A couple of intriguing 12-inchers that have come to my attention recently. Both coming from mysterious sources in Germany and both focused on a minimal slice 'n dice approach to dubstep that takes no prisoners.
First came Stamp Archive 001. I assumed that the label and artist were the same thing, a la Sleeparchive, but whoever submitted this release to Discogs reckons the artist is somebody called Jegor Teplow, and confirms the rumour that Sleeparchive co-produced the record, which seems perfectly believable. The beats have the same dry, clinical edge, with subtly applied reverbs adding splashes of depth and colour. Both 'L A C' and 'Russia' are broadly experimenting in the halfstep mold, but the arrangements are far more austere and artificial, cruel and heartless. But there is a strong emotional content via the simple but effective melodic synth parts which extend a friendly, if slightly clammy, hand to the listener. It's not blowing my mind, but I like it.
'Aeto', by Anstam arrived almost simultaneously. Who's that? I have absolutely no idea. The record comes lavishly sheathed in two layers of good quality black sleeve, and has a proper printed label, but is totally unforthcoming with regards to minor details like, er, track titles or anything else that might give some clue to it's origins. The two tracks display an even more ruthless cyborg intent, with busier beats like sexless 2-Step stripped of the synthetic flesh, cleaving the air like a rampaging exo-skeleton. The vicious electronic blurps, blips and squawks are bolstered by occasional flurries of funky tabla, undulating bass frequency, nasty overdriven kick drums and ominous layers of ambient texture. This one's big.
Whether these are a just a brief flirtation or an opening salvo from a minimally-inclined army of euro-steppers remains to be seen, but I for one am waiting with bated breath...