Despite some notable exceptions, 2008 hasn’t really been a vintage year for dubstep business, at least not the gear that truly gets my toes curling. Going through the years radio playlists, reviews and recent crates, compiling the annual Top 10’s, 20’s and 50’s for various publications and whatnot, there’s plenty of the usual contenders (Shackleton, Skream, Kode9, The Bug etc) alongside a smattering of fresh and established up and comers like the Bristolian beat bandit Joker, Forsaken,Dusk + Blackdown, 6Blocc, South3rn, Darkstar, Martyn, O.S.C., Clouds and Cult Of The 13th Hour making it through the filter. There’s always some gems that you miss, going back through a years worth of tunes on varying formats – it’s the nature of the beast. The other hazard is the inevitable tunes that absolutely do your nut in, just after you’ve made the lists up and sent ’em off. Two that have decidedly wormed their way into my affections recently, and may fall into the latter category, come from a couple of labels that I reckon might be well worth keeping a beady one on in ’09.
Geoim’s Berkane Sol label, out of Nottingham, not only scores points for having a weird name, but they have put out some very fine records over the last couple of years. Their second release definitely got my attention and the third, ‘Feel So Bad’ with delicate dancehall MC Terrible Shock knocked my proverbial socks off. Since then there have been excursions into Indian vocals and instrumentation and more housey/technoid explorations, always with a slighly frayed and twisted disposition. Hopefully the recent mixes of his niteklub-esque ‘Reminissin’, from the likes of Skream, Kode9 and Shackleton may have directed more folks towards the labels charms. Branching out from just his own productions, the latest on Berkane Sol is tag-team affair with the also marvelously monikered Brackles and Shortstuff. It’s the Brackles cut ‘Glazed’ that has been getting the reviews and hype, but typically I favour Shortstuff’s Twin Peaks-ish ‘Never Mine’. With its moody melodies and galloping drums there’s just something quite beguiling about this cut, go on get yer beguille on!