Wednesday, October 31, 2007


geiom lp cover island noise

Blackdown: Hey Geiom, so lets’ start at the top: when did you start producing?

Geiom: Its been a while now - A friend and myself financed my first 12" back in 1995 - I only had one synth and drum machine at that time. I think I was still in the aftershock of rave, looking for new sounds and getting inspired by the more thoughtful styles of the Black Dog/AFX etc.

B: Where are you from/based?

G: I grew up in North London - Recently found out I went to the same school as SLT Mob - its a small world... I have been living in Nottingham for a long long time now. Don't believe the media hype - Nottingham is not the most dangerous place in the country! Its a great city but not the easiest to promote independent music events in.

B: How many releases have you had?

G: In terms of albums there has been: “Sellotape Flowers” as Geiom, “Magic Radios” as Kamal Joory, a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Morgan Caney which is a hybrid of acoustic and electronic sounds. “See inlay for details” as Hem - experimental/glitchy/ambient project on Staalplaat. “Small medium” as Hem - collaboration with producer Metamatics.

One important event was the inclusion of Overnight Biscuits by Kode 9 on his dubstep Allstars 3 mix - I think this introduced me to the dubstep community and helped to start Berkane Sol. I will be releasing the new album 'Island Noise' on Berkane Sol in November. Berkane Sol has now had 5 12" releases. I have also put out many other singles and tracks on compilations over the years.

geiom futurerustic

"Future Rustic" photo by Geiom

B: You mention Black Dog/AFX in your early (’95) influences and oddly I’d noticed this in your current material, I guess mostly in the synths and melodies. Do you still actively cite that era of electronica as a reference point? I ask this because in many ways the “inner” synth-lead, detailed/lite/chaotic percussion approach of Black Dog and AFX is in total opposition to the urban/black music approach of linear and physical percussion/bass pressure approach…

G: Its one influence for sure - I also like a lot of older electronic music like Eno, Tangerine Dream, Raymond Scott, you can find stuff made back in the 60's and 70's that still sounds like the future.

I think that both AFX and Black Dog started out with a more sound system style - Black Dog used to make jungle - so I don't think these particular artists are in opposition to physical music. Although AFX has made some deliberately awkward music in his time!

We saw Autechre playing live at the Bloc Weekend event earlier this year and their set showed influence from almost every electronic style I can think of, including dubstep and grime. What they were doing was totally physical and had tons of bass pressure – It was designed to engage the audience rather than alienate them, which is something that electronica can be found guilty of.

I've noticed that some people like Benga and Skream are using effects and edits that sound more like electronica than dubstep so I think stuff crosses over in all directions. I think the fact that Benga and Skream are best friends and make loads of very influential music together is proof that the idea of ‘black’ and ‘white’ music has become redundant, at least in certain communities.

B: With an electronica background, both as a fan and as a producer with releases on Staalplaat and in collaboration with Metamatics, how did you come to be interested in dubstep and what excites you about the music?

G: I was into grime mainly through helping local MC's to make beats. I like it a lot but it does annoy me sometimes, mainly when the lyrics are waste. But I have learnt a lot from the Nottingham hip hop and grime scenes.

I first heard dubstep properly when the FWD>> tour came to Nottingham - I think it was Kode 9, Youngsta, Oris J and Crazy D. I was led to believe that it was a grime event so I couldn't believe that the MC was hidden away with no ego and was just hosting more than taking centre stage. I was surprised by the variety of influences I could hear and in general just blown away by the experience. Sounds cheesy but its true.

B: You were born in north London but live in Nottingham. How has your environment, both in the past and more recently, influence your music?

G: My family moved out of London to the countryside when I was a teenager and it was during that time that I got into the emerging rave culture. I think I ended up wanting to make my own music partly out of rural boredom, partly because I thought I had something new to offer. Experiencing the non diverse culture that exists in most of Britain away from our cities (I was one of only two non white people at the school I ended up at) made me fully appreciate the importance of our immigrant populations.

B: You mention you think Nottingham has of late, had a bad rep, but why, despite being a nice university town, do you think it got its gun crime reputation alongside London, Manchester and Birmingham? Was Colin Gunn’s crime syndicate, that they recently took down solely to blame?

G: That was one aspect of it in a certain area. (Gun crime has gone down here by 90 percent since the syndicate was taken down ? not sure about that)

Its true that we have crazy territorial problems here – I only live less than half a mile from the city centre and know local youths that are scared to visit town. I know that a certain type of person actually feels empowered by the idea that their ends is a no go area for strangers, and actively tries to encourage that. I think that the media hype actually adds to that problem – people are aware that Nottingham is notorious. Sadly these people fail to realise that they are often imprisoned in their ends and hardly ever go anywhere else. Its interesting to note that London has always had high violent crime stats yet does not grab the headlines as much as other cities.

B: How did Kode9 come to know about “Overnight Biscuits” by yourself and what is the thinking behind Berkane Sol, both musically/label ethos and the name itself?

G: I sent Kode 9 a few CD’s and he seemed to get more into them over time – he cut some of the tunes and played stuff on Rinse. I sent tunes to loads of labels and got mostly no response at all. Decided to do it myself and it seems to have worked out well. The label is mainly for my own tracks but I have a couple of other people that I would like to release.

B: What’s the plan with your new album 'Island Noise' on Berkane Sol?
G: It’s a CD album of new tracks packed in some futuristic/surreal artwork by my designer friend Barret. I would rather just put out vinyl but I know there are a lot of people that don’t have a turntable, and I think my tunes are good to listen to at home/in the car as well as on a system.

I am inspired by all the sounds that exist around me and we live on an island, so the title is related to that and also other islands that figure strongly in my imagination – Mauritius, which is where my family is from, and Jamaica, which must be the most musically important small island on the planet.

geiom clear dj shot

B: How did you come to get booked at DMZ? What is it like to play there?

G: I would like to think that I have maybe created my own small space within the dubstep sound/community and that DMZ appreciate that. It does feel like a real privilege to be asked – I learned a lot about the music from attending those events in the past and so it felt good to be on the other side of the booth. I have been getting more bookings abroad than in the UK so it was sweet to play at the most important UK event. DMZ has a special atmosphere created by the diverse crowd as well as the performers. It even brings people from as far away as the US to meditate and Mass has a heavy soundsystem. It’s been a real pleasure watching the event turn from a specialist night for the heads into a full on big rave over time.

B: Tell me about your work with vocalist Khalid? How do you know him and what was the thinking behind the release?

G: My girlfriend was organising a charity dinner after the Pakistan earthquake and we wanted some live music for it. I found Khalid in the process. He’s a big fan of Mohammed Rahfi, one of the singers I grew up listening to. He had some songs written for him in Pakistan some years back – it seems that you can pay for someone to write the lyrics and melodies for you. He had recorded them in a studio out there with session players – the recordings were cool but ruined by cheesy drum machine and home keyboard sounds.

So I chose one and got him to sing it over a dubstep tempo drum pattern I had put together. Then I built the music around the vocal – the tabla and sitar parts are programmed, I played the harmonium live and then edited it and did the same with the flute sections provided by my friend Dorian.

B: Tell me about the amazing LP track “Pheli Nazir?” What does the track name mean? Who is the vocalist and what was the thinking behind the track?

G: It means ‘first sight’ – it’s a love song, like most Indian pop music. It’s another track with Khalid (he wrote this one himself) and was made in the same way, but without the live instruments. I think it’s a good example of how diverse dubstep can be – “Zalim Maar Daala” is the same tempo but sounds much more hectic than this tune, which I think is pretty laid back.

B: Do you have any interest in the other desi/Asian/Far Eastern influences in dubstep?

G: I think tracks like the Loefah mix of Monsoon are hard to beat – it feels like a unified piece. I think some of the newer Asian sounding stuff is a bit ‘soundbite’ but I could say the same thing about a lot of the ‘stuck on’ sounding reggae samples that are being used at the minute. But I know from experience that its not easy writing an original Asian song from scratch and that mashing stuff together has often introduced people to sounds they didn’t know about.

B: What other genres of music excite you right now?

G: I listen to pretty much all styles of music – for example reggae/dub/ragga is a big influence, I loved rap ever since the breakdance era, I listen to a lot of (mainly older) Brazilian music, and I am fascinated by traditional music from many parts of the world. Characters like Sun Ra are inspirational on more than just a musical level, he had a whole mythology surrounding him. I love film soundtrack music but I don’t really get into ‘traditional’ classical orchestral music.

geiom brk 5

B: Jon Rust and Benny Ill from Horsepower rock the Berkane Sol t-shirts, Benny wearing his at the Tempa Radio 1 special recently. Are you going after Boy Betta Know’s t-shirt market? Are you going to do pink small tees for the ladies?

G: Already on that one – white small ladies shirts on sale now! Jon Rust always said the logo would look good on a shirt – we thought it might be a good way to get the label name and logo out of the record box – it’s the sort of thing that just gets hidden away in a stack of vinyl normally.

B: All this talk of “inner” sounds, what about looking out, to politics worldwide: is this something you follow? How do you feel about the terms “war on terror” and the “axis of evil?” Do either exist?

G: I can’t imagine anyone not taking an interest in some of the crazy stuff that is going on all over the place right now, I think it would be safe to say that if there is an ‘axis of evil’ then it centres around Wall Street and the other financial centres of the world. These institutions create and support misery on a scale the terrorists can only dream about. The other expression is totally dumb – how can you wage war on a concept? Is the military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan reducing our risk of terrorist attacks? – I don’t think so.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

From the ground

Time in Thailand meant space. Room to read. Choked by multiple channels digital media, my book reading has suffered in the last few years. Only when the plug’s pulled do I find the mental space. And boy, do I feel the benefits.

In an impulse airport buy, I picked up Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point.” First published in the UK in 2000 (I know, I’m late…), it sets out to explain how given social phenomena, seemingly in contented equilibrium, can suddenly undergo explosive growth. The parallels with epidemiology and virology are strong.

Having read it, I guess I should admit I’m not sure I entirely buy “The Tipping Point.” Gladwell assembles disparate case studies and claims to find laws. There’s little scientific method nor attempt to eliminate whether a complex interaction of multiple forces was responsible for a given “tipping point,” rather than taking the easy route of pointing to the influence of, say, one sole Salesman. Yet to me its real value is in learning about the case studies he’s so painstakingly read up on, whether it’s crime in STD infections in Colorado or New York in the 1990s.

Yet within a few pages of “The Tipping Point,” I was dumbstruck how clearly there were parallels with dubstep’s growth. The year “The Tipping Point” is released in the UK, dubstep’s little more than a good idea (dark garage) contained in a handful of releases (Ghost 001, Tempa 001…) lost amongst the hype and success of UKG.

It continues its outsider status for nearly six years, largely derided (“it’s too slow,” “it’s too dark”, “when does it go off?”) by other genres (breaks, drum & bass, broken beat, mainstream dance, grime…), written off by most bloggers and totally ignored by the mainstream music press. It sells little but incubates quietly amongst a handful of committed DJs, producers and fans. While it experiences gentle growth beforehand, dubstep’s tipping point was clearly January 2006.

Malcolm Gladwell attributes scenes that “tip” to three factors:

• The Law of the Few
• Stickiness Factor
• Power of the Context

Of these three in relation to dubstep, “The Stickiness Factor” is by far the easiest to assign. Where in other social epidemics it might be less clear, here you can simply say “the music appealed to people.” I always felt it could. I can’t honestly say I knew if it would. In the end it has. Of course some tunes are stickier than other and the stickiest has important role as appeal means audience. At this time, no tune was stickier than Skream’s “Request Line” which burst the genre out of its confines, though the weight of multicolour tracks from Mala (“Neverland,” “Forgive,” “Changes” …) certainly helped.

“The Law of the Few” centres around the idea that certain types of people can have a disproportionate effect. He names three of them Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen.

In Gladwell’s world, the connectors are the facilitators, people who link, join and arrange. The classic example of this is Sarah Soulja from Ammunition. To this day people have no idea how much she did and still does for dubstep behind the scenes. Other, less clear cut, examples of connectors include Boomnoise, but also Barefiles and Rinse, who connected the fans to the music. Also the DJs and producers themselves, act as connectors as they spread their sound.

Then there’s Maven, people who ingest, rank and share vast amount of information about the scene. I guess at that time that was, well, probably myself and Gutterbreakz who probably came under this umbrella.

Then there’s Salesmen, evangelists, people who take the idea to the audience. This was clearly people like Boomnoise, Mary Anne Hobbs and George Drumz of the South. To an extent I’d also argue that clubs like FWD>>, DMZ and Subloaded were Salesmen, but perhaps they are more easily categorised using…

“The Power of the Context.” Where some of the other examples seem a little stretched, according to Gladwell’s definitions, “The Power of the Context” has blatant resonance with dubstep. To quote from “The Tipping Point:” “The Power of the Context: …in ways that we don’t necessarily appreciate, our inner states are the result of our outer circumstances.” How clearly does that resonate with the importance placed in dubstep around bass heavy, clear soundsystems installed into essential club environments like FWD>>, DMZ, Subloaded?

In a final twist in the correlations between “The Tipping Point” and dubstep, I did find a startling parallel between some of his ideas around The Power of the Context and some of my Keysound thinking, the ideas that underpin our label.

Here’s something I wrote recently about Keysound Recordings:

“What is Keysound thinking?

Around 2005 I found myself returning to, in essence, the same question: why is so much of the music from London, from jungle to grime to dubstep, so dark? What was it that unified all these producers in their love of dark, edgy beats? Again and again, I came back to the same conclusion. Of those making dark beats in London, the only single factor that united everyone - from all backgrounds, gender, ethnicity, age or class - was their London surroundings.”
Contrast this with Gladwell’s The Power of the Context:

“In ways that we don’t necessarily appreciate, our inner states are the result of our outer circumstances.”

Or his explanation of a concept called FAE:

“The mistake we make in thinking of character as something unified and all-encompassing is very similar to a kind of blind spot in the way we process information.

Psychologists call this tendency the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), which is a way of saying when it comes to interpreting other people’s behaviour, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of the situation and the context.”

Using criminologists James Q Wilson and George Kelling’s “Broken Windows” theory, Gladwell points to the power of cleaning up the New York subway and its positive effect on crime rates.

“Muggers and robbers whether opportunistic or professional, believe they can reduce their chances of being caught or even identified if they operate on streets where the potential victims are already intimidated by prevailing conditions. If the neighbourhood cannot keep a bothersome panhandler from annoying passersby, the thief may reason, it is less likely to call the police to identify a potential mugger or to interfere if the mugging actually takes place.”
By extension perhaps London’s grimey surroundings are responsible for its dark music epidemic?

Old ILEA building, Hackney
Originally uploaded by Fin Fahey

A late twist to this train of thought came to me when I returned to London. I was talking to, well let’s just identify the person as a Rinse insider, who was describing the funky house nights going on out east right now. I didn’t write down the quotes, so here’s a loose paraphrasing.

“I’ve been to some funky house after parties that you’d love. Out east, some grimey venue, all girls and ghetto kids. Everyone’s dressed up, no hoods or trainers. It’s exactly like UK garage again. The music’s London funky house, except the ghetto kids are starting to make it now too. It's unclear, but in a minute it will be something. There’s no trouble though, perhaps the dress policy keeps them away…”
Apart from my obvious curiosity about “a new UK garage,” despite my musical narcolepsy, sorry reservations, about funky house, a parallel appeared to me with Kelling’s “Broken Windows” theorem.

“There’s no trouble though…” said the insider, despite this being exactly the same audience/demographic/location as grime. Perhaps, surrounded by well dressed people, a individual behaves differently? Frankly that isn’t such a revelation, think about the number of times you’ve dressed up and been on your best behaviour.

But then I think back to the one time I went to Twice As Nice in 1998 at The End. At that time it was the quintessential UK garage rave. Then a few months later, someone who may or may have not have been at the club got shot about half a mile from the venue.

In fact I remember one senior urban journalist telling me once, “mate, it’s not the new school (grime) MCs you gotta look out for, it’s the old school garage mafia…”

Hmm. Am I looking through “broken windows?” or a prism reflecting many complex colours.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Rinse @ Cargo Thurs 1st Nov: ya dun know the club space. Featuring Boy Betta Know, Jammer, Ghetto, Spyro, Skream, Scratcha and JJ, Jelly Jams, Circle, Youngsta, Benga, Supa D, SK Vibemakers, Katie...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

From above

I recently spent two weeks on holiday in Thailand. Time away from a PC, a mobile, the internet, newspapers, four email accounts and three types of IM was good for my brain, stress levels and my book intake. This is the first in a series of short pieces inspired by my time away…

Around three hours into the flight, maybe four, I looked out the window. Dust. Nothing but dust, over hills and gullies, stretched out beneath me for hundreds of miles. There were no trees, no plants, no houses: nothing but stone mountains shaped by wind, water and tectonic forces. This had to be Afghanistan. Maybe Uzbekistan. Um, or perhaps Turkmenistan.

Tiny tracks would cross ridges or enter entire mountain ranges. From above, I had a window into entire worlds.

Blame the news agenda but when you think of countries like Uzbekistan or Afghanistan this isn’t what you visualise. What is ‘top of mind’ when you recall a nation’s identity bares little correlation to the actual geography. just like, a recent conversation with a friend informed me, the Bollywood cliché representations of London (Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben…) bare little correlation to rows and rows of Victorian terraces or post-War housing you actually find. Think the “Notting Hill” view of London, or shocked US rap fans meeting Dizzee for the first time: “Y’all have black people in London…?”. “It’s not all red telephone boxes and Buckingham palace,” as Diz says.

So when you think Uzbekistan or Afghanistan, perhaps new militant groups like the IMU come to mind, or the Taliban – images and ideas all drawn from the information reductions of the Western media. But the contrast with the visual impression couldn’t be greater. By area, mostly what makes up this part of the world, is rock. Dry, empty, rock.

In “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell brings up the well known phenomenon, “six degrees of separation,” an idea that dates to a piece of research done on US citizens in the 1960s by Stanley Milgram. Looking down on to the bare rock peaks of Uzbekistan, I wonder how on earth this could apply here?

Stanley Milgram’s study involved people connecting people through their network of contacts from Omaha, Nebraska, US to Sharon, Massachusetts, US and it found on average, that the two groups could link through 6 connections. Yet crucially, both groups are in the US: they share a language, geography, a currency, free exchange of labour and the same local laws.

Does something approaching ‘six degrees’ really apply between the West and Uzbekistan? Perhaps it’s not unreasonable so say it doesn’t. But what about Uzbeks in London? Suddenly we’re now sharing a currency, geography, free exchange of labour and the same local laws. How many separate us degrees now?

Staring down from 11km above, I guess this was what my wonder reminded me of: the sense of amazement I’ve had over the last five years or so in London that how we can all share the same city, yet massive groups move geographically near each other yet are mutually culturally invisible, like the (rich) City workers who glide thirty feet up through (poor) Shadwell on the DLR to Canary Wharf.

“Ayo/I’m tired of using technology/why don’t you sit down in front of me..?”
The invisibility of local groups is all the more amazing given the ubiquity and connectivity of modern technology. Simon Reynolds, in conversation with K Punk, has talked about the over-accessibility of culture in an internet era: “the web has extinguished the idea of a true underground. It’s too easy for anybody to find out anything now.” But how easy is it to find anyone? In cases like looking for connections between an UK blogger in a plane and an Uzbekistani tribesman, I don’t think Facebook is going to help.

Perhaps the ubiquity of technology in the West gives a perception of infinite connectivity? Instead, perhaps the internet contains dark matter, not in the physics sense, but regions of culture not lit up by the net, or parts of the net not mutually accessible, beyond the English language character barrier? Sure, you’d expect that as a function of poverty (manifested as the global digital divide), but yet the consequence of the perception of infinite connectivity might be a numbing, mutual reinforcement of viewpoints and worldviews. One that’s flawed by it’s limitations.

The plane sped on. The next time I looked out the window, rock had given away to water. Then, across sparkling waves, strode this one long, curved sandy spur like a raindrop running down a windscreen. Occasionally it split and you could see a vast bridge joining one dribble to another. Welcome to the Caspian Sea.

[PS: these aren't my Flickr images, my camera was full. But this is the same plane, the same flight company, the same side and part of the plane, the same two views I saw (Afghanistan/Uzbekistan and the Caspian Sea). Strange...]

Friday, October 19, 2007



All this week British Hindu’s have been celebrating the festival of Navratri. It ends this Saturday. Wikipedia outlines the proceedings:

The Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less.
A friend of mine took part this year, and showing me the video of the night, I was enchanted by the energy, colour and synchronicity of the dancing.


Having seen that amazing video, I couldn’t help quickly asking her a few questions…

Blackdown: So you were out dancing last night, what's the name of the festival?

rt: Navratri, It literally meaning 'nine nights' It’s celebrated by Hindus, mainly Gujaratis. It is to symbolise good over evil.

Blackdown: So what's it like to attend?

rt: It’s tiring, that’s the only bad thing. Otherwise its exciting, fun to get dressed up and enjoy yourself, good to focus on the religious part so well for nine days, and it’s something everyone always waits for every year once it ends, people almost miss it, because you've got so used to going there every night for the past week

Blackdown: And who goes?

rt: Everyone, literally all ages, boys and girls...the elder men and women will mainly sit and watch the youngsters form the majority of the people who actually take part in the dancing generally, there are more girls then boys

Blackdown: So is the nine-day festival dedicated to one god?

The goddess that is worshipped is called ‘Durga’ and her each of her nine forms are worshipped on each day. Durga is the supreme Goddess. I don’t know what each form is called, but am familiar with Amba Maa (maa means mother), she is the mother of everything, the whole world and universe. Also, Maa Kaali. She is a significant figure; she is responsible for destroying all evil, killing demons. If you look up any pictures of her, she is always portrayed in a very angry and scary way with her tongue sticking out.

She is the only one like that; all other goddesses are always shown as pretty, kind and very lady looking…if that makes sense.

Blackdown: Can you explain, to someone who's not been, what happens throughout the evening? What's the structure?

rt: It will usually start around 7:30 or 8. The whole evening consists of a variety of dances, with 5-10 minute intervals in between. The first dance is called 'tran taadi' (meaning three claps), where people dance around in a huge circle and the step involve three claps and then repeat it again.

Once that is over, after a break, they'll announce the start of another type of dance which may be ‘tran taadi’ again or be ‘taadi (two claps).’ In the middle of the evening, they have 'aarti' which is where everyone sings a prayer to the goddess. Once that’s over, the evening will finish with the 'daandiya raas' (the stick dance) that will go on for about 45 mins.

At the end, people leave and collect 'prasad' which is basically fruit or nuts that have been offered to the gods then shared out amongst the people

Blackdown: It looks so energetic and well co-ordinated. How do the people who attend go about learning the steps?

rt: People just pick it up if they've been going every year since they were young or otherwise, people teach each other and the steps are really simple so they're picked up quickly.

Blackdown: Isn't it tiring?

rt: Yeah it is but its so fun, and only happens every year so you want to make the most of it and you end up with a lot of blisters on your feet!

Blackdown: so is the festival more religious or fun these days?

rt: it’s more fun now I think even though people will take part in the prayers during the middle, I’m sure its the dancing they truly come for...which is true in my case too

Blackdown: go on, admit it, how much flirting goes on?

rt: lots of flirting goes on... that’s what some of the people must come for. The most fun part of the evening is the stick dance at the end, so not everyone will bother coming into the hall until then... so the guys and girls who hang about in the corridors just end up messing around and flirting I guess

Blackdown: tell me about what everyone wears, is it colourful?

rt: yeah, really colourful. Girls wear saris or another type of dress which includes a flowly skirt and top with a veil (called a 'sharara' or 'ghaghara choli' - ghaghara is the skirt, choli is the top). Guys can come in normal jeans and tops but now more and more guys come in traditional 'sherwani' suits. Which is a long top with embroidery or some sort of design and trousers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007



What some people have said about LDN004:

"Unsettling and beautifully off-key Shaolin grime."

Kode9, Hyperdub

“Talking of the more atmospheric end of dubstep I did get a good tingle off the latest release from Keysound Recordings, Dusk & Blackdown featuring Trim's "The Bits" b/w/ Blackdown "Northside Cheng Dub", excellent attention to the higher frequencies on both of these with a cobwebby skein of reverbed plinky patterns…”

Simon Reynolds, Blissblog

“’Northside Cheng Dub’ is bristling with laidback power… an atmosphere that tingles like frostbitten fingers.”

Dave Stelfox, The Wire

“Journalist Martin "Blackdown" Clark … with Dusk cuts up the Chinese "cheng" instrument in a mellow grime style for ex-Roll Deep MC Trim to get contemplative over, and on his own makes a bouncier instrumental stepper from the same elements on the flip. On both, the production positively shines. 5/5”

Joe Muggs, Mixmag

“I guess I'm notorious for my love of AA (or B sides)and this release is no exception.. i love the atmosphere of this tune, the deeply enchanting oriental textures and chimes...”

Mary Anne Hobbs, Radio 1

"Sensual instead of hard, warm instead of wobbling, the eastern-tingled Northside Cheng Dub is a gentle hit. Roll Deep's Trim does his casual brilliance over an equally understated beat on the flip."


“I’ve got chips on my shoulder and a fish that ain’t even battered yet.” The former Roll Deep MC, Trim, teams up with dubstep duo Dusk and Blackdown for this slow-moving single embellished by oriental touches and harp flourishes. Surprisingly light on bass, it goes all the way on the strength of the vocal."

Steve Yates, BBC Collective

“Forward sound: Further evidence that dubstep's most creative minds might be onto something else altogether.”

Paul Autonomic, Woofah mag

" ....... as my old mate, Northwest dubmeister Roger Eagle, used to say "Always the Version"! So last moth I flipped this and played out "Northside Cheng Dub" at the new YuGong Yishan club on Beijing's DongSi and that GuZheng sample cut like a monster robo scythe right through the mix and into the depths of the sunken dancefloor ...... China Needs Bass! - order the T-shirts now! Old mate Jah Wobble was out here last week and he tells me that his (Chinese) musician father-in-law, based in Liverpool, has invented the (first) Chinese bass, the DaHu!"

Steve Barker, The Wire aka DJ Lao Lao Shu (Old Rat), Beijing

LDN004 "The Bits ft. Trim"/"Northside Cheng Dub" is out now. Check it on Boomkat here. The first release in the return of Keysound Recordings for 2008...