HEX002 - Hexagon Dubs EP
This is my first review for the mighty Juan Forté and I’m super pleased to be covering HEX002 from Hexagon Dubs. Hexagon Dubs are a London based collective and the HEX002 Instrumental EP is being released by Knowledge Is Power, a label launched by Knowledge Is Power Promotions.
This review is a first for me in more ways than one. It’s the first time I have come across the Hexagon Dubs collective, so I dove into this EP with fresh ears and fresh expectations and have to say I’m very impressed. There is a vast amount of variety on this EP ranging from fast and skippy juke/footwork style tracks all the way to raw grime beats and so it makes sense for me to approach this review on a track by track basis. So without further ado let’s dive in.
$D$’s St Dreamer took me totally by surprise. It opens with that unmistakable Juke sound. Tight 16th note hi-hats at around 160 BPM coupled with half time claps peppering the beat. Lathered over this is a beautiful soul sample complete which thick vocals, intricate bass and lush keys. After kicks give way to let the sample breathe, the tune introduces an even skippier pattern complete with a booming 808-esque kick, open hats and a super old school cowbell. If I COULD dance footwork, you best believe I would be doing it when it this tune comes on. My favourite thing about this tune, however, is the 303 sounding acid bass that kicks in towards the latter part of the tune. It adds such a nutty vibe to the riddim and is a top addition. Overall great drum work and sample selection make this tune a mover for certain.
Adding that old school Grime flavour to the EP, Drime brings M Dance to the table. This tune reminds me of that raw and uncut instrumental grime sound so much. Nails the vibe to a T. Offbeat claps, eerie strings and a pair of basses that glue the tune together. The main bass is wicked. It sounds like something out of 007 goldeneye and other games from that era and worms its way through the tune with enough variation to keep the beat sounding fresh. My brain couldn’t help but imagine different grime OGs spitting over this beat which can only be a good thing. Great work from Drime.
Hexagon Dubs show on Mode FM 07/07/18
Aranha’s Radium is another track that reminds me of the old school flavour of bass music. This track is a sub heavy dubstep tune with a straighter feel. Opening with synthy atmospheres and almost trappy high hats, the track then hits with a powerful straight sub bass that’s guaranteed to push some air. A tightly hitting kick that sits comfortably on top of the sub, coupled with a big splashy snare all combine to make this one a head bobber. Occasional switches to the bass hit alongside the filtered and panning lead help keep this track interesting throughout.
Rafe’s ‘Direct Circuit’ is an Eski sounding stomper. I heard you like square waves? Here, have a fuck load of them, and a shit load of claps too. This tune leaves a lot of space and room in the mix for the huge square wave basses and that take centre stage and I personally think this was a great mix choice. This track is one for shelling. That I’m sure of! I would love to hear some bars over this track. Wicked work by Rafe.
Umpah comes in with ‘South Weezy’ and I love the vibe of this tune. The almost classical sounding string sample grabs your attention instantly. They run pretty much all the way through the track in one form or another, occasionally being chopped and rearranged. A low grumbling reecy bass underlines the strings and does a wicked job of creating slight dissonance within the tune which only adds to the tense feeling of the beat. The drums run in a linear fashion with each element giving way to the next which creates a really scatty groove. A sick beat and sick vibe all in all from Umpah here.
This EP has a great variety from track to track and I will definetly be keeping an eye out for eye future releases from the Hexagon Dubs collective.
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