Zed Bias

Biasonic Hotsauce: Birth of the Nanocloud

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Seen as the unsung hero of U.K. garage, Mancunian producer/DJ Dave Jones has been a figurehead of bass culture for nearly 15 years, but has just the one solitary Top 40 hit (2000's "Neighbourhood") to show for it. The ambitious, sci-fi themed Biasonic Hotsauce: Birth of the Nanocloud, the second album released under his Zed Bias alias, perhaps explains why he's yet to crossover to the mainstream. Its 18 tracks (including four spoken word interludes), are never bereft of invention, shifting from languid MJ Cole-esque two-step jazz on the appropriately titled "Lucid Dreams," to slick, futuristic, disco-funk on the Toddla T collaboration "Koolade," to woozy vocoder-led Balearic chillout on "Night Lovers." But right from the opening dirty beats, squelchy basslines, and fast-paced toasting of "Yagga," it's clear that his focus remains on his sound system-smashing abilities than on any conscious effort to conquer the charts. Indeed, other than the acid house reworking of Soul II Soul's funk classic "Fairplay" and the slightly punchier remix of his only hit single, it's difficult to see many of its cuts making their way onto daytime radio playlists. With its chopped-up samples, pitch-shifting vocals, and video game bleeps, "Phoneline" sounds like a particularly demented take on Basement Jaxx's brand of ragga-tinged house. Warp label signee Mark Pritchard helps provide a sinister fusion of twisted techno and edgy, minimal dancehall on the atmospheric "Trouble in the Streets," while the thunderous bass wobbles and neo-classical leanings of the finale, "Sinner" -- one of three uncompromising slabs of dubstep which appear at the end of the record -- are unlikely to be following Nero and DJ Fresh to the top of the hit parade. A pure speaker-blowing party record, Biasonic Hotsauce is a vast improvement on Bias' previous effort, but it's difficult to see it making any waves outside the South London underground scene.

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