Donation Dubs 011: August 2020

We're back again with another instalment of Donation Dubs, sharing some of our favourite tracks found while digging online each month.
As per usual, there are two sections: one with 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 011 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:

Trizna – Bwoy
Trizna’s primal, bass-centric approach to grime production is by now well established. “Bwoy” is slightly toned down compared to some of his previous releases, but fits into his discography as a stripped-back cut. Minimalist loops, well-placed samples and an unwavering focus on the bare essentials of bass and rhythm result in a heavy but balanced finished product.

Azere – Self Care Volume 002 
Established by Grace earlier this year, Self Care is bringing forward the softer sounds of 140 with the sweetest of Wifey and R&G. Putting calming guitars at the heart of the EP, Azere crafts a meditative soundtrack that is as rich as it is delicate. “Day Dot One” and “Inheritance” swell with introspective emotion, “Heavyweight” takes on the sound that’s probably best described as acoustic drill, and “Mad Max” ends the collection by adding a taste of muted garage in the mix.

Yescal – N.A.S.A
As well as releasing his debut EP Place For The Soul this month, São Paulo’s Yescal gave us this single “N.A.S.A”. Opening with an ominous low buzzing and making use of sampled launchpad audio, the tune soon builds momentum. The dark, sticky instrumental treads the line between grime and dubstep showing just one angle of Yescal’s flexible production styles.

Khabs – Priority Exhibition
Khabs draws together a variety of influences on his Priority Exhibition EP to create a rounded set of tracks. “Nada Major” takes inspiration from Middle Eastern music drifting within its veiled atmosphere, and “Steel” is a hypnotising, rolling flurry of kick drums and falling melodies. “G-Yard” holds to a similarly understated production formula while adding the livelier energy of Logan and Rush’s bars, while “The Red Carpet” sharply contrasts with Khabs’ other inclusions as crystal clear cinematic orchestral harmonies take centre stage.

inkke– 8 Bar Bootlegs 2
Glasgow-based beatmaker innke has dropped 8 Bar Bootlegs 2, freeing up 11 refixes for only a fiver. These fresh chopped and twisted versions of well-known instrumentals, including Kanye West’s “Overnight Celebrity” production, SX’s ever-present “Wooo Riddim”, Timbaland’s “Big Pimpin” beat used by Jay-Z, and Dr Dre’s instrumental from Eminem’s signature “The Real Slim Shady”, show that just about any tune can be morphed into a grimey slugger in the right hands.

Lingerz & Jakebob – Tetris Riddim EP 
The Tetris theme (which is an electronic version of traditional Russian folksong “Korobeinki”) is one of the original and best-known video game soundtracks, gaining numerous reworks and samples over the decades. Giving its name to this EP from Lingerz and Jakebob, the pair offer their own pulsing remix of the infectious tune alongside three additional tracks. “Soho Riddim” mashes up the sounds of ska and grime, the dubwise sonics of “Bohamas” are warm and vivid, and “Obviously” switches gear at the close of the EP as steady-rocking rhythms are traded for something more straightforwardly grime but no less ear-catching.

Free & Pay-What-You-Choose:

Kvlt – The Half-Finished Kebab
Is it grime? Is it dubstep? Is it garage? Is it just experimental noise? No, it’s The Half Finished Kebab from Kvlt, which, in their own words, is “a scabbie collection of mouldering audio detritus scraped up from the fetid cutting room floor.” But this is fragmented filth of the highest quality, as unpredictable and stylistically challenging as it is fascinating. Each of the 8 cuts offer something distinct, from the subtle build and sudden blaring drop of “Euclid” and the enthralling dark-garage energy of “Abraxas” to the slippery, ethereal sounds of “Apollyon” and the glitched-out breakcore-influenced splattering of “Silly Sausage”.

Dijon Coleman – The Lost Edits
With 12 tracks spanning a whole range of genres as well as a healthy grime offering, Dijon Coleman’s The Lost Edits comes through hard. From the  outset, “12 Gauge” grabs your attention and sets the tone with eerie ECG beeps and sounds of hospital machinery, before the click-clack of a cocked gun signals the start of the track’s destructive Slimzos-esque rampage. “Acheron 140 Special” follows by swapping roaring bass for razor-sharp claps and peppered kicks, and from there, Dijon Coleman keeps supplying the goods. The tracklist includes a remix of Big H, Flirta D, Meridan Dan and Footsie’s verses on “Bin Doin This”, a pounding 4x4 edit of “Pulse X” and a relentless version of the Lord Of The Mics III All Stars anthem from back in 2011, switching through a spread of instrumentals that, regardless of age, can still be relied upon to tear down any show.

Sheik – Refixes EP
Out on sub-centred imprint Simply Deep, Sheik’s Refixes EP consists of only 3 tracks, but those 3 tracks make one hell of an impact. Cluekid’s raw-to-the-core “Hovercraft” is given a UK Funky facelift, and Kahn & Neek’s combative “Got My Ting” is sliced and moulded into a banger that swaps the original's smooth measures for pitch-bent rhythmic stabs. Even so, the highlight for me is “Sing Along”, taking the eternal Crazy Titch vocal and adding a bootlegged beat of shattered grime soundbites. It can be risky to try to put your own stamp such a defining moment, but Sheik triumphs.
Oafish vs Calcifer – ABCD1234
The HMRC crew are at the forefront of bringing experimental sounds to bend and break the expectations of what grime and other adjacent genres should and could be. Even with that being said, ABCD1234 comes out of left-field. Oafish and Calcifer each supply a tune inspired by The Simpsons and a track that deconstructs and reimagines a nursey rhyme, all through the ragged medium of bizarre, stomping, distortion-laden electronics. These need to be hear to be understood, and even then, there’s no guarantee that ABCD1234 will make any sense to you – but that’s not really the point, is it?

Taleko – Malvadão Anthem
A second deserving Brazilian entry this month comes from Rio De Janeiro’s Taleko, who supplies his "Malvdão Anthem". After a short intro, the track unleashes flurries of strings that run across the track's fat bass foundation. It’s undeniable that the Brazilian scene is consistently pushing grime in fresh directions, but the staple 8-bar build-and-drop structure of this one shows that there are still some classic elements that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Flowdan – Grime (Oldboy Daft Breaks Mix)
DJing and producing out of Sheffield, Oldboy has been posting a few impressive reworks that bring a new angle to some of the most recognisable voices in scene. Most recently, he’s remixed Flowdan’s “Grime” verses into pure rave power. Moody bass stabs and snapping rhythms match the veteran’s characteristically menacing delivery, as Oldboy crafts a distinctively UK flavour, sitting at the perfect intersection of grime, garage and breaks.

Check out the Donation Dubs 011 mix below on Once Upon A Grime's SoundCloud: