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 YNZN.P ‘Better Check Yourself’ (Oceantied Remix)
From Kathmandu via Bangalore, the track opening this week’s selections is a remix attached to yet another great offering from Krunk Kulture in recent months: the ‘Better Check Yourself’ EP by YNZN.P.
The Nepalese producer, who previously appeared in Krunk’s debut compilation in 2020, flexes his multigenre bass chops with this new project, where my personal favourites are ‘Choc a Bloc’ and the title track remix.
Blending 2-step, breaks, and a splash of rave, remixer Oceantied transforms ‘Better Check Yourself’, taking it from a supercharged 160BPM excursion into a dancefloor-friendly roller at around 130.
Listen ‘Better Check Yourself’ (Oceantied Remix) here.
2 Dayzero ‘Mastermind’
Global bass heads are probably already familiar with Dayzero, who’s been on a roll recently with releases on (some of my favourite) labels like Bristol’s Livity Sound and Los Angeles/Christchurch’s Deep Dark & Dangerous.
Though he’s recently experimented with more fluid and hybrid bass compositions, the Japanese producer always seems to keep one foot in the dubstep realm and its influence can be heard across his catalogue.
On ‘The Lost Tapes Vol.2’, Dayzero treats us to eight new dubstep tracks. Of these, ‘Mastermind’ is a stand out with its memorably spooky lead melody, flute synth and fat sub. But, it’s the organic percussion which crops up in alternating phrases that really puts the cherry on the top of this 140 cake.
Listen to ‘Mastermind’ here.
3 Chalo ‘Doppelgänger’
Tracks like this are the reason I fell in love with breakbeat techno. Heady and urgent, the opener on the ‘Anemoia’ EP is quite the sonic departure for More Rice Records, which has kept to a comparatively softer club aesthetic – until now.
‘Doppelgänger’, by Thai producer Chalo, expertly combines dark grinding textures and distortion in the lower end with hollow metallic sounds in the mid to upper end that, at times, almost sound celestial. Reverberating with harmonics amid muscular drums and explosive bass power, ‘Doppelgänger’ is a deadly and trance-inducing track that’s definitely going to become a rave staple for me.
Listen to ‘Doppelgänger’ here.
4 Genick ‘Bad Habit Dub’
This month, be sure to press play on ‘Bad Habit Dub’, an infectious new UK garage bootleg of ATFC’s Bad Habit (which in turn was a cover of a 1985 Jenny Burton jam!).
Dropped on Nottingham label Wot U Sayin? as a free download in mid-October, ‘Bad Habit Dub’ is by Tokyo-based Genick, a pillar of the Japanese garage and bassline scene. It serves up classic UKG with a sweet bass flip after the breakdown that’s sure get crowds riled up.
Listen to ‘Bad Habit Dub’ here.
5 Ramiro Lopez ‘The One’ (BEC Remix)
The love child of Arjun Vagale and Ramiro Lopez, Odd Recordings has been in the game for nearly six years now. With ‘The One’ (BEC Remix), label co-head Lopez sees one of his techno vocals from last year’s ‘Al Retortero’ LP get a brilliant rework by BEC.
The British DJ took to her Instagram to share that she tested the remix out on her sets at Burning Man this summer. With its hypnotic driving 4/4, extra layers of drum shuffle, and emotional melodic infusion, we can only imagine how it went down on the playa!
Listen to ‘The One’ (BEC Remix) here.
6 Fellsius ‘Eddy Current’
The opening minute to ‘Eddy Current’ is weird as hell and, let me tell you, Fellsius doesn’t hold back with the rest of this wonderfully wacky four and a half minute candy flip, either. And, if you can believe it, ‘Eddy Current’ is probably the least experimental of three tunes on the Hatch EP, out last Friday on Trekkie Trax.
Each phrase drops with a completely new musical idea as the Japanese producer takes you through a genre tour of glitch, bass, experimental club, and techno that’s bursting with creativity and bravado. If you want to hear something that feels really fresh, unexpected, and original, check ‘Eddy Current’.
Listen to ‘Eddy Current’ here.
7 JT The Goon ‘Warrior’
With its pentatonic melodic contours and plucked string, bell, and gong-esque synths, there’s something unmistakably “oriental” about ‘Warrior’ by JT The Goon. That’s because this instrumental is in the sinogrime style - a little-known grime subgenre that has been floating around since the early 2000s and whose name was coined by Hyperdub’s Kode9 in 2005.
To be clear, sinogrime is grime plus Chinese (and sometimes generically Asian) sounds and samples – it doesn’t refer to grime made in China, where the genre has had limited exposure. With the Crystal Legion EP, however, Gully Riddim helps to cross that cultural bridge by inviting the London producer to release his vibey four-track sinogrime project on a Shanghainese label.
Listen to ‘Warrior’ here.
8 Troja ‘Yam-Yum’ (feat. Adrian Atma)
Courtesy of Wind Horse, New Delhi’s longest running house label, ‘Yam-Yum’ is an enchanting collaboration between producer Troja and multi-instrumentalist Adrian Atma.
The organic house journey features a constellation of string, guitar, flute, and hand drum layers that weave a psychedelic sonic tapestry. Yet for all its melodic richness, Troja expertly adds and strips back the layers throughout the track so that each phrase feels like unchartered territory.
Listen to ‘Yam-Yum’ (feat. Adrian Atma) here.