride Remixes. Provided by Murlo, Sir Pixalot, Trends and Samename, this is one of the hottest releases of the year. Cop Here.
7. Rabit. The “mad texan scientist” follows the groundbreaking Double Dragon EP with another fantastic release on Disktopia. Cop Here.
8. Kelela. She linked up with several Fade to Mind associated producers to create this RnB mixtape. No, it's not grime (mostly) but yes, it is fantastic. Cop Here.
9. Jam City. Finally, a Jam City Club Constructions release! Eagerly anticipated, it does not disappoint. Cop Here.
10. Logos. Before his album on Keysound drops, Logos first serves up a collaborative EP with fellow wizard Mumdance. Brutal and brilliant. Cop Here.

Monday, 23 September 2013

OH91 - Stealth (Coyote Records)

Part of the beauty of instrumental grime at the moment is the huge variety of styles that are being produced all over the world. From the hard-hitting, minimal work of producers like Rabit and Logos through the dark, rollers of producers such as Wen and Epoch to more emotive music like some of the tracks by JT and Murlo it's clear that throughout grime there is a healthy diversity.

Tomas Fraser's imprint, however, have a very clear mission statement. Coyote Records are only interested in bruising club weapons. The unifying theme across the first four releases also holds true with their latest offering by OH91. A member of Bristol collective Sureskank, OH91 has been causing a stir with his remixes and specials (perhaps most notably his percy remix). Stealth is one of his original productions however; backed with a Spooky remix, COY005 is an excellent reminder that grime can be at it's most inspired when it is functionalist, high energy, club music.

Stealth is built around a relentless bassline that drives the track forward. Blasts of percussion add rhythmic interest while a tough square wave synth hits in 8bar style in this minimal in structure, maximal in sound banger. On the remix Spooky takes the hint of 8bar in the original and runs with it, flipping the track into a punchy 8bar riddim that transforms into a halfstep stomper two and a half minutes in.

A devastating 12”. Not one to sleep on.

COY005 is out on vinyl and digital on October 21.