2012 sees Hemlock's 20th release after four years at the frontline of forwardlooking bass music and dark electronica.
To mark the occasion Hemlock boss Untold has curated a 65-minute mix joining the dots between the label's past, present and future. ‘Chapter One’ weaves his favourite moments from the back catalogue with a series of exclusive material from FaltyDL, Randomer, Joe, Sei A, Guy Andrews and Untold himself. The beautifully packaged CD will be released alongside three 12" vinyls containing exclusive music.
From modest beginnings in the heady days of dubstep's conception, Hemlock - founded by producer Jack Dunning (AKA Untold) and designer Andy Spencer in 2008 - quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the sprawling, and often confused, world of UK bass music.
Since then, the label has steadily forged its own curious path, building an enviable back catalogue and garnering a reputation along the way for zeitgeistdefining releases.
It also has a reputation for discovering incredible new talent. It was Hemlock that introduced the world to the James Blake, whose debut release ‘Air & Lack Thereof’ saw the light in 2009, and was followed by his seminal 'Stop What You're Doing' remix later that year.
As well as some phenomenal new talent, Hemlock has also been a place where established producers can find a home for their more surprising, spontaneous or downright deranged music. Key moments include Untold's game-changing 'Gonna Work Out Fine' EP in 2010, Pangaea's jungle-inspired ‘Hex’ and ‘Fatalist’, and Ramadanman (AKA Pearson Sound's) seminal 808 anthem, ‘Glut’. With the likes of Cosmin TRG, LV, Mount Kimbie, Girl Unit and Funkineven also passing through their halls, the roster now reads like a who's who of bass music talent.
‘Chaper One’, as you'd expect from Untold by now, is anything but your average mix. It takes as many twists and turns as Hemlock's back catalogue and reflects the story of not just the label's evolution, but also the evolution of the music scene it spawned from.
Starting briskly, it jumps through percussive workouts from Fantastic Mr. Fox and Mount Kimbie, soon blunted with the bassweight of the half-step anthems ‘Air & Lack Thereof’ and ‘Discipline’. The section climaxes into the psychedelic organ studies from James Blake’s ‘Stop What You’re Doing’ remix before gradually fading into an icy noise speckled mid-section.
Cosmin TRG’s brutally sparse ‘Béton Brut’ crumbles into the muzzled chimes of ‘Under’ – one of Untold’s most ambiguous cuts to date. The panic reigns through FaltyDL’s ‘Artemis’, picking up momentum into the metallic jacking 4/4 kicks of Sei A’s ‘Hyphen’. Guy Andrews cements the groove with the epic ‘Resistivity’, morphing into a broken tribal drum workout towards the end. Randomer then picks up the funk with ‘This Train’, before getting nasty with ‘We Laugh, We Scream’.
The final section explores the label’s fascination with reconfiguring the hallmarks of jungle and drum ‘n’ bass, with the rowdy MC chatter on ‘Fatalist’ sparring with the rugged bleeps and bass of ‘Studio Power On’, and the sinister Reece synths of ‘Motion the Dance’. After the last onslaught the mix fades out to the calming neon glow of Nautiluss & Lord Skywave’s ‘Ultraviolet’.
With ‘Chapter One’ documenting their past and earmarking possibilities for future exploration, Hemlock looks set to fearlessly guide brave listeners into the next chapter of uncharted frequencies.
Release date: 26/11/2012
Format: Digital onlyDD
Genre: Bass Music
Catalogue number: HEK019D