- Keysound isn't what it used to be. The spirit remains the same—still channeling the urban anxiety of London—but the label's personnel has seen a huge sea change. Only founders Dusk and Blackdown have held on through the years. But it might be even better than it used to be. In 2013, Keysound has a sterling roster of new artists, and the brash pronouncement of "this is the new wave" that opens the label's first compilation says it all.
The Godzilla-sized collaboration between Beneath, Visionist and Wen is not just a clever idea, it's an aggressive display of pure muscle and bravado. They form the foundation for Keysound MK II, a stunning collective of young producers who deal in urban edge and hardcore continuum thrash. This Is How We Roll offers up their prime selections amidst a number of reworks of recent Keysound staples. Double Helix's impressionistic "LDN" becomes nailed down by leaden drums, Wen's lithe "Commotion" gets dubbed-out and shaken, and Dusk + Blackdown put a welcome drum track underneath "Lonely Moon," an ambient vocal waft from last year.
This Is How We Roll also has a number of label debuts. E.m.m.a. comes out looking the best with "Peridot," whose big foamy synths are welcome relief after an hour of percussive lashings. Fresh Paul sounds like a Guido acolyte with shrieking string samples and slovenly drum hits, while Rabit's "Satellite" provides the most acrid grime beat since "Anaconda," out-screwfacing everyone else here. Add that to the disorienting hall-of-mirrors from Logos & Mumdance and the dub comedown of Moleskin's "Burst," and you have a compilation that leaves no stone unturned. The title This Is How We Roll isn't just cheeky sloganeering either. It refers to bossman Martin Clark's "sub-zero rollage," a term he coined to describe the ironclad pulse of Beneath. It's a phrase that perfectly wraps up the entire roster's tendency for antisocial paeans to concrete and steel. And if this is how they roll, they're blazing past everyone else in their path.
01. Visionist, Beneath & Wen - New Wave
02. Beneath - PVO
03. Samrai - Hear Me Now
04. Visionist - Dangerous
05. Wen - Commotion VIP
06. Double Helix - LDN VIP
07. Epoch - The Steppenwolf
08. Dusk + Blackdown feat. Farrah - Lonely Moon (Android Heartbreak drumz remix)
09. Fresh Paul - Blaster
10. Mumdance & Logos - In Reverse
11. Gremino - Monster VIP
12. Rabit - Satelite
13. E.m.m.a. - Peridot
14. Moleskin - Burst