The multifaceted Liminal Sounds camp have most certainly put in the prerequisite legwork over the last few years to deserve debut full release success. Revolving around the movements of founder Sam (Elsewhere) and Sara Kabiri, pretty much everything Liminal related is dope, whether it’s the beats emanating from the crew, right through to the design and typeface on their flyers. Having operated as reputable blog and mixtape series since 2010 (if you missed any of the editions, check heavy installments from Mike G, Raised By Records and their latest from Samename), 2011 saw the Liminal Sounds vibe seamlessly transferred to a bustling club night that has gone on to showcase a healthy slice of the grime and bass-centric community’s freshest talent. The kaleidoscopic array of artists enlisted has included Slimzee, Youngstar, Randomer, Logos, Visionist and many other bright lights, but equally impressive has been the quality of the complimentary releases and ‘zines that have accompanied the events; it’s an endearing overall package that encompasses a wider spectrum of elements than a lot of run-of-the-mill projects you see cropping up nowadays. Musically, their promise as an outfit goes a long way in representing the diversity and strength of instrumental grime-aligned sounds right now and along with imprints both new and old such as Keysound, Templar, Coyote, Get Some, Butterz, Oil Gang, No Hats No Hoods, Gobstopper, Bandulu, Lost Codes, Egyptian Avenue, talk of a new project from Slackk and numerous others, there’s a real abundance of reasons to hyped in anticipation of the coming year.
Stream: Youngstar – “Pulse X (Blackwax Remix)” (Liminal Sounds)
To inaugurate themselves as a vinyl presence, their debut plate features remix treatment from two of the UK’s most mercurial prospects, 92Points’ Visionist with the flipside fronted by production duo Blackwax. It’s been just over 10 years since Youngstar’s truly seminal “Pulse X” had such a marked impact on the UK underground landscape, igniting grime’s ascendancy to worldwide notoriety and influence. Whilst some might deem tampering with a track of this stature unnecessary, the kind of cyclical nature of a decennial celebration seems perfectly appropriate to us, especially considering the strength of the refreshes and the blessing from Youngstar himself. Blackwax in particular absolutely murder it. A partnership forged at university in Edinburgh, the pair emerged last year armed with the heavily jungle-referenced, break splicing rudeness of “Offkey/ Surface“, their debut 12” on Subway Music’s sub-label Tube 10, and it’s on a similar plane that they bless “Pulse X”; syncopating insistent 808 snares with predatory kick punches, neatly chopped amen loops and intermittent rasps of that classic bassline. The stuttering, broken rhythms are engaging and provide a nice switch-up whilst maintaining the same trigger finger-brandishing dancefloor energy as the original.
Stream: Youngstar – “Pulse X (Visionist Remix)” (Liminal Sounds)
On the flip, Visionist ably delivers a tough, reshuffled bassline that’s a closer match to the original than Blackwax’s minimalist, percussion led approach, and V’s application of buoyant string melodies lend a classic grime edge to it. The bugged out vocal samples begin to interchange and harmonise with the synths, and Visionist’s soulfully macabre signature aesthetic shines through before he injects another layer of bass manipulation as it rolls into the second section; heady, darkside flavours from the South London-based badman. The digital bundle features further permutations on the theme with solid efforts from Pedro 123, Elsewhere and Slackk, the latter being the pick of the bunch as the scouse don deploys a frenetic barrage of handclaps that deftly spar with the warping bass underneath. All in all, if the intention of the release was to pay homage to a modern classic through re-interpretations by a few of 2013’s finest, then they do that admirably, providing us with some fat refixes on wax in the process.