Tag Archives: Sam Binga

Top 5: Kusp

Portsmouth producer Kusp is someone we’ve had an eye on for a while. Through a slow trickle of releases for Authentic, Context and now Lynx’s Detail Recordings imprint, he’s slowly been carving a rep as a versatile producer capable of slinging traditional 2-step rollers and bassy halftime growlers alike. As he gears up for his debut album on Detail, we asked Kusp to give us the rundown of his top 5 halftime cuts. Check it out…

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Om Unit & Sam Binga – BUNIT004

Om Unit & Sam Binga’s irregular BUNIT series of releases continues to be an absolute pleasure with the fourth volume now available via their usual Bandcamp store. As with previous volumes this is a complete free-for-all in terms of patterns and influences, vaguely within the 170 arena but certainly making no concessions to D&B formulas or trends.

From grimey trapped-out opener Shut The Window through the absolutely devastating cut-up jungle smasher Self Triggered, out into the spacey, driving weirdness of Never Been To Berghain and finishing up with the extremely acid-infused (and baffling titled) No Chairs, this is scattershot, heavyweight and generally fantastic. Exactly what you’d expect from Binga and Unit then really.

Vinyl copies of this are moving fast so hit up Unearthed Sounds to grab the wax or head to the BUNIT Bandcamp to get a digital copy straight from the source.

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Om Unit & Sam Binga – TransSiberian EP [BUNIT]

Frequent partners in crime Sam Binga & Om Unit return to their infrequent but consistently excellent “Trans Continental” EP series this month, delivering the 3rd and final instalment through their self-run BUNIT imprint.

As we’ve come to expect from these producers and this series of EPs in particular, this is another melting pot of genre influences as dub, grime, jungle and footwork are smashed together into a funk-laden boogie-stew across four playful tracks sure to put a smile on any bass connoisseur’s face. There’s certainly tons of variety too; opener Optimist Prime lives up to it’s name with a buoyant, victorious lead line set to a driving halftime clap groove, while 2000 Dogs melds squelching acid bass with some tasty jungle break chopping.

Fans of the crossover footwork sound will definitely enjoy Up & Under; a frenetic array of percussion keeps this one moving at a breakneck pace, while Baby Steps takes us way out with a glacially paced, spaced-out dub jam. Sick vibes all round from two of the most innovative names in the scene! Check out the clips below and hit up the BUNIT Bandcamp to grab a copy direct on vinyl or digital.

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Sam Binga & Om Unit – TransPacific EP

Messrs Binga & Unit are back with another cheeky slice of white label shenaniganery following the success of their Transatlantic EP. The pair have gone in on a selection of experimental beats for this one, with one eye on the dancefloor but probably another three eyes elsewhere.

Windmill Kick opens the salvo with a ruffneck slice of chopped up jungle sporting a distinctly grime-influenced synth melody. It’s a perfect example of the sort of genre-clashing production that makes their work so exciting, and it’s more than capable of moving a dancefloor to boot; wicked stuff.

Big Kev changes tack completely, bringing together footwork, hip-hop and a squelching acid line for an outing remeniscent of Fracture, Spinn & Taso’s recent Acid Claps; apparently great minds think alike! 1000 Cats keeps the riddims shuffling but airs things out with a fantastic psych-tinged melody, leaving it to Planetary Reboot to go full-mental and close the EP with a droning, beatless synth-noise wash.

We’re suckers for a good white label here at the Dojo and it’s fantastic to hear two producers as talented as Om Unit & Sam Binga flowing free with their sonic whims, unshackled by labels or genre pigeon-holes. Roll on the next instalment! Hit up the BUNIT Bandcamp to grab a copy now, but move fast; if this one sells as well as the first release did it won’t be on their shelves for long.

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Top 10 Albums of 2015

2015 has been another strong year for the D&B LP in what seems to be a growing trend for more established artists to explore their sound across a full length record rather than just churning out singles. As the year draws to a close, here’s our run down of the then best albums we’ve heard this year. In no particular order… Continue reading

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Sam Binga – Wasted Days LP [Critical Music]

UK dance music’s cross-pollination of musical styles and influences has contributed to the excitement, longevity and innovation of the scene from the very genesis of rave in the late 80s, with everything from jazz to metal at some point playing its part in the evolution of some corner of the electronic sound. Perhaps the strongest of those influences though is that of dub and reggae, without which it’s difficult to imagine the early Jungle sound ever having emerged at all.

All of which brings us to Sam Binga and his new LP, Wasted Days. To say that Jamaican soundsystem culture informs this album would be a vast understatement; while there are many other elements being smashed into the aural supercollider that is Binga’s sound, the reverberations from Kingston can be felt everywhere from the patois of the vocals to the deep bass hums and beyond.

This isn’t mere cultural appropriation though, but more accurately a fantastic melding of musical styles by one of Critical Music’s most exciting and relevant artists. Bring together the positivity of dub with the urgency of grime and footwork, topped off with the polish and engineering expected within the D&B scene and you have an album that couldn’t feel more potent.

Refreshingly, this also feels like an album engineered for listening rather than for the selector’s convenience. Tracks weigh in at two and three minutes rather than five or six, and you’ll find few yawningly DJ friendly intros amongst the material. Rather than relying on breakdowns to change the energy, the track sequencing changes the pace instead, such as the fantastic switchup as the hyperactive grime of Run The Dance gives way to the beautiful, deep ambience of Hyroglifics collab Dark Day.

Speaking of collaborators, Wasted Days is stuffed with so many featuring credits that the whole thing should probably be credited to “Binga & Friends”. Deft, Chimpo, Om Unit and Hyroglifics all get in on the beats while vocal stylings come from Warrior Queen, Fox, Rudey Lee, Rider Shafique, Romaine, TT The Artist, Slick Don and of course the inimitable Redders. Quite a roster!

Overall this is one of the best albums we’ve heard in a year that continues to prove not only the quality but the diversity of the 170BPM sound. Absolutely essential listening! You can check out a selection of the tracks below (including some fearsome remixes from Ivy Lab available on a special edition 10″) so get yourself a flavour of Wasted Days before you hit up the Critical Store for a copy.

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Om Unit x Sam Binga – Transatlantic EP

Om Unit and Sam Binga are back, and they’re doing it old school with a self pressed white label release! Their new EP features 3 tracks of their chopped up jungle/footwork stylings and a distinctly grimey number to close the EP, and from the brief clips available bellow it sounds cracking. Vinyl pre-orders have already sold out but you can still nab the digital via Bandcamp and there appear to be copies of the vinyl on Redeye – move quickly before they all get snapped up!

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Sam Binga – Nuh Chat EP [Critical Music]

New beats from Binga for Critical mean many things to many people; the man’s unusual take on the 170 sound (and indeed Redders’ vocal stylings) have proved controversial among followers of the scene, some decrying the style as gimmicky or not true D&B while others praise the fun loving vibe and general innovation. Here at the Dojo we fall into the latter camp; anything pushing the boundaries of this music we love can only be a good thing.

The latest round of beats sees two new MC led cuts featuring Redders and two new instrumentals, plus a bonus Enei remix of Lef Dem. The latter proves pretty disappointing, taking the playful vibe of the original and smashing it against a brick wall with a rather unsubtle dose of amens and bass. The rest of the EP however proves much more entertaining, even if the patois/jungle/grime combo of the tracks with Redders is beginning to feel a little cookie cutter. The highlight in our eyes is the joyously swung Elastic, with its big enthusiastic synths and unusual drum groove. Check out the clips below and make up your own mind; this one’s out right now on vinyl and digital at the Critical Store.

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Top Tracks of 2014

Following our run down of our favourite albums of the year, we felt it was only right to put the spotlight on our top tracks. These are the ten tunes that haven’t left our record box since their release…

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Fracture – Loving Touch EP [Exit Records]

The ever enjoyable beats of Charlie Fracture touch down on dBridge’s Exit Records imprint, continuing his leftfield explorations of the 170 sound. Title track Loving Touch (which absolutely went off when I heard dBridge drop it at Glastonbury last weekend) blends old school D&B bass, footwork drum patterns and the irresistible vocal hook from a Chicago house classic. Apparently it was conceived in a dream; we’re not sure if that’s entirely true, but it’s a cracking track and no mistake.

Elsewhere on the EP we’re treated to a stripped-back drum workout on Werk It, twisted, bouncing dub vibrations with more than a hint of jungle on Overload and cheeky Sam Binga collab which keeps the syncopations rapid and the subs massive to close out the EP. As usual Exit are the ones to watch when it comes to pushing the envelope; check out the beats below and grab this one on vinyl or digital now.

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