Puresa Records – Offcutz Vol 2

By Adam Wright

The second installment of their limited edition “Offcutz” series brings 4 old-school heaters into Puresa catalog, courtesy of Masterplan, Hard2Skill, and Mikki Funk. Available only as a physical purchase, unless you want to spend the prohibitively expensive £999 on the digital-only files, Puresa (the UK Garage-focused birthchild of House label 124 Recordings) is not messing around with this EP – bringing an exclusive flavor back to an era where every DJ has a USB filled with the same tunes. It sold out long ago, but as is the case with the current vinyl crisis, it is still yet to ship out.

The record gets kicked off with 2 deep, soulful, and crunchy Garage-House tracks from Masterplan that have a simply lush 90s feel. “Step Forward” has punchy drums, bouncy stabs, scattered vocal cuts, and saturation in all the right places. In an era where music from any year can be accessed at any time, and sounds from any moment in history can be emulated inside a device fitting in your backpack, it’s hard to tell what’s new or old. These two openers are the embodiment of that. Masterplan, an artist you might struggle to find much about online, could be an authentic old-school wizard from the halcyon days of the London scene, or they could be a teen producing sounds from their Eastern European spare bedroom. Who knows? Who cares? Such is the magic of the music, wherever it’s come from, it’s put me back.

“The Lost Dub” sounds like exactly what its name purports. This is absolutely the dub mix of a classic 90s garage house classic that never got to see the light of day until it was discovered in the unearthing of a defunct label’s huge DAT tape collection in the basement of Brixton terraced house… except it’s not. Or maybe it is. The stabs are perfectly placed, with just the right amount of dissonance. The bass wibbles and wobbles across the floor like a slug that got into a bag of Class A drugs.

The B side sees a couple of similarly vintage-sounding dubs from Hard2Skill and Mikki Funk. “Runnin'”, from Hard2Skill (incidentally another underground producer, tricky to track – aside from a few cracking dubplates floating around), continues the garage-house theme – taking the bumpiness of “The Lost Dub” down a notch to a more smooth tone. Keys galore and rich vocal samples are laid lovingly atop a warm kick drum rumbling softly through my sub. The saxophone stabs come in later, a classic move from the garage house producer’s playbook, adding a bit of lumpiness to the otherwise smooth track.

Finally, we’re hit with a 2-step rhythm, and, by jove, was it worth the wait. At this point, you’re probably bored of me sermonising about something so new sounding so old, but the work on show in emulating ‘the sound’ is nothing short of a masterpiece. With “4 Da Steppas”, North-London-based D3EP radio host Mikki Funk scatters a collection of silky vocal cuts around some of the skippiest drums you ever did hear. The bass is simultaneously soft and punchy, both smooth and bouncy. Seriously, stop reading my preaching and go give Puresa Records and the artists of this wicked compilation some love. I can’t get enough of it!

Posted on May 16, 2022