Tremble – Penitentiary Dub / Trouble [RUFFCUT008]

The best labels are the ones that represent a particular, consecutive sound, that can teach us about different aspects of the represented genre, while introducing new talent that contributes to its evolution. Osiris Music has successfully achieved this by years of pushing their individual ambiguous style. Commonly known for heavy, rich bass with techno influences, its imprint – Ruffcut, with an exclusively physical catalogue of 10″ vinyl releases, established themselves as sought after pioneers of strong and unprecedented dubwise music. Starting out with great releases from Ipman, Killawatt and an infamous sell-out of Kaiju’s Ruffcut #2, the imprint has introduced us to a producer who develops fresh forms of bass music, representing a perfect, deeper continuity of Simon Shreeve’s musical contributions so far.

‘Burial of dub’, we could call the producer, who hides behind the alias of “Tremble”, from the start surrounded by questions and mystery. Having appeared out of nowhere, he established himself a strong place on recent Ruffcut releases, with some seeking his announcement already as an “Unknown Artist” on unattributed Ruffcut #4. Either it’s an emerging artist or an alias of someone we know and admire, he created a stirring style with a strong Jamaican reggae influence, but presented in an original, harmonious method. Claiming to limit himself to only few elements, he fills the space with spontaneous delays, reverbs, and massive drums. So far exclusive to Osiris Music, Ruffcut presses Tremble’s fourth official release on a golden wax, wrapped in their characteristic brown paper sleeve, adding to the old school feel.

“Penitentiary Dub” on the A-side appears through the Tremble’s distinctive drafty, delayed vocals and metallic percussions, with a strong kick drum that keeps rolling in a dub-techno style, crushed occasionally with giant, distant snares. Aside from the 4×4 bass drum, many elements (shakers, regular percs) and structure (longer, progressive sections) suggest a strong techno influence, but combined with twisted, echoing Jamaican samples and dissonant bass notes. This track definitely puts the listener in a peculiar, parallel dimension, somewhere between reminiscent reflection and raving pulse. Tremble seems to have this ability to merge his roots fascinations into something disturbed and unsettling.

On the B-side we find Medika – a producer who delivers the darker and ambient side of drum & bass and dubstep, making for a perfect collaboration with somebody like Tremble. In contrast to the first track of the record, this one floats on more harmonious, gentle pads with a soft, swinging bass and warmer percussions. “Trouble” features heart-warming vocals from Shady Novelle, which you may recognise from Medika’s earlier downtempo release “Tuesday”, reappearing now rather dubbed-out and distant. Tremble’s version spices up Shady’s vocal with an intriguing and phantasmagorical touch, retaining the beauty of her original performance.

RUFFCUT008 is out now and available from Unearthed Sounds, Redeye, White Peach, Rewind Forward, Intense Records and the Osiris Music Store.

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