As I sit in my kitchen, reflecting on the dynamics of the past several years of development in the worldwide bass music community, I feel hard-pressed to come up with a label that has been more influential in shaping the future of forward-thinking sound system music than Hamburg’s Saturate Records. With a knack for discovering heavy hitters before they blow up, Saturate has always stayed not just steps, but miles ahead of the curve (Herobust, G Jones, Pixelord, Bleep Bloop, Om Unit, and many other now-famous producers released music on Saturate long before they achieved the success they experience today). Behind all this musical insanity lies a relatively mysterious German label head by the name of Bios. Obviously, as a tastemaker, his vision is second to none, but since the label’s inception, the OG Saturate badman has been relatively quiet on the production side, tending to focus the spotlight on other producers from around the world instead of his own work. However, finally, with the release of his debut EP “Ashki Chronicles” on Dev79 and Starkey‘s label Slit Jockey, Bios has let the world take a peek into the fascinating mind that created the premiere innovative bass music label in the game.
If you were to ask me right now what was going to be “hot” in the landscape of electronic music in 2016, the answer would undoubtedly be “icy synth-grime beats”, and apparently, Bios agrees. In 2015, we witnessed grime go global with MC’s like Skepta, JME, Stormzy, Wiley, Novelist, and many others seeing massive success well outside the borders of the genre’s traditional popularity in the UK. Instrumental grime also experienced a significant gain in popularity, and it’s only natural for that sound to develop and morph as we move into the new year. Of course, to say that instrumental shiny grime beats are new to 2016 would be far from the truth (producers like Murlo, Kid Antoine, Sudanim, Drippin, Korma, and many others have been pushing this sound for years), but it’s clear that this style is set to take off in 2016. With “Ashki Chronicles”, Bios is ahead of the curve and setting the trend (in classic Saturate fashion), implementing a unique blend of the shiny grime style developed by the previously mentioned producers and the traditional trippy 808 sound of his own label’s releases.
Although all the tracks on the EP hold their own individually and are unique in their own way, my personal favorite is “Cold”, a collaboration with Dutch producer Deadcrow. It begins with a dark and mysterious whistle lead, but quickly drops into a blizzard of frosty synth stabs and massive glacial kicks that will undoubtedly have dance floors freezing over around the world in the coming months. Other standout tracks include “Ashiki Chronicles” (the title track) which uniquely blends a Zeke Beats-esque grinding synth with a more traditional shuffling grime rhythm, and the psychedelic percussive smasher “Stomp”. The EP takes what we’ve come to expect from a Saturate release, flipped that expectation on it’s head, and tossed it in a blender with some quintessential Slit Jockey/Seclusiasis and Her Records sound. Whether the world knows it or not, “Ashki Chronicles” is what 2016 is going to sound like.
Stream the release below and buy it from the following online retailers:
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