Donation Dubs 006: March 2020

We're back again with another instalment of Donation Dubs, sharing some of our favourite tracks found while digging online each month.

With artists, the music industry and society in general feeling the impact of coronavirus, its even more important to give our direct support to the scene.

Because of that, we’ve switched up the format a bit. This month, there are two sections: one for free or pay-what-you-choose downloads as per usual, and the other for releases that have a fixed price but that are an absolute bargain. The aim is to supply you with low cost, high quality tunes, while pushing to help artists in these challenging times.

This time around, there are double the entries - 12 rather than the usual 6 - so there’s bound to be something that catches your ear. And as another added extra, you can check out our Donation Dubs 006 mix on SoundCloud, exclusively featuring tracks from this list, at the bottom of the page.

Have a scroll, have a listen, and support the artists who catch your ear!

Fixed Price Bargains:

Sukh Knight – Unreleased Dubs
Shifting between grime and dubstep, East London veteran producer Sukh Knight has made some of the most infectious 140 beats around, and this collection of unreleased dubs from the last few years is no different. A real treat is the Killa P and Black Josh vocalled "Head Shot", with both mic men riding the ice cold beat with style and ease. Meanwhile, "Chicken Curry 2014 VIP" and "Hand Of Buddha" pull no punches with their deep stepper power, and "Flammable" and "Invaderz" are a kick into distortion-heavy overdrive.


Mystry – The Vault Vol. 1
This set of 14 beats from producer Mystry twists together restrained, atmospheric cuts like "Loading", "Jade", "Dynamite 33" and "Viella", sub-heavy creepers like "Family Ties" and "One Up", and the sudden ragged force of "Level 1" into one special release. From the intro to the outro, it all comes together as a perfect showcase of what he's capable of.

J Beatz – Bits N Pieces
Consisting of unreleased tracks made in the last 7 years, this incredible selection of Bits N Pieces features both remixes and original creations from the Crown Jules founder. It's clear that J Beatz pulls inspiration from all sorts of musical sources. As well as including remixes of  Donae'o's "Chalice", the "Intro" from Skepta's Rinse: 04 mix CD and Unknown T's "Homerton B", he draws for samples of opening brass from Screaming Jay Hawkins' mighty "I Put A Spell On You" on "Kick In The Face" and Crystal Waters' eternal "Gypsy Woman" for "Eurphoria". Then, to top it all off, he finishes up by building a track around George Michael's "Careless Whisper" in "Guilty Feet" - all for a fiver!

Owlybeats – The Dark (Volume 2)
This EP from Owlybeats lives up to its name, plain and simple. These 5 uncompromising darkside creations are packed with bold, minimal percussion and abrasive bass textures that instantly demand attention. Taking the approach of less is more, Owly keeps it to the bare essentials, letting the tracks speak for themselves rather than over-complicating things with unnecessary frills or gimmicks. If you're looking for raw, heavy steppers, look no further.

DG – Loose Ends
Irish collective Wriggle have been flying the flag for bass music in Dublin, hosting live sets, setting up a label and gaining their own radio show on RTE Pulse. Both the beautiful, sorrowful strings of "Rosemary" and the nimble, dancing "Dropout" are stunning examples of the more melodic side to grime. Plus, there's some footwork and breaks on "Skylanders" and "Try Again" as an extra non-grime bonus.

Mr Skandal – Lockdown
With war riddims, relaxed melodic beats, organic but upfront orchestral instrumentals and everything in-between, Mr Skandal's Lockdown cuts right through a whole spectrum of grime, demonstrating the formidable talent of the Birmingham man on the buttons. "Brainwave" is a stomping weapon of a beat, with a cinematic opening that soon gives way to instantly familiar Eski and Spartan samples on the big, bad drop, while "Vibez" take the opposite approach, holding back to the bare essentials of a ticking rhythm, floating female vocal and string accents, and a thick, sticky bassline. And, if you still need convincing, check out the series of tigh-packed drops and switches on "War With Me" as it gradually grows from 2-steppy wobbler to dark soundsystem wrecker.

Pay-What-You-Choose Downloads:

Tigs - Bootlegs 
As you might expect from the title, Melbourne based producers Tigs has dropped these 6 bootlegs. His "Stop Dat / Hoe" mashup stands out, doing real justice to the Dizzee Rascal instrumentals, and the 140 rework of Q Project's dark DnB classic "Champion Sound" is no less of a heater than the original. Aside from strictly grime inclusions, the UKG versions "Diesel", "And Again" and "In This World" bang hard, and there's even a nice bit of bouncing 4x4 with his bootleg of "Roll Deep Regular". 

Charlie InSight – Namasti 
Liverpool's Charlie InSight released 3 EPs simultaneously last week, including a strangely effective grime rework of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme on Jokerz. On a very different note, he incorporates sinogrime sounds into his Namasti release, with bending, plucked string sequences on both the title track and "H3" - and wait for the the extra low-end injection that comes halfway through "H3" for a sonic surprise. 

DNDY, Jakebob, Khabs and Tubz - M62 Vol. 5
This collaborative release from Liverpool's M62 Records contains a grimey contribution from each producer, grouped together into one cohesive EP. The wavy synths and classic aesthetic of DNDY's "(-_-)", the ticking hats and rumbling bass vibrations on Jakebob's "Berlin Riddim", Khabs' shadowy, shuffling rhythms on "TIKTIK", the screwed vocal chops, and deep brassy stabs on Tubz's "29" - it's an all-round sick selection from these underrated instrumentalists.

Felix - Stand Up Tall (Felix Edit) 
Another Dizzee feature on this list, Felix's edit of an old-school heater off Boy In The Corner is a brilliant bouncing dose of UK Funky. There aren't many settings that this wouldn't instantly flip upside down, and he's been generous enough to include both a vocal and instrumental version.

This brief but punchy EP from 8BAR PRODUCTIONS sticks to doing the basics perfectly. The weighty, buzzing bass and high-impact drums loops on "Ricky." and "Lost" contrast well with the dubby sounds of echoing horns and clean, crystal-clear subs on "Lights" - you really shouldn't pass this by without clicking.

Vexxy & Pholo - Twisted
The latest offering from ESC_ is this wavy single from Vexxy and Pholo. Euphoric, soaring vocals, airy interwoven synths and plush, silky bass come together to make this lavish, sweeter soundtrack for isolation.

Listen to the Donation Dubs 006 mix on Once Upon a Grime's SoundCloud below: