Since April 2015, the Duploc imprint has been releasing eclectic 140 singles by producers from across Europe and beyond. Up until this point, the record label has been content supplying its citizens with digital-only music. No longer able to contain its taste for acetate and hungry for more music, Duploc is pressing Hebbe’s latest EP, DUPPLATES Vol. 1, into wax for its debut vinyl EP outing; the Dupplates series has begun. The four-track EP features Hebbe’s ‘Watch Out’, and a remix from the label’s own ENiGMA Dubz. Following those two on the flip are two collaborative beats constructed by Hebbe, Melle and Mr.K. With this new chapter unfolding, Hebbe and ENiGMA Dubz are taking care of the vinyl and digital mastering, respectively. The move towards in-house mastering technicians provides further creative control for the Duploc platform. With ENiGMA Dubz having been a label staple since 2015, it’s comforting to know each new digital track will have been processed by an artist so involved in the label’s history.
Twisting and turning with Hebbe’s methodical skank, the EP opens with ‘Watch Out’. Spacious and smoky, it feels like the spiritual sequel to Hebbe’s Duploc debut single, ‘Sword Art’/’Float Yourself’. Shreds of anger growl through the dizzying bass pulses, punctuating rootikal clauses with near-mosh pit energy. This energy is elongated, sculpted and crafted by ENiGMA Dubz in the 2nd drop of his mechanized remix. The smoke and mirrors remain under a more varied narrative. Many different areas of the song’s possibilities are visited, from the distinctly heavier to the erring-on-mystical, sci-fi soundtrack elements. Whilst being able to grab and hold attention longer than the original, the infectious rhythm of Hebbe’s skank is a hefty trade.
Flip over the record (because for the first time you can, maybe flip it a couple more times just for fun) and you’ll find a couple of bumpy tracks to drive down, enigmatic scenery included. A trio of beasts in their own right, Hebbe, Mr.K and Melle carve some calm, weighty grooves into the B-side. ‘Wayside’ employs a classic, two-note dubstep hook rocking the triplets, augmenting more fiercely (or weirdly) bar by bar. Whilst not quite sharing the power of ‘Watch Out’, or the calm, rooted weight of its neighbour, ‘Lemon Twist’, ‘Wayside’ perhaps lives up a little too much to its name. It seems though, that the trio know exactly what to do when life gives you lemons. ‘Lemon Twist’ is a sign they are willing to leave the dungeon and provide for the daytime skankers. It could blend nicely alongside Radikal Guru or Gorgon Sound and with the right blend, more upbeat dub could even sit nicely on its sour saddle. Mr.K’s influence comes through loud and clear, blended with Hebbe’s step. I’m sure a certain, grabby lemon would find this, “ACCEPTABLEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
Exciting times are ahead for this record label which is, like me, sitting bang in the middle of its 20’s. Unlike me however, Duploc knows exactly what to do next. This producer-inclusive EP shows the label’s positive attitude towards collaboration, nods to a time before dubstep, and grits its teeth for a 2nd drop reload. The importance of collaborations can be seen in examples like Soukah x Primer x TAR’s ‘Rost’, on the Rarefied imprint. It seems that each musician leaves the track more knowledgeable. While we’re going to have to wait until January 2019 for any more digital singles, the brand new Dupplates series should keep us going throughout the aching merriment that is Christmas.