Welcome to ‘Mengzy Selects’, a monthly column which features eight recently released tracks by producers and labels in Asia and across the Asian diaspora. Your host is Mengzy: a Hong Kong-based DJ and producer, academic, music journalist and co-founder of Wonton Bass.
1 POP SMOKE ‘Welcome to the Party’ (Deft Remix)
Last week, Deft, real name Yip Wong, released RMXS-1, the first of a series of remix EPs to grace his B4 Music imprint. The four-track drop opens with a rework of Pop Smoke’s ‘Welcome to the Party’ and serves as a vibey interlude in between his excellent ‘SKIN’ EP from April and a future project that the London-based producer has teased will be unleashed under a new alias.
Tackling the Skepta remix of ‘Welcome to the Party’, which features the British MC on verses alongside Pop Smoke, Deft’s flip injects kinetic layers of percussion and gritty texture that energise the subterranean drill beat, transforming it into an urgent club roller.
Listen to ‘Welcome to the Party’ (Deft Remix) here.
2 NIKKI NAIR ‘DONUT TIME’
Nikki Nair has rapidly become one of hottest properties in the eclectic global bass and breaks scene with releases on respected underground labels like GutterFunk, Scuffed, and Breaks ‘N’ Pieces, to name a few.
With ‘Renormalization Support Group’, the versatile Indian-American producer joins Astrophonica’s epic ranks (which includes some of my favourite producers like founder Fracture and Sam Binga) with an EP that picks up on the electro turn that the label has recently taken.
It was hard to pick a favourite from this project (‘Where R U’ comes in at a close second), but the wicked acid groove and pitch-bending pad on ‘Donut Time’ had us hitting repeat this month.
Listen to ‘Donut Time’ here.
3 GUBER ‘WRONG IBIZA’ (BASS MIX)
On MIHN005, the Hong Kong-based label has tapped into their French network for a four-track EP from up-and-comer Guber.
On ‘Wrong Ibiza’ (Bass Mix), the Parisian producer embarks on an international trip of influences to deliver an existential beat that literally asks, “Am I happy with who I am?”
And what are the stops on this musical itinerary? A deep Goa bassline, UK Bass-inflected Amen edits and heady Brazilian percussion… So, pack your bags.
Listen to ‘Wrong Ibiza’ (Bass Mix) here.
4 KEN ISHII ‘LIVER BLOW’
Sometimes, less is more and sometimes, more is more! Need a high-octane 4/4 banger for a packed dancefloor? Club and rave DJs, look no further than Ken Ishii’s explosive ‘Liver Blow’ (alcohol sold separately).
The Japanese OG takes no prisoners with this heavy techno roller, recently released on his own 70 Drums imprint. Featuring a fantastic glitchy synth as the star of the show, you’ll also be entranced by the subtle permutations in the drums and phat layers of atmosphere that propel ‘Liver Blow’ forward.
Listen to ‘Liver Blow’ here.
5 PHUC LONG ‘RUHE VOR DEM STURM’
The calm before the storm. That’s what ‘Ruhe vor dem Sturm’ translates to in English and it’s a fitting title for the last of three tracks on Phuc Long’s Pink EP, out on Holy Grail Music since September 21.
A stalwart in the Vietnamese underground scene, Chris Wolter AKA Phuc Long (his house alias) is also a co-founder of Pink Room Records (which begs the question: is the EP named Pink in homage?).
In ‘Ruhe vor dem Sturm’, Wolter introspectively develops a dubby exploration over nearly ten minutes with swirling textures and a hypnotic cycling chord sequence. It’s the kind of trip-hoppy music you could either meditate to or end an epic night of raving with, chilling out at the afters.
Listen to ‘Ruhe vor dem Sturm’ here.
6 YENBOY ‘RETURN OF THE MAYFLY’
‘Return of the Mayfly’ starts simply enough: kick, snare and a funky lil’ bassline. Then some violin stabs are teased before the full string sample gloriously ushers in a groovy “intergalactic” disco vibe, as producer Yenboy told Mixmag Asia earlier this month.
Giving Discovery-era Daft Punk, which I’ve got a massive soft spot for, ‘Return of the Mayfly’ is one of fourteen tracks on Yen Disco Soundsystem’s debut LP, produced by co-founders Yenboy and MZA. We look forward to what the pair, spread between Singapore and Toyko, will be bringing next, if ‘Welcome to Yenworld’ is any indication.
Listen to ‘Return of the Mayfly’ here.
7 JLAFORTEZA ‘THE BOOTSY’S FUNK’
In ‘The Bootsy’s Funk’, Deepflected head JLaforteza ingeniously samples an obscure clip floating around on the internet of legendary bass guitarist Bootsy Collins sharing his “funk formula” sometime in the 1970s.
You’d be surprised how short and bare the original sample is, given the lush melodic world the Manila-based producer constructs in his funkadelic deep house interpretation of Bootsy’s bassline demo. ‘The Bootsy’s Funk’ also makes very effective use of the guitarist’s charismatic vocal instructions like, “Then you wanna break it down, break down!” Sure, we’ll do whatever you say, Bootsy!
Listen to ‘The Bootsy’s Funk’ here.
8 KAYE ‘TTT’
Having been a fan of Kaye’s global groove edits since early 2021, you can imagine my delight at getting a bandcamp release email telling me that the Darker Than Wax co-founder was back at it with ‘ഇന്ത്യ (Intya) Vol. 2’.
Departing from the Italo lean of his earlier Bollywood edits, volume 2 ropes in new influences this time round, such as electro and Jersey Club. A rich, zither-like synth that Kaye deploys to double the riff between vocal phrases is utterly addictive and enlivens this playful duet alongside tasteful drums and percussion to enhance the original recording.
Listen to ‘TTT’ here.