Friday 26 December 2008

As promised, here's the first segment in our 2008 awards. Aside from the winner, the remainder are in no specific order, but have all been deserving of praise this year.


Hyetal really came into his own in 2008, with We Should Light A Fire featured on the opening segment of Mary Anne Hobbes’ Rise Up Bristol special, and a whole big bunch of net buzz getting the underground salivating. Given his next level production, it’s no wonder. With the bubbling wash of synths and ectopic beats introducing the aforementioned track, its clear Hyetal has creativity in abundance when building atmosphe
re and groove.

Gold Or Soul has had a lot of praise too, and it’s unsurprising given its warm yet melancholy melody. This is what’s key about his work - the melody in each piece is so assured and he's able to weave beats around big sonic ideas with an assured touch that is lacking in other producers. The rhythm is never overly saturated, as evidenced in Pixel Rainbow Sequence, as good a track as you'll hear anytime soon with its chattering of bleep signals sounding like an off-world call and response from some long forgotten space station.

It’s a given that 2009 will be his year. With beats due to officially drop in the Spring and a groundswell of support for him growing every day, it’s a genuine pleasure to see such a talented local artist making huge leaps in music. BUG caught up with the man himself for a quick chat.

B : Why the name Hyetal?

H : It's just a word I found somewhere. It represents where I come from and my favourite weather conditions for making beats.

B : How did you find your way to Bristol?

H: I moved to Bristol about 5 years ago. Some of my friends came here for Uni. I got a job in a record shop and followed them down.

B : You have got a lot of hype right's that feel to know so many people are into your music?

H : Yeah seems a few people are starting to take notice. It’s cool.

B : Your style seems separated from the usual glut of samey producers... What are your roots in music?

H : I played bass in rock bands for years, but always had quite eclectic tastes. I properly got into hip-hop when I was about 15 and found the sampling element really interesting. I started seeking out old vinyl for breaks and sounds. This introduced me to load of amazing music, especially early electronic stuff like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. I had an MPC and used to make sample based beats; I didn't really try to make anything with computers until I started a music tech course a few years ago.

B : How would you describe your style?

H : Melodic, bass driven music.

B : Who has influenced your music in the past?

H : Loads of stuff really, tons of musicians, producers, films and books. I guess a turning point for me making the music I do at the moment, would be when I first heard 'I Luv U’ (Dizzee Rascal). I was massively into Timbaland and I thought it sounded like some mad Timbo beat made on the cheap with loads of distortion. Someone told me it was grime music, so I checked for the Rephlex compilation called 'Grime' when it came out that year. I found some more tracks from Plasticman and MRK 1, and went down to see Slaughter Mob when they played in Bristol in 2005. I was pretty much hooked after that.

B : Which artists are inspiring you now?

H : I've been listening to some of my old CDs recently. Boards Of Canada 'Music Has The Right To Children' and Stereolab 'Dots And Loops' have been played a lot over the last month or so. I'd love to achieve somewhere near that level of production one day. Always digging as well, picked up some acid folk stuff, Pentangle and Incredible String Band, that's very inspiring melodically. More contemporary stuff I'm feeling would be Donnacha Costello 'It Simply Is’ got that on the recommendations of a friend and its sick. Dubstep-wise I'm always checking for Martyn, Mala, Kode 9 and Peverelist.

B : What equipment do you favour to make music?

H : A mixture of stuff I've collected over the years and Logic. I've got an analogue synth and some guitar pedals, gonna get some more hardware soon.

B : Whats next for you?

H : I have a couple of tracks coming out on Formant recordings early next year. There's a few other releases lined up that are probably too early to speak about, as well as collaborations and remixes with some sick producers.

B : Give us a top 5 (of anything).

H : Top 5 90s computer games

1) Streets of rage 3
2) Street Fighter 2
3) Sonic
4) Mortal Kombat
5) Mega Bomberman

I was a Sega kid.


Phaeleh has had a lot of love on this here blog, and in our opinion is one of the brightest talents to emerge from Bristol in years. Like Hyetal, his approach to production seems to work off a template that he plucked from a faulty flux capacitator light years in the future. He's a master of imposing mood and texture into a track, and more importantly seems to know intuitively when to let a sound breathe in its own space, indicated with tracks like the insidious swing of Low.

BUG likens his tracks to the Invisible Soundtracks series that was released on Leaf many years ago, the idea being songs specifically composed for non-existent films - Isolate conjures up the end credits to the aftermath of a fatal samurai battle, whilst Virus is the sound of a frantic chase through the neon-lit rain-soaked streets of a future Tokyo. Any producer who can spark up your synapses like that is deserving of praise, and including his fine work this year with his label Urban Scrumping as well as his own beats, we’re really looking forward to a good 2009 for the man.



2008 was the year that Time really impressed BUG, with an impeccable work rate that has led him to progress further than a lot of other people in this city who talk the talk, but don’t back it up with the product. His output this year has been phenomenal, and what’s even more interesting given that fact is the depth of quality in his work, which is second to none.

Whether its the sweet memories of reggae soundsystems past in Echo Park or the mutated R&B licks of Jeri Curl Boogie, Time has a beat for every occasion. The Line sounds like something off an old Tombone release, and wouldn’t be out of place in the discography of an offkey Techno producer like Tim Paris. Also a technically gifted DJ, we expect to see big things from TIME in 2009.



Guido is the one who’s tipped by most to come up hard in 2009 – and when considering his work is so strong, it would be a travesty if he didn’t. Everybody should have heard Orchestral Lab by now, the stuttering strings powering the erratic beat along with grandiose urgency, and his set of work is certainly getting him props from the big hitters like Pinch and Mary Anne Hobbes, who rightly showcased Beautiful Complication recently, which for BUG was one of our favourite songs this year, everything about the track is just so ridiculously on point, be it the vocal, beat, sounds like abstract shoegazing mixed with twisted R&B in a nuclear reactor. We simply cannot wait to see what he dreams up next.



Wascal was another BUG favourite this year, a seriously badboy DJ and a wicked producer to boot. Tracks like Submission, which sounds like a maudlin eulogy to his imaginary fallen Cantonese Ninja brothers, or Hollowpoint with its saw-toothed bassline and skittering percussion show his propensity for big ideas in each track that are about a million per beat. Wascal deserves a much wider audience for his work, and we hope 2009 we see him achieve that.



Bella was a real newcomer to the Bristol scene this year, and a real revelation for BUG. A cohort of Time, she has an incredible affinity with atmosphere and building mood in a track, with the resonating synths of Ficuzza sounding like Mantronix on acid, or Matsue Castle coming on like an ancient shogun speaking in tongues. A real one to watch - Bella has serious raw talent and will be definitely getting some props in 2009.


If you listen to the nonsense that some of those who are supposedly “in the know” churn out, then you'll know the latest word on everybody’s lips is Wonky. Every producer who has a slightly off-key sound that’s a step away from the set paths of other genres is now lazily being classed with this frankly stupid moniker. Rekordah could be classed as wonky - or even worse Glitch Hop - but neither of these terrible phrases does the sheer insane majesty of his beats justice. Peanut Butter Dreams is the sound of an MPC in meltdown, Candy Flossin' a copy of Super Mario Bros played backwards in an oildrum. Wafer Crunch is our favourite though, the debut track in a genre we will call Mogadon Krunk, just to be awkward and to sound like we’re down with the underground. Regardless of names, we predict big things for this guy in 2009.



Consept aka Sickman D had a good year in the '08. Another producer with a high work rate, his progression from month to month has been a real pleasure to witness. Sickman's tracks like Follow and Bubblin B have energised many a slow day for BUG, the latter coming at you with some serious Omni Trio style vibes mashed into off-kilter garage rhythms. Specialist also mines the 90s D&B melody sound bank and is all the better for it. If there’s any justice in the world Sickman D will be getting heard by a lot more people in 2009.


We've raved on and on about Plimsouls this year, but seriously - the man is a genius. Beautiful production with an ear for a melody like few can hope for, and an unashamedly pop sensibility, his sound is like sunshine injected directly into your eardrums. Whether it’s the old tracks like Rebecca and Make Your Own Mistakes, or the newer remixes and songs like 103, Plimsouls’ musical evolution is speeding along like a juggernaut, and dragging us with it in it’s wake. Outstanding.


A consummate production genius, Plodocus has a background in ambient that belies his approach to building textures in tracks like Glimmer, but its an approach that pays rich dividends in Eshto or Quench The Gloom, both of which remind us of a more upfront Bola. 2009 will hopefully see him bring us more tracks like these with their vivid mix of styles.