Review: The Widdler x OldGold – Imperial / Helktram x Karnage – Rat Catcher [BS003]

US label Banana Stand Sound is back again with their third dose of potassium enriched dubstep and this time it’s jam packed with 4 producers; 2 Americans and 2 Japanese facing off in a battle for sub supremacy. Prime material that really showcases what the US has to offer in the international conversation of dubstep.

Side A finds The Widdler and OldGold combining their DNA for “Imperial”, a show-stopping intro echoing with dub aesthetic data, meditations upon cosmic energy, string theory and portents of “a window into another dimension” trail off into a tribalist stomp complete with pitter patter hand drums, noir string slices and a stop-start groove that doesn’t let up until the after the second drop where “Imperial” kicks into high gear as the sub comes armed with tasteful Coki wobbles and plummets six miles beneath the bedrock.

On the flip, Japanese underground kings Helktram and Karnage collaborate on the delightfully sci-fi infused romp of “Rat Catcher”. Ripping a well worn sample of J. Robert Oppenheimer quoting the Bhagavad Gita in context of the atom bombs destructive power. “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. A nagging, yet instantly hummable cyber melody leads the proceedings underneath an oscillating bass figure. Squiggly tardigrades awaken from cryoslumber and play around the spaces in between the staggered percussion. Perfectly tailored to prop up a tiring dancer floor.

With labels like Banana Stand, Joe Nice’s GourmetBeats based outta Baltimore, Chi-town’s Fortress Dubs and dare I say Innamind / Blacklist / IMX too, it’s really time to acknowledge that while Croydon may be the birthplace of dubstep, 140 is now in safe hands with us yanks.

BS003 is released April 22nd and available to pre-order from the Banana Stand Sound Store.

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