Dark garage with mean basslines.
SP:MC - Vintage / Slugfest
In the improbable event that a young cousin, niece or someone else approaches you and asks, "Hey, what's a bassline?" consider sitting them down and playing "Slugfest" by SP:MC. In fact, even if you're bang into bass-heavy UK soundsystem music, this one is worth close attention. Stewart Procter has been making—and MCing over—some of club music's gnarliest basslines for well over a decade, and it really shows. The interplay between the sub and the snarling, teeth-gnashing higher frequency line is impeccable. There could even be a third bass part in the moments after the drop, although it's tough to tell amid the clever layering. All this low-end pressure is extra notable because Procter, who usually produces dubstep, is here working within a dark garage framework reminiscent of El-B.
The black-and-white cover shot of an empty champagne bottle sitting in a dank stairwell is a nice visual metaphor for the A-side, "Vintage." There are moments of leftover warmth from the night before—some Rhodes keys, a soft female vocal coos—but mostly the mood has turned hostile. Again, the bassline is killer, bouncing between crisp beats, cut-up vocals and an occasional blast of MC chatter. Procter has released very little in recent years, returning from a five-year absence last year with the double A-side Pondlife / R1. But between that and his previous one, Declassified, his last three records have been close to essential.