Dutch Uncles – Big Balloon

#NewMusic from Salford, England

South Manchester four piece Dutch Uncles are back with their fifth album offering; ‘Big Balloon’. The alt-math-rock badge that has been slapped on them in the past still stands. Intricate guitar licks pepper the album, firing left to right in the stereo field to keep your mind alert.

There’s hints of 80s Bowie in the chorus of ‘Combo Box’ whist at the same time offering a taste of funk with its bassline. The bass sound achieved across the album is expansive and infectious, pushing you through each track on which it features, notably the 1-2 chug of the fun feeling ‘Oh Yeah’.

There are more reflective moments too; ‘Achameleon’ is simple in its construction starting with just a piano riff a vocal. The addition of strings, hints of choral vocals and splashes of other sounds as you journey through the song raise the tension and interest but at no stage is the message of the vocal overshadowed.

It’s another strong showing, an album that gets more enjoyable with every listen. Go grab a copy from their website today.

Dub Phizix & Skeptical feat. Strategy – Marka

Like most of us I think, December was a busy busy month. To be fair January hasn’t started any differently. One thing I have had a bit more time to do is catch up on my new music listening.

Lots of Christmas CDs / vinyls / DVDs to catch up on, too many to digest properly. It’s probably not surprising that the track that’s really got me standing to attention is one that I wasn’t expecting to hear. “Have you heard my mate’s new track?” a friend said to me over a post Christmas lunch catch up. We’ve all got mates in bands / making music / writing a book, and a lot of the time an invitation to listen to their offerings can be a bit awkward. “Oh wow, that’s really interesting” is a common response, “I can really see the potential there”. Thankfully, the friend that put me on to this has a good track record for nodding me in the direction of some pretty weighty productions.

The names Dub Phizix, Skeptical and Strategy all have sway in their own right. Dub Phizix and Skeptical known for their productions in the Drum & Bass scene, Strategy for his MCing in Broke ‘n’ £nglish. So on paper, the expectation around a collaboration of the three is pretty big. You won’t be disappointed with “Marka”!

You’re going to need a stereo that can handle some devastatingly low frequencies to take this track on. Those mac speakers just ain’t gonna cut the mustard. The bullet kick and waves of sub bass coupled with Strategy’s rhyme is hypnotic in it’s pulsing feel. Tempo wise it’s half time drum and bass, but the feel is dubstep circa 2004. Think Leofah, Hatcha, Digital Mystics and early Skream. There’s a sparseness that you don’t get in many modern productions. This lack of excess fat allows you to pick out the eerie creaks and chimes that litter this track, dragging you down into its dingy depths.

The fact that the track is offered up alongside a similarly minimal, voodoo Indian, video takes the appeal level up tenfold. I’m reliably informed that it was shot in park and woodland in the “Costa del” Salford. For all I know this could be deepest darkest hell.

Dub Phizix & Skeptical - Marka feat. Strategy

Released on dBridge’s Exit Records, Marka is available from all good music vendors now.

[Also check out Dub Phizix’s remix of Skittles – Dot2Dot here]