On his sophomore sojourn, Alix Perez goes round the club, making sure light fittings and bar stools are tightly secured, handing out business cards as a sub-bass handyman with a utility belt full of low-end detonators. Balance is everything to the Belgian, simultaneously weighing up light and heavy within tracks, halving the album into migraine makers and the curiously afloat, and the neon-streaked against the pitch black for club cravers versus headphone retreaters.
Surgical scales become a must when calculating glitch, dubstep, hip-hop and drum & bass as a liquid synthesis armed with megaton weight, where “Playing Games” prepares to dive into Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” as the essence of grace under fire. The velvet-crunched “Broken Heart” is up to splashing daintily to a Destiny’s Child sample, charming you amidst maximalist foliage; “Annie’s Song” capitalises on synth elasticity for an R&B wind and grind, and “YDK” slides into post-dubstep with ease.
Laser-guided bunker transmissions “Shadows” and “Move Aside” completely blow the hypercolour off the map, though one gripe is that the gargantuan bass can spread itself too thin. Despite running as a logical multiple threat, unhealthily grimy hip-hop slugger “Monolith,” featuring UK heroes Foreign Beggars and Jehst, shares the same subwoofer lawlessness as “Villains 1 Heroes 0,” “Blueprint” and Phace & Misanthrop scrap “Burn Out.” Why change the swing of a wrecking ball doing its job though? And because of the contrasts working with and against one another, Perez prevails.
A turntablist turned dubstep detontator, seduced by gigantic wobbles being able to hit the big time, DJ Kentaro’s kitchen sink mentality is a mere half-hour long, the development of stylus wrecker to Japanese exocet having him breathe fire and running the city into a fever. The cut and dice never leaves him, intelligently worked into “Crossfader” and electro-funk ease-up “Next Page,” and there’s more than enough hip-hop firepower — DJ Krush, D-Styles, Kid Koala, C2C — to bill Contrast as a purely multi-deck throwdown. “Kikkake” and “Higher” however immediately state his intentions to push the plunger down on billowing, chaos-in-Metropolis, midrange dubstep/drumstep, made for snapping stadiums into a state of smithereens. State of the art for sure, even if it’s following a fast becoming long tradition – massive sounding, but in reality engineered spotlessly.
UK mega-mouths Foreign Beggars are the perfect power boosters for “Step In”, and the same goes for ragga runners of de dance MC Zulu on “Big Timer” and Fire Ball on “Fire Is On”, turning what was already a demolition job into a game of wrecking balls playing dodgeball. You’re actually getting your money’s worth out of 30 minutes – too much more would’ve been overload, such is Kenatro’s unflinching bass/synth bloodlust that will estrange those wanting an exhibition of crabs and juggles, but will get a helluva lot more of the market onside. File under: Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Pendulum, Sub Focus
We all savor mixes from our favorite DJs, but it’s always good to taste some new DJ blood. Meet Alejo Gonzales, the South Florida-based force behind Invader!, a project that serves up a melange of dubstep, electro house, drumstep and drum ‘n’ bass. In a rather short period of time Gonzales has issued tracks on Royal One Records and Heavy Artillery Recordings, and he’s also put the Invader! stamp on official remixes for bands like The Anix, Ketura and Aerodrone. Have a listen to his Big Shot Guest Mix featuring some of his own productions and tunes by South Central, Knife Party, Foreign Beggars and Camo & Krooked that clocks in an one hour (!) and tell us what you think. Download and enjoy.