We're back again with another instalment of Donation Dubs, sharing some of our favourite tracks found while digging online each month.
Like last month, there are two sections: one for free or pay-what-you-choose downloads and the other for releases that have a fixed price but that are an absolute bargain.
You can also check out our Donation Dubs 009 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:
Viral Punk – Viktory
Viral Punk’s Viktory EP is a taste of uncompromising, abrasive grime production. Each cut is built around a different punishing bassline: “Supa Dupa” sets the tone with a sound palette that wouldn’t be out of place on a riddim tune, “Violator” continues the same theme with the addition of startled string stabs, and “Viktory” brings a dancehall influence that quickly degenerates. Finally, “Global Meltdown” shifts into an unpredictable mashup of melodies and textures, topping off the destructive EP out on Op NationRecords.
Kami-O – Lightworks
Bristol’s Italdred can be relied upon to bring cutting-edge sounds on their releases, spanning across grime, dubstep, wave, RnG and more. On Lightworks, Kami-O pays tribute to the clubnight of the same name that he used to run in Glasgow. with a careful balance of heavyweight bass vibrations and elegant, unusual melodies. Although the tracks share some aesthetic marks that tie the selection together – lush strings, blends of organic and metallic hits, deep-shifting bass vibrations – each has a distinct identity and place on the EP.
Mr Skandal – Grime Riddims Vol. 1
Birmingham producer Mr Skandal has come through with another varied collection of instrumentals, taking different angles on grime and showing the flexibility of the genre’s sound. “King of War” and “Tormented” are both huge, grinding heavy-steppers, “Broken Dreams” relaxes with its plucked instrumentation, while “Presidential” and “Ambiguous” are driven by warmer, brighter melodies that contrast with other more bass-centric productions.
Laizu – Next Step LP
Working out of Nottingham, Laizu is another producer who can capture a range of moods and styles within the grime spectrum, as his 10-track Next Steps LP shows. “Like That” mashes a wobbling bassline with grimey strings and vocal chops, “No Name” sucks you in with its muted, bubbling energy, and “Up Front” combines a wide selection of ear-catching samples into one non-stop joyride. To top off Next Steps, Laizu includes a dub special from SBK, which the MC shells down as expected.
Hendubz – Hendubz001
Hendubz’s sound is hard to define, with elements of garage and grime filtered by an experimental approach to result in this 6-track EP. “Haryana” is potent cut of sinogrime, and “Penso Diverso” is a drifting, hazy 2-step number. “Always in Colour” puts garage rhythms behind bold bass sweeps and blurred, overlapping harmonies to create a beat that fits with Trim’s characteristically unusual vocal style. “Floating Borders” calms the mood with softer piano chords, before “Bazaar Drip” finishes the project with atmospheric grime that rises and falls with clattering stop-start beats and thick, indistinct sonic layers.
Filthy Gears – Pure Filth Vol. 3
Filthy Gears is as on point as he is prolific, supplying countless instrumentals for MCs to vocal and listeners to enjoy over the years - that doesn’t change on Pure Filth Vol. 3. The aptly named “B.I.B.L.E” uses an organ for the track’s foundation, as does “Barbed Wire”, but while the first is restrained and tightly structured, the second is a off-beat melding of vast, sliding organ chords and stern bass blares. Meanwhile, “Hunting” is unnerving but still holds onto a playful edge, matching the uncanny feeling of stalking prey under cover of darkness. By contrast, “Opium” is as smooth as it is intoxicating, with a sweet, mellow sax that sits on a bed of string textures – the result wouldn’t be out of place in a James Bond theme.
Free and Pay-What-You-Choose:
GLITCH – Run From War (GLITCHFIX)
South East London’s GLITCH has dropped a few strong releases recently, with grime, dubstep, jungle and drill all included in his repertoire. For this one, he takes an unmistakable Logan acapella and adds his own strain of audio destruction. Stripped back to the necessities, the instrumental is upfront in its delivery, with an incessant ticking beat that holds the track together and bone-shaking bass impact that keeps the energy flowing along with Logan’s quickfire deliveries.
Out on their imprint Tumble Audio’s fresh sister label Pay What U Can Afford Music, Sergic and Lyka’s “Felt Nothing” is a double-dose of punchy UK funky and grime power. Beginning with wavy synths and glitched effects, the track grows with funky string rhythms before dropping in with fat, subby kick and bass patterns. All money from the release will be split between Black Live Matter UK and Reclaim The Block in Minneapolis, making this a perfect Donation Dub to financially support and enjoy.
Max Profit – Calm
West London’s Max Profit has come through with his new single “Calm”. Pairing a skilfully understated instrumental with a laidback lyrical delivery, the track embodies the carefree, unfazed attitude that the title and hook claim. The download package is completed with a remix from Filthy Gears, as well as the original’s instrumental and an acapella of the vocals.
Dorzi & DJ Connor – Bumpa Pon That (Grime Remix)
Remixing a bassline classic from Nastee Boi, Dorzi and DJ Connor turn the bouncing original into sleek grime, laying the verses over steel pans, buzzing low frequencies and a sample of the motif from Mike Jones’ “Still Tippin’”, notably used by Plastician in his instrumental for Skepta’s “Back Then”. This alternative version sharply contrasts with the vibe of the original production, but still makes sure to hold the same brash, hyped energy.
Christo Frank – Pawnbroker feat. Killa P & Badness
Sampling Quincy Jones’ theme from classic film The Pawnbroker and using it as a foundation for Killa P and Badness’ “Nuh Failer” lyrics, this cut from Christo Frank feels classy and refined while still packing a punch. The combination of the cinematic scale of the instrumental with the MCs’ emotive performances make “Pawnbroker” more than worthy of a download.
DV-US – All of the Lights
Refixing an iconic Yeezy instrumental, DV-US takes the brass core of “All of the Lights” and adds his own flavour, swapping the frantic rhythms of the original for bold marching patterns and fuzzy peripheral accents. “All of the Lights” is the latest in ESC_’s series of free downloads, and the debut release on the imprint for co-owner DV-US.
Listen to the Donation Dubs 009 mix on SoundCloud below: