Burt Cope’s latest effort shows the hard-earned results of his ongoing sonic negotiation; from the new kid on the block in UK bass to the established presence he is today.
“Broken” is a potent amalgam of Cope’s sounds, situated somewhere between his unapologetically off-kilter entries, as shown in “E Numberz” and “Sword Fight”, and his large and in charge efforts, such as the recently released “Business” EP. The Oxford resident’s knack for tuneful build-ups is on full show, marinating the meat of the track before dropping harsh screeches and chromatic bass licks that play fetch and return over a commanding kick. It stands out as an entry that, whilst embedded in the EDM-influenced sounds of the day, still pays homage to those that came before it in the scene. The vocal is, by all accounts, very memorable, and is sure to be earworm in the quieter hours of the working week.
A host of impressive features complete the EP, with UKG standout Yemi teasing the gentler flavors out through the vocal line. The use of stereo lifts the added keys to the sublime, and bright strings accompany the emotive buildups before dropping into the comfort of a bouncy bassline and crisp NUKG drums.
If Yemi’s flip was working with the lighter elements, Deadbeat’s entry makes full use of the shadow. Sheffield’s busiest wizard of bass pulls no punches, reveling in the grottier sounds that he has, over time, shown a complete mastery of. Guttural, warping lows and 4×4 drums are wonderfully layered, and a commitment to the use of variation across the main motif does the track, and bass music more generally, a great service. Take notes aspiring bass producers.
Finally, Mr. Dubz’s release ramps up the BPM to drum and bass territory, suggesting jump-up flavors before confounding expectations, delving into droning, detuned bass, and chopped-up vocals. Cosmic arpeggios and dissonant synth breaks stitch the action together, making for a welcome uptempo addition amongst the remixes.
“Broken” is a neat addition to Burt Cope’s established catalog, with the featured remixes showcasing impressive work from standouts in UKG, bassline, and drum and bass.
This collection leaks UK funky at the edges, blending with bass house, bassline and the classic grime elements that made UK funky stand up as a separate genre. Catchy leads lure you over big drops into bumpy bass lines. Voices from far away connect you to places foreign yet familiar and the best nights you remember. There’s something here for anyone who likes the deeper motifs of bass music.
A few highlights:
“Ting and Ting” feels like a live mash-up, capturing the UK funky-meets-ragga feel perfectly, which not everyone can pull off. The vocal is high energy, over catchy UK funky beat, bass, and grime licks. It’s the type of tune that will get pulled up twice and then mixed into something else, which is a shame because it’s solid right to the end.
UK Funky on a bass house tip, “Dutch Cheese” Is a deep and dirty little roller centered around another ragga sample, but stands in contrast to “Ting and Ting”. This one’s about getting low. Grimey basses slither around your ankles in the dark, while toms and dry snares elbow for room.
“Afrobass” is tough as nails. Stacked basses hit hard over a snappy rhythm, offset only by 8 bar octave leaps and the tension and release that comes with it. “Afrobass” feels like the middle of a tune, off and running, setting a darker mood of classic UK garage.
“Standby” is the kind of track you want banking when you walk into the club at 10:50 PM, just before they raise the cover. It’s the first tune that gets pulled up. It’s the type of big bottom tune that kicks off a night. And there’s a whistle. You can’t go wrong with a whistle.
And “Congo play” is one of the more gorgeous tunes on the album. Simple and driving, it’s got less to prove and somehow ends up one of the stronger contenders. A driving vamp plays off of clever percussion and a simple sub-bassline. While a lot of the big bass drops in this collection will hype a crowd, the vibe set by “Congo play” is what might stay with you.
This compilation covers every inch of a small circle of UK bass-centric dance music, while never quite repeating itself. Most of these tunes are bangers, not anthems, the kind that the best DJs use to set a mood, make people get low, and go home with smiles.
“Chvrch” (by M.U.T.E.), the aptly named title track, will open my next DJ set. The angelic choral intro is wonderfully rich while also feeling just the right amount of silly. While you grin and wait, the relentless drop teases you until you almost can’t stand it. And then the metal pip hits you over the head, and your grin melts into bass-face when the UK Funky snares hit. The wave doesn’t stop. This is an unforgiving roller with only two parts, heaven and dance floor.
“Chvrch” is followed by “Believe”, a hard-4 tribute to what happens when you anger the gods. You can’t go wrong when dark garage sub meets kick and snare. It might be tough to sell on a dance floor, but this is a sound I loved in the early 00’s, and still sounds timeless to me now.
Finally, “O.M.G.” starts with Gabriel’s horns, if they came out of an FM synth. A tongue-in-cheek valley girl sample doesn’t prepare you for the horror funky that comes next (yes, I just invented a genre!). Grimey basses hover angrily over snappy snares and claps while the kick roots you in place. It’s over too quickly, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
© Bass Tourist